Friday, 8 June 2018

#52Ancestors - Week - Week 23 - Going to the Chapel

St Philip's Church, Sydney - Sydney Architecture
When I saw this prompt in the #52 Ancestors I immediately thought of the church in Sydney where many of my ancestors would have worshiped in the early years of the colony and where some of my family, including my parents, were married.

Amongst the tall buildings of Sydney can be found St Philip's Anglican Church located at 3 York Street.

The first church service in the new colony at Sydney Cove was conducted by the Rev. Richard Johnson on Sunday 3 February 1788. Over the next five years Rev. Johnson held regular services, conducted marriages, baptised children and buried the dead. But he needed a church.

St Philip's, on the corner of Bligh and Hunter streets, was the first church built in Sydney. It was a wattle and daub chapel that existed from 1793 until it was destroyed by fire on 1 October 1798. The T shaped church building had a thatched roof and earthen floor. It could seat 500 people so it was quite large. During the week the building was used as a school run by the Rev. Richard Johnson and his wife Mary. Student attendance varied from 150 to 200 children.

The first service in the church was conducted by Rev. Johnson on 25 August 1793. 


My great x4 grandparents, William Roberts and Kezia Brown were married by Rev Johnson in Sydney on 14 August 1793 so they were probably not married in the new church. Their daughter, Mary (my x3 great grandmother), was also baptised on that day.

A month after the fire destroying the church in 1798, planning commenced  for a new church on land known as Church Hill - now Lang Park. This time a stone church would be constructed and the foundation stone was laid by Governor King on 1 October 1800. The Parish of St Philip's was proclaimed in 1802.
St Philip's Church Sydney 1809 - Dictionary of Sydney
St Philip's Church School opened in 1812.

On 27 October 1814, my great x3 grandparents, Simeon Lord and Mary Hyde married at St Philip's Church.

Not everyone was impressed with the style of the church building so the foundation stone for the third St Philip's Church was laid by Rev. William Cowper on 1 May 1848. 


The third St Philip's church building was designed by Edmund Blacket in the English Gothic Perpendicular Style.The church was constructed in sandstone with a slate roof and cost sixteen thousand pounds to build. The money to build the church was raised by the congregation. The new church was consecrated on 27 March 1856 by Bishop Barker, the Archbishop of Sydney and Archdeacon Cowper. The new church was built across the road from the old church.
Location of present church (left) and old church (right)
St Philip's Church in 1890s or early 1900s - Sydney Architecture
Interior of St Philip's Church - Pocket Oz Sydney
The naming of the church was originally influenced by the name of the first Governor in the colony - Arthur Phillip. Later churches were dedicated to Saint Philip, the Apostle. 


Over the years St Philip's Church has played an important role in Sydney's history.

My family's connection with St Philip's Church continued into the twentieth century when my parents, Ken Moses and Rosemary Lord, were married in the church on 11 February 1946.

References:
New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage - St Philip's Church of England
Sydney Architecture - Parish Church of St Philip
Registers of St. Philip's Church of England, Sydney, NSW, 1787-1937 - microfilm held at NLA (reel 1)
Anglican Church League - Richard Johnson First Chaplain to Australia
Church Hill - Pocket Oz Sydney

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