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St Cuthbert's Anglican Church, Eketahuna












The Frederic de Jersey Clere designed Anglican Church of St Cuthbert, is in Church Street, Eketahuna. The church has two frontages, with the west end of the church facing Church Street and east end facing the Lockwood-design Parish Hall on Wilson's Lane.  Hemmed in by other buildings on all sides except for the Church Street frontage, a wide-angle lens is needed to capture the elegant lines of this quintessential Clere design. It has a Category II heritage listing, number 1274.

History
On 4 November1894, Archdeacon Thomas Fancourt made the first entry in the Eketahuna Baptismal Register. Services were initially held at Parkville, but winter conditions saw the services moved to Eketahuna; the Masonic Hall, Pelling's Hall and the Eketahuna Public Hall being used at various times.

Until a priest-in-charge was appointed the local medical practitioner, Dr. Baker, together with Mr Thomas Lewis (Stationmaster and Officer in Charge of the Post and Telegraph Office) had acted as lay readers on many occasions. Between 1896 and 1898, the Vicar of Masterton, the Rev'd. A. C. Yorke, together with his Assistant Curate, the Rev'd H. L. Monckton took services in whatever building was available.

On 9 October 1895, the Evening Post describes Archdeacon Thomas Fancourt's plans for the Anglican Church in the "out districts."
He wished to place in Eketahuna a clergyman who was young and vigorous, able to spend half a day in the saddle visiting the many scattered town-ships and distant settlements.
In June 1896 a committee was formed and a site for an Anglican church donated by pastoralist and farmer, T. C Williams, who owned many of the business premises in Eketahuna, and whose brother Edward and missionary father Henry, translated the Treaty of Waitangi for Captain Hobson in 1840.

The Feilding Star dated 8 October 1896 reports:
Thanks to the exertions of Mr Innes Jones and of Mr Yorke the inhabitants of the Ongo, Apiti and the Eketahuna districts have raised money sufficient to justify a clergyman being sent to minister to them, provided that the fund is able to supplement their contributions for a short time.
The foundation stone for St Cuthbert's was laid by Bishop Frederic Wallis on 20 October 1896. Local carpenter, Mr T. Moss, using timbers supplied by Mr J. Drysdale, built the church at a cost of £300, to a design by architect Frederick de Jersey Clere.

An early photo of St Cuthbert's, taken between 1900 and 1910

On 13 March 1898 the Rev'd John Walker was appointed Priest-in-Charge of the Eketahuna Mission District.

The first service in St Cuthbert's was held on 23 February 1899 at which the Rev'd Alfred Neild, Vicar of Pohangina, preached on Genesis 28:16:
Surely the Lord is in this place. This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.
In 1900, with the church debt free, it was consecrated by Bishop Frederic Wallis.

Postcard showing the Parkville bridge, with the Catholic church
and to the right of the Catholic church, St Cuthbert's, 1900-1910


Photo of St Cuthbert's, taken in the 1930s from Bridge Street.
A macrocarpa hedge appears to be been planted, presumably to provide shelter from the
north-westerly wind. The area where the fountain is located is now occupied by the
public swimming pool and skatepark.


Mr Walker was succeeded in 1904 by the Rev'd Vincent Kitcat who, unlike Mr Walker, had a family which meant the parish had to provide a vicarage.  Although he had donated the land for the church, Mr T C Williams was not amenable to an approach from the 1903 Vestry to buying the land opposite the church in Church Street.  In 1904 one and three quarter acres of land was purchased in (then uncompleted) Haswell Street and the vicarage completed, with a loan from Mr Cecil Kebbell, by January 1906.  This remained the vicarage for more than 50 years until a new vicarage was built in Church Street, directly opposite the church, when the Rev'd Ian Bourne was vicar.

Following some damage to the roof and windows in the two 1942 earthquakes, the buttresses were strengthened.

Today

St Cuthbert's Eketahuna is part of the Anglican Parish of Pahiatua.

Services are held each Sunday at 10 am, and children and youth activities are available.




St Cuthbert's gets a new coat of paint



St Cuthbert's is getting a new coat of paint. These three photos were taken in February 2012 and will be updated once the work is completed.

Long-serving parishioners awarded
On Saturday, 20 March 2010 the parish was joined by Bishop Tom Brown, and former Vicar the Rev'd Margaret Barber, for a special lunch at which three hard-working and long-serving parishioners were awarded Bishop's Medals.


Left to right: The Rev'd Margaret Barber (former Vicar), Bishop Tom Brown,  Agnus Markey (Bishop's Medal recipient), and Vicar Wendy Scott.


Left to right: The Rev'd Margaret Barber (former Vicar), Vicar Wendy Scott, Agnus Markey (Bishop's Medal recipient), Bishop Tom Brown, and Joyce and Barry Anderson (Bishop's Medal recipients.)


Nativity scene on Parish Hall window, Christmas 2010



Sources:
Irene Adcock, A Goodly Heritage
Wairarapa Archives
Papers Past
Cyclopedia of New Zealand
Blain Biographic Dictionary of Clergy in the South Pacific
Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

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