Thursday, September 17, 2015

Placentia Bay 2015: The great church at St. Kyran's

Earlier in the day, on day 3 of our Placentia Bay trip, we checked out the old stone Church of the Assumption on the road between St. Leonard's and St. Kyran's.  Later we went to check out the ruins of the new church "Mary of the Assumption" at St. Kyran's.

After the stone church was destroyed by fire on June 2, 1922 it was abandoned an a new church was built in St. Kyran's under the guidance of Father Fyme.  Whereas the earlier church was constructed of stone the new church was constructed of concrete pillars supporting a wooden structure.

Father Fyme, a Catholic priest, was born in Amsterdam.  Not impossible but certainly unusual as the north of Holland is predominantly Protestant.

There was apparently a covered walkway between the church and the priest's house.  All that's left of the priest's house is a pile of rubble.

The church was built looking down the harbour of St Kyran's and Presque Harbour.  This is a view from the alter area looking out onto the water.

Looking towards the alter.  It must have been quite a sight on a Sunday with the walls still standing directing everyone's attention to the ceremony up front.  I wondered why such a large church for an area that contained under 500 souls based on the census for 1921.

Looking down the right side.  This was a covered area but the roof has since collapsed.

The side, priest's (?) entrance.

The information I had was the stone church was destroyed in June of 1922.  I was puzzled by the date of the cornerstone of the new church which was supposed to have been started after the destruction of the old.  Was someone clairvoyant?

Scott Walden's book "Places Lost - In Search of Newfoundland's Resettled Communities" has a picture taken in 1998 on page 45, more or less from this angle.  Its interesting to see the changes that have occurred in the intervening time.  The roof over the side portions of the church have collapsed as has a concrete tower which was to the left of the church.

The one thing I wanted out of this trip was to see the stone church and this church.  Often when visiting resettled communities all that's left are rotting boards and concrete foundations.  I was fortunate the former churches still hinted at the grandeur they possessed in they heyday.  It was the highlight of the trip for me.

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