St. John the Evangelist Church
(Topsail, Conception Bay South)
Local historians think St. John the Evangelist Church, located in the Anglican cemetery in Topsail, was designed by James Harvey and built by S. Churchill, A. Churchill and W. Allen in 1860-1861.
The Gothic-styled wooden structure is typical of Anglican churches built in outport Newfoundland during the nineteenth century. However, the interior is distinctive because neither the walls, ceilings, floors nor pews were ever stained or painted. The pristine state of the structure provides valuable insight into the materials and techniques used in constructing the church.
The church served the spiritual needs of Topsail Anglicans from 1861 to 1974. During that time several modifications to the structure were made. A bell tower was added, the original wooden shingles were replaced with asphalt shingles and in the 1920s the church was wired for electricity. Over the years the congregation of St. John the Evangelist have included influential public figures such as James Bancroft, founder of the Newfoundland Teachers Association. Another important parishioner was well-known merchant Sir Edgar R. Bowring, who was an important participant in Newfoundland's political and social life.
Although the church was closed as a place of regular worship in 1974, St. John the Evangelist Church continues to be used for annual flower services in memory of the departed. Beginning in the early 1980s the church was opened Sunday afternoons to the general public. The church was also a setting for an episode of the CBC television program Pigeon Inlet.
The Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador designated St. John the Evangelist Church a Registered Heritage Structure in December 1986.