Christ Church is located at 3008 Carp Road. The church was founded in 1838 Christ Church and was the first church built in our Parish. The 175th Anniversary of Christ Church is 2013 and many festivities to celebrate the anniversary have been planned.
Early History of Christ Church, Parish of Huntley
In 1818 John Cavanagh and William Mooney left Tipperary County, Ireland and sailed across the mighty Atlantic on a long voyage of 13 weeks in primitive wooden ships to arrive in Quebec, Canada. From there they made their way to the heavily forested third line of Huntley and settled on Lot 11, Concession 2. Later on, Mr. Mooney left for Hull, Quebec to find work. .
John Cavanagh felled the first tree of Huntley township. He lived in a dugout in the ground, covered with trees, until he had built a shanty. He was Huntley’s very first settler. Gradually other hardy settlers joined him here.
In 1838 John Cavanagh deeded 5 chains 17 links (approx 1 acre) of his farm land to the Bishop of Quebec for an English Church to be built. Included in the deed was the stipulation that “the above John Cavanagh was to have pew No. 1 on the south side of the said church.” Today this pew is still used by the Cavanagh family.
A meeting was held at the home of Arthur Hopper, who owned the first store in Huntley Township. Mr. Hopper also had the first mail Facility, which was a courier once a week on horseback or horse and sleigh. He lived across the corner from where Christ Church stands today on Lot 10, Con.2. At this meeting it was decided that the stone Church would be built and it would be 50 ft x 30 ft x19 ft high. Mr. A. Thomas Christie was given the contract. Christ Church was completed in Nov. 1838. The stone was supplied by W. B. Bradley and came from nearby Bradley’s Creek just 2 miles away. The 3 foot thick stone walls have certainly stood the test of time. The first schoolhouse next door was actually built before the Church.
On Easter Monday 1839 the first Vestry Meeting was held in Huntley Parish. It was decided to have the burial ground laid out by a surveyor (up to that time graves had been placed in a haphazard way) and to have a log fence built around the burial ground and Christ Church. A cemetery lot cost half a dollar. Pews were to be rented for 10 shillings a year in the centre of the Church, increasing by 6 pence for each pew forward to the front and decreasing by 6 pence toward the back.
The first resident Rector, Rev. James Godfrey, came in 1853 and he lived in the Rectory which was just one-half mile south of the Church.
In the Great Fire of 1870 that Rectory was burned to the ground, as was the wooden fence that surrounded Christ Church, but the Church itself was not damaged. In that terrible fire more than half of the congregation lost homes, buildings and crops. 2 years later the Rectory was rebuilt in the village of Carp in the middle of the Fairgrounds of today.
In 1938 Christ Church celebrated its 100th anniversary. The stone cairn was built in front of the church to commemorate this event, and it was dedicated to honour the memories of the pioneer men and women of the district and the Parish who founded Christ Church.