After more than thirty years of stress and patient waiting the church of St. Mary Magdalene, Napanee, was consecrated June 1st, 1906. With its newly completed tower and fine, musical bell (both the bequest of the late Miss Harding), with its many rich memorials and goodly furnishings, the church may claim to be one of the most attractive and best equipped for the due performance of divine worship in Ontario Diocese. The bell is in the key of F, weighs 1,900 lbs., and is intended for the tenor of a chime, to be completed as funds accumulate.  Should this announcement meet the eye of any past or present Napanee churchmen who still think kindly of their old spiritual home, it will not be regarded as a cold-blooded and premeditated hint.  Never-the-less, the tower was built to accommodate a chime which must come.  Already two or three more bells are in sight.  The inscription cast in raised letters upon the bell is in the form of a chronogram, that is, the date commemorated may be discovered by isolating the letters employed in the Roman notation and which occur in the inscription, and the sum of their numerical values will give the date of Miss Harding’s death. 





Interior View


   Interesting are the memorials with which the church abounds.  The Cartwrights of a former generation are brought to mind by the east window and the marble font, which stands in a quaint and convenient baptistery at the west end.  The old church of St. Mary Magdalene was itself the joint gift of Hon,. John Solomon Cartwright and his brother, Rev. Richard Cartwright, a name that must be forever associated with the church in Napanee.  At the west end are two beautiful painted windows, one in memory of J. B. McGuin, for many years a member of synod, and the other of Mrs. Chamberlain, who (to quote the inscription beneath a medallion illustrating “the widow’s mite”) “bequeathed to this church ‘all the living that she had.’”  The windows in the baptistery bear respectively the names Thomas Robert Bowie, Alonzo Seabury Wasson, and Joseph Frederic Cull Bristol.


   Other painted windows in the nave are sacred to the memory of (1) E. M. Wright, daughter of R. G. Wright;  (2) Percival Bedford-Jones, son of the late rector, and placed by the children of the Sunday school;  (3) Dr. Carey, warden and member of synod;  (3) Mrs. Carey.  The two last are near the pulpit, also the gift of Archdeacon Carey, who has never forgotten his native place.  The large rose window over the baptistry, though not a memorial, is filled with stained glass, very chaste and beautiful, especially when the subdued rays of the westering sun stream through at early evensong like a divine benediction on another closing day.  Amongst the more recent memorials are the handsome eagle lecturn, to Mr. and Mrs. William Miller, and a carved oak litany desk to the infant daughter of F. W. French, formerly licensed lay-reader of the parish.


   Perhaps the most striking feature of the interior decorations is the brass parclose screen, separating the chancel from the nave.  Incorporated with it, and forming part of the design, are two large standard lights, bearing shields with illuminated inscriptions.  The right half of the screen is in memory of John A. Shibley, and the other portion is in memory of Judge Wilkison, who represented the parish in synod for many years.  The Choir gates call to remembrance “old Dr. Ruttan,” who zealously watched every stone as it was laid, when the church was in building. The altar rail (in brass and oak) was a bequest of Archdeacon Bedford-Jones, by way of a thank-offering for the privilege of ministering in the church for many years.  Much is due to the late Archdeacon, not only for many improvements and additions to the fabric of the church, but for having established the Decimal fund for carrying the heavy debt, which in those days seemed to paralize all effort, and more than once threatened the church with the discordant music of the auctioneer’s hammer.


   At the altar, one on either side, stand two sanctuary lights, that on the gospel side in memory of two sisters, Bertha and Ida Ruttan;  the other of Raymond, son of Dr. R. A. Leonard.  The brass altar cross bears the name of Arthur Morphy. Another set of memorials is furnished by the lights for the nave.  These are bracketed out from the corbels and have each an engraved shield. The names perpetuated in this manner are:  Henry Thorp Forward;  Marcia A. Miller, wife of Zina Ham;  Annie Fowler, Elliott Wiggins, Frederick Davis Miller, Sarah Minerva Everett, wife of A. S. Bristol;  Amos Samuel Bristol, M.D.;  Thomas E. Anderson, Charles Edwin Bartlett and his son Charles Edwin, Maria Macdonald, relict of Thos. Scales;  Jane Ann Scales, wife of J. T. Grange;  Henry Boyle, James Cull, and Annie Cull.


