Warwick is one the richest parishes of Bermuda when it comes to attractions and Christ Church is certainly one of them. The church is located on Middle Road, right across Belmont Hills Golf Club. A full member of the Church of Scotland since 2001, it was built in 1719 by on a land given by a member of Warwick Tribe, Thomas Gilbert.
On the 24th of April of this year, he granted one-half acre of land to the ‘people of the Presbyterian persuasion’ so that they could erect a meeting house.
The original walls of Christ Church erected by some of the English Puritans who established the first settlements in Bermuda are still standing. During the last 200 years or so, Christ Church underwent a few works: in 1837, the church had the height of its walls increased, the actual tower was built, a new roof was put on, and larger windows were added. Then in 1958, Christ Church was reconstructed and only one of the three galleries used by choirs at different times were kept, the North one.
However, certain features of Christ Church have been kept, such as a small cedar ‘Whitefield’ pulpit thought to be dating from 1719. During the first reconstruction in 1837, a slave freed a few years before Emancipation Day, James Williams, built a mahogany pulpit, the same one that is now used with the canopy or sounding board. He was later buried in the Northeast corner of Christ Church yard and his grave, the number 150, can still be seen.
Amongst the notable features of Christ Church, the stained glass window was added in 1922 and the organ that was installed in 1968 was built by Mr. Mander of London, while the candelabra are the work of Mr. Henshaw of Edinburgh. The first one was bought with a donation from a Mr. Purvis, and the second were offered by two members of the community.
Christ Church is completed by the Thorburn Hall located on the West of the church. It was built in 1893 in commemoration of the Reverend Walter Thorburn who was minister of Christ Church between 1852 and 1886. Like the church, Thorburn Hall had seen some changes during the years. 1964 saw the addition of the West Hall and the kitchen and the foundation stones of the new church hall were laid in 1978. The following year, the Thorburn Hall was completely renovated, composed of four new small halls, as well as two porches, the Hutchings Porch and the McCallan Porch.
The yard of Christ Church is also where are buried the soldiers of the Black Watch who died of yellow fever during the time the regiment was stationed in Bermuda, from1847 and 1851.
The origins of Christ Church are English, but there are always been strong links with Scottish ministers. In 1843, the congregation started procedure to become part of the Free Church of Scotland and that’s in 1844 that the name Christ’s Church was adopted, later shortened to Christ Church by usage. The church became officially part of the Free Church of Scotland in 1845, then of the Church of Scotland in 1929 when the split in the Church was healed.
Christ Church, Warwick, Bermuda – www.christchurch.bm
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Christ Church, Warwick, Bermuda – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles’ Things To Do in Bermuda series!