Thomas Talbot

Talbot Settlement Churches, Ontario, Canada


Thomas Talbot came from a wealthy Irish family and received a commission in the British Army. He came to Upper Canada as Governor John Graves Simcoe private secretary 1791-94, visiting many parts of the Great Lakes area.   In 1801 Colonel Talbot sold his commission and immigrated to Upper Canada becoming an official promoter of settlement in the London district and acquired 5,000 acres along the north shore of Lake Erie.   He then set in motion an aggressive settlement plan, insisting that the people to whom he donated land clear the property and build dwellings.   They did not receive the final deed to the land until this was done.   In all, 27 settlements were established. In some cases, land for churches was given directly by Talbot, in others the land was donated by persons designated by him to do this.   The three churches shown here

St. Peter's, Tyrconnell,   Trinity Church, Port Burwell   and   Christ Church, Port Stanley

are examples of the Talbot Settlement Churches that are still active.   In 1817, St. Thomas, Ontario was named for Thomas Talbot. There are now 3 active Anglican Churches in St Thomas, Ontario.


St. Peter's Tyrconnell

St. Peter's Tyrconnell, Ontario29596 Lakeview Line, West Lorne, Ontario

St. Peter's Anglican Church was built in the autumn of 1827 on 10 acres of land donated by Mary Storey for a church yard, burial ground and rectory. It was built by Colonel Talbot's first colonists that did not come as part of the original Talbot landing party.

White or blue oak was used in building the frame, and the outside was finished in rough cast.   Shingles and lath were made from pine and split by hand.   The present siding was put on seven years later by Stephen Backus.   John Pearce finished the inside by lathing and plastering the walls and ceiling, making the seats, reading desk and pulpit.

In 1844 a communion service, a Bible and a Missal were given as a gift from Charlotte, daughter of the late Governor Simcoe.   The bell was given by the late Earl of Galloway in memory of his brother, Charles Jas. Stewart, late Lord Bishop of Quebec.   The present belfry and spire were built in 1845.   In 1865 the chancel window was installed.   The present chancel was built in the 1880s and the choir moved from the gallery to the new chancel.   In 1891 the tablets of the Ten Commandments were donated, with the Lord's Prayer and the Creed a year or two later.   A new altar was purchased in 1903 with special funds collected during the Talbot Centennial. Colonel Talbot and many members of the original Talbot settlement are buried in St. Peter's cemetery.

Since 1979 St Peter's with Church of the Nativity, Dutton, Grace Church, West Lorne, and St Stephens, Burwell Park have been in the combined Parish of Tyrconnell.

Christ Church, Port Stanley, Ontario

Christ Church, Port Stanley

283 Colbourne Street, Port Stanley, Ontario

Christ Church began in 1824 as an outpost of the St. Thomas Church with the one-acre site of the present church being donated by Lieut-Col John Bostwick in 1826.   A congregation was not properly organized until 1834, when the first proper service was held in the old frame school house.   It was not until 1844 that a meeting was held and a decision made to erect a church building.   A subscription list was circulated and districts were allotted to Mesdames Price, Holcombe and Woodward.   The canvas by these ladies was so successful that over half the amount required to build the church was raised in one week.   Colonel Talbot donated £20. The contract was awarded to Major John Ellison, and in 1845 the church was completed, with the spire 90 feet high.   It was opened by the Rev. Benjamin Cronyn, Rector of London.   Many friends of the congregation attended, including Colonel Talbot.

Rev Mark Burnham of the Old St. Thomas Church ministered to the spiritual needs of the congregation until September 1848, when Rev. George C. Street became the first resident incumbent.   Pew holders paid a rent of £1, which was increased to £2 in April 1852. In 1849 Colonel Bostwick donated five acres of land for a parsonage.

The early days of Church life were marked by sincerity and piety.   In the quiet surroundings of the pioneer age, with none of our modern day distractions, the church was the focal point of the community, where all the festivals of the year were celebrated.

Trinity Church, Port Burwell, OntarioMore on Christ Church, Port Stanley

Trinity Church, Port Burwell

Corner of Strachan and Pitt, Port Burwell, Ontario

The laying of the foundation ceremony for Trinity Church occurred on September 5, 1833, but it was on Sunday, February 22, 1836 that the first service was conducted.

Colonel Mahlon Burwell, after whom the village is named, was the land surveyor for Colonel Talbot.   He realized the need for the presence of the Church of England in the area, and built Trinity Church at his own expense.   At his invitation, Archdeacon John Strachan, who later became the Bishop of Toronto, came to preach on May 22, 1836, having been promised that the fifty-mile road from Brantford to Port Burwell was good for a wagon all the way.   The church bell came from Troy, New York by boat and is dated 1856.   The one-hundred guinea cost was paid for by public subscription.

The church remained in its original form until 1909 when it was re-seated, reglazed, re-shingled and redecorated.   Many of the early pioneers are buried in the cemetery.   The earliest recorded burial was 1818.   Many pioneers died during an epidemic that raged through the village in 1878, including many at a tender young age.

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