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West Quebