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PARISH HISTORY

front of church

The Church of the Ascension was the second Anglican church to be built in Hamilton. The cornerstone was laid on Ascension Day, May 9 1850. The church opened for services on June 22 1851, with the Rev. John Hebden as it's first rector. The land for the church was purchased and donated by Richard Juson, a prominent hardware merchant who was also one of the first wardens.


church in history

A boundary wall and iron fence was built to enclose the church and it's ground ca. 1867. By October 1875 when the church was consectrated by Bishop Fuller, the first Bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Niagara, a spire and five bells had been added, the gift of Mrs. Richard Juson.

The whole interior of the church was destroyed by fire on January 6 1887. Reconstruction began almost immediately, and the services in the building resumed on March 8 1888. The church was rebuilt almost exactly as before, but the chancel was enlarged to provide room for the choir stalls and organ. The design of the new church was a simple form of Early English Gothic with a Victorian truss roof.


Bells

The bells added to the church in the 1860s have not been rung since 1972. All five bells need new support bolts as well as some adjustment to the striking mechanism before they can be rung again. Price quotes for the necessary work have seemed prohibitively high and this has delayed bell restoration indefinitely. Four of the five bells are still in excellent condition and could be rung again if the repairs were made.


Inside Casavant Organ

In 1988, the City of Hamilton designated the Church of the Ascension as a Heritage Building - a property of historic and architectural value as one of the city's best examples of a mid 19th century Gothic Revival church.

The two-manual Casavant organ now in use was obtained from St. Thomas' Anglican Church after it closed in 1997. The organ has 1734 speaking pipes.

For more history of the Church of the Ascension, refer to two church histories written by Mary Farmer. "One Hundred Years 1850-1950" and "The Next Twenty Five Years 1950-1975" and "150 Years of Service: Into the New Millennium 1976-2001" ed. Wendy Woytasik-Karr.

For more photos of the Church of the Ascension please visit Historical Hamilton. Historical Hamilton is a local group which strives to document Hamilton's history throough photograpy and maps.