St. Paul's Royal Naval and Garrison Church
The origin of the first naval establishment on Vancouver Island was due to the Crimean War in 1856. Following the attack on Petropaulovski, the fleet came to Victoria with the wounded. Governor Douglas ordered three buildings to be erected for their accommodation at Perry Point (now known as Duntze Head).
Wherever British sailors are stationed there must be a church of some sort. The necessity of this, is how the sea-girt parish came into being. Although this church is not, and never has been actually Admiralty property, it has been connected with the navy throughout its history.
St. Paul's appears to be the fourth church consecrated in the diocese on Vancouver Island.
It's foundation was mainly due to the enterprise of Paymaster Sidney J. Spark, R.N., of H.M. Shipyard, Esquimalt. In 1865 he took the initial step towards the establishing a church at Esquimalt.
His efforts were successful, and a small church was constructed on the south side of the main road at the base of Signal Hill, with a view of the waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait. The site was donated in May, 1866, by the Hon. Donald Fraser, a member of the Legislative Council of Vancouver Island.
On August 30th, 1866, the foundation stone of the new church was
laid by the Hon. Mrs. Denman. She was wife of the Admiral, the Hon.
John Denman. The procession was followed by school children,
the architect, builders, churchwardens, officers of ships in the
harbour, and many others.
The construction was pushed forward under the supervision of the architect, Mr. Thomas Trounce. Early in December the building was completed. Consecration of the Church occurred on December 12, 2:00 pm, 1866.
The first Admiralty grant made was the sum of 100 pound sterling in 1866. The grant was made for the intial cost of the building, on a condition that men belonging to H.M. Naval Yard and Navy had certain seats alloted to them.
The actual naming of the Church is never mentioned, though in its early years was referred to as the Esquimalt Church. Later it is mentioned as the St. John's Naval and Garrison Church.
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