View 4 images
St Bartholomew's Church
23B Cass Street, Kaiapoi
Church Property Trustess
Registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I Historic Place (Register Number 285) Listed on the Waimakariri District Council Plan
Insurance Shortfall - TBA
WHY ST BARTHOLMEW'S MATTERS
The oldest surviving church in Canterbury, St Bartholomew's has been the locus of Kaiapoi's Anglican congregation for more than 150 years. Built within five years of the organised European settlement of Canterbury and only a year or so after Kaiapoi's foundation, the timber church is a tangible link to the earliest history of the province.
Designed by the 'architect of Canterbury' Benjamin Mountfort, St Bartholomew's was an important milestone in his career, and is his oldest extant building. The church clearly reflects both Mountfort's particular artistic and spiritual vision, and the rugged colonial environment for which he was designing. Mountfort was deeply influenced by the ideals of the Ecclesiological Society, which believed that architecture and faith were inextricably linked, and that Neo-Gothic was the style that most perfectly expressed the Anglican communion. Consequently Mountfort produced an ecclesiologically correct church, where the appropriately exposed structure with its prominent buttresses also acted to prevent the building being blown away in Canterbury's blustery nor-westers!
Despite Mountfort's best efforts however, St Bartholomew's has not proved to be entirely earthquake proof. Although still standing, it has sustained some damage, and requires repairs to enable it to continue serving Kaiapoi's community.
Which aspects of the building will benefit from the money fundraised?
1854: plans drawn by Provincial Superintendant James Fitzgerald for a church at Kaiapoi discarded; architect Benjamin Mountfort commissioned to produce a new design.
1855: St Bartholomew's constructed on a sandhill in what is now Darnley Square. First service held Christmas Day 1855.1860: church moved to present site in Cass St, bell tower added.
1862: transepts and chancel added, again by Mountfort.
2010-11: St Bartholomew's sustains damage in the Canterbury Earthquakes.