The Hermitage (Topsail, Conception Bay South)
The Hermitage, a one and a half storey building, is a rare example of stone craftsmanship in Newfoundland and Labrador. Local oral tradition dates the construction of the building to the late 1700s. Although difficult to officially determine the exact date of construction, it is perhaps one of the oldest buildings in Conception Bay South, if not the entire province.
© 2004 Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Hermitage may have been built to serve as a sub-court of the Courts of Admiralty in Harbour Grace. Local fishermen were said to gather there to settle fishery disputes. In the late 1800s it was used as the rectory for the nearby St. John the Evangelist Church.
The Hermitage is connected to a more recent structure and is part of a larger property owned through the years by several notable Newfoundland community and business leaders. These include J. Frederick Bancroft (Newfoundland Teachers Association co-founder), C. A. Pippy (businessman) and Victor Bennett (Bennett's Brewery).
According to local tradition, after the building was left empty by the Anglican Church, it was used as a residence by a local hermit, from which the building acquired its current name.
The Hermitage was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in May 2004.