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They Held onto Their Seats

Only since some Christians broke away from the Church of Rome in 16th Century Europe has the church pew come into existence. Prior to that, church sanctuaries were more open spaces and congregants moved around freely. Following the Reformation, the part of the worship service called the sermon took on more prominence and worshippers needed to be seated.

At first the pews were benches then, as they became more elaborate, cushions were added with padded kneeling benches, both stationary fixtures. A few even had gates on the aisle-side.

In the Presbyterian tradition, some congregations sold pews to families in their congregation and the monies went toward congregational expenses.

They Held onto their Seats

Church history and community history belong together. The story of St. James church in Great Village reflects the village and the surrounding area. –Heather Dau Collection

 

Presbyterian Meeting House, Great Village

Description of a lot purchased ‘about the year 1843’ from Robert Spencer 2nd “for and in consideration of having a Presbyterian Meeting House on said land and for the further consideration of thirty pounds of good and lawful money of Nova Scotia. . . .

“All that lot of upland whereon the Presbyterian Meeting House of Great Village now stands commencing at the corner where the Economy and Cumberland Roads separate and running north along the said Cumberland Road eleven rods, thence westerly eight and one half rods, thence south thirteen rods to the Economy Road, thence easterly along the said Economy Road eight and three-quarter rods to the place of beginning containing three-quarters of an acre more or less.” From Book 28 p.413 Registry of Deeds, Truro, NS.

This lists pew owners and their location in the Presbyterian Meeting House, Great Village.

Lower Part
Pew Number    

Proprietor

1 James Urquhart & Neal Campbell
2&3 Henry Starritt & heirs of Robert Starritt
4&5 John Cook & William Cook
6, 7, 22, 23 G.W. McLellan
8, 9 James Miller & James Sutherland
10, 11 George Creelman
12, 13 John Little
14, 15 John Mahon
16, 17 Silas Corbett & Adam Chisholm (inn keeper)
18, 19 Amos Fountain & Patrick Hill
20, 21 John Delany & James Seeton
24 James Flemming
25 Robert Spencer 2nd
26, 27 William Spencer Snr
28, 29 William McDormont, James F. Crowe, John Baird, Ferguson McNutt
30, 31 David Vance
32, 33 David Christy & Ebenezer Beattie
34, 35 James Fyffe
36 Allen Spencer
37 James Dinsmore & Samuel Fulton
38, 39 James Little
40, 41 Robert Dill 2nd
42, 43 William Peppard & David Vance 3rd
44, 45 Robert McNeal & William Crowe
46, 47 Ebenezer Beattie
48, 49 James A. & Patrick Vance
50, 51 David Fletcher & William J. Fulton
52, 53 Robert Fletcher
54, 55 John Cummings & Robert B. Vance
56, 57 John Spencer
58, 59 David Fulton Snr
60, 61 William Miller & William F. Crowe
62 John D.Davison & Henry Fulton
63 William Fulton 4th
64, 90, 91 William McKim (Squire)
65, 71 William Peppard
66 Alexander Spencer
67 Hannah Morrison
69 Thomas Davison 1st
70 Jacob G.Purdy & Jehiel Carr
72 Isaac Flemming
73 Rev. James Bayne
74, 75 James Mahon
76, 77 John N. Spencer
78, 79 Robert N.B. McLellan
80, 81 David Rogers
82, 83, 102 David Cummings
74, 85 Andrew Seeton
86, 87 Robert Dill 1st
88, 89 William F. Crowe
92, 93 David Murray & David Fulton
94, 95 Robert Corbett
96, 97 Robert Spencer 1st
98, 99 Alexander D. Morrison
100, 101 Esther Thompson
103 John Baird
104 James Urquhart & Neal Campbell

The following is the gallery

1 Robert & George Vance
2 William Yuill
3 Heirs of Alexander Chisholm
4 Thomas Yuill
5 George Fulton 3rd
6 George McLellan
7 Charles Spencer
8 George Spencer
9, 10 William Urquhard & Thomas Gourley
11, 12 Lawrence Peppard
13, 14 James M. Spencer
15, 16 Rebecca Peers (dau of Thomas McKim 1778-1816)
17, 18 Francis Creelman
19 Jacob Corbett
20, 21 William Hamilton & John Knight
22, 23 John Brown
24, 25 Elizabeth McElhinney & George Morrison
26, 27 Samuel & John Davison
28, 29 William Fulton
30, 31 John McKim (son of Thomas)
32, 33 William McKim (Squire, son of Thomas)
34 Francis West & Joseph McDormont
35, 36 Jacob Corbett
37, 38 William Cook & James Brown
39, 40 Samuel G. Spencer & John Spencer 2nd
41, 42 Robert McKim (son of Thomas)
43, 44 William Wallace & George B. McLellan
45, 46 John W. Dill (father of Captain Robert Dill)
47 Francis Fulton
48 George Creelman & Samuel Davison Junior
49 Joseph Peppard
52, 53 Joseph Peppard & William Hill
54 James Peppard
57 Thomas & William Davison Snr
60, 61 Thomas & John Morrison
62 Matthew Peppard

A total of 159 pews were sold. In addition to pew owners from Great Village, the names suggest that there were proprietors from Masstown, Folly Village, Little Dyke, Portaupique, Bass River and Castlereagh.