   One of the most cherished additions to the appointments of the Church is the new organ, erected a year ago, having two manuals, sixteen registers and six combination stops.  For brilliancy, richness and variety of tone it will compare favourably with many a much more pretentious instrument.  It stands in an organ chamber opening into both chancel and nave.  The case of quartered oak carrying illuminated pipes shows a face in both directions. 


   The church is decorated in poly-chrome.  A band in the form of a scroll, illuminated in XV century style, encircles the nave below the corbels, bearing an inscription from the “Gloria in Excelsis.”  The chancel decorations are temporary and incomplete.  It is intended to erect a grille between the auxiliary and ritual choirs, and a corresponding screen in the opposite side, extending in the form of canopies over the choir stalls.


   The basement of the church serves for a school room and choir vestry, a crypt chapel, and a guild room being cut off from it by glazed partitions.




   The proceedings in connection with the consecration began with a re-union on the evening of May 31st.  The congregation assembled in the school-room.  Rev. H. H. Bedford-Jones, son of the late rector, and Archdeacon Bogert, now of the diocese of Ottawa, but rector of this parish when the church was built in 1873, made addresses full of happy reminiscences.  Very interesting extracts from the old vestry book were read by the rector, Canon Jarvis.  Time passed so quickly that when the hour came for refreshments it was found necessary to omit several addresses, expected from some of the clergy and laity present.  During the evening views of the old church, and photographs of bishops and clergy connected, more or less directly, with the parish in days gone by were on exhibition and were appreciated. The rector produced an album in which it is intended to write and account of the consecration and a detail history of the parish.  By way of a preface all present were invited to inscribe their autographs in it.  Many old parishioners from far and near were present and letters from many others were full of congratulations.  Some enclosed substantial offerings as an earnest of good will.













   The consecration service began at 10.30 next morning, the form used being that authorized by the Provincial Synod.  At the eucharist which followed, the Bishop celebrated, Archdeacon Carey and the rector acting as gospeller and epistoler respectively.  The sermon preached by Archdeacon Bogert was thoroughly appreciated by his old parishioners.  The other clergy who took part in the ceremonies were Archdeacon McMorine, Canons Loucks, Cooke, Starr;  Rev. R. S. Forneri, bishop’s chaplain;  Rural Deans Dibb, Armstrong, Beamish, Patton, and Quartarmain (diocese of Ottawa);  Reverends Messrs. Bedford-Jones, Radcliffe, Blagrave, Lewin, Hilliard-Smith, Woodcock, McTear, J. W. Jones, Armitage, Costigan, Croeggan, Serson, French, Dowdell and Reave.


   In the afternoon the visiting clergy and the officials of the church were entertained at home of F. F. Miller, late church warden, and a most enjoyable function it was.  At 7.30 p.m. the Bishop held his annual visitation.  After Choral Evensong, with sermon by the Bishop, 26 candidates were confirmed.


   Napanee cannot claim to be a very old parish.  Services seem to have been held at irregular intervals during the early part of last century by the Venerable S. P. G. Missionary, John Langhorn, whose headquarters were at Bath, but whose mission extended indefinitely “to parts adjacent” and some were a long way off.  The old vestry book at Bath implies that there was some kind of church organization here as early as 1809, but it could not have been permanent - as the entry - a record of the Easter Vestry - goes on to say that “no wardens seem to be wanting for the Big Brook, Hay Bay and Napanee congregations.”  Similar entries occur in 1810 - 1811.  Certainly at the time there was no church for them to “ward.” 


   In 1831, however, Rev. Saltern Givens was appointed missionary to the Mohawks of the Tyendinaga reserve, Napanee being included within his jurisdiction.  Services were held fortnightly in an old school house that stood where the Grand Trunk viaduct crosses the Kingston road.  Mr. Givens was present at the laying of the corner stone of the present church and spoke of these primitive services.  He told how the “precentor” was a young man whose zeal outran his skill in music and who turned out, later on, a much better authority in state crafts than on Psalmody - the late Sir John A. Macdonald.  Mr. Givens was incumbent when the first church was consecrated by Bishop Strachan, in 1840.  The first resident clergyman, appointed in 1849, was Rev. Wm. B. Lauder, afterwards Dean of Ontario.  He was succeeded by Rev. J. J. Bogert in 1862, who in 1881 exchanged parishes with Venerable Archdeacon Bedford Jones, the rector of St. Alban’s Ottawa.  The Archdeacon became rector of Brockville in 1890 and the present rector, Canon Jarvis, was appointed to Napanee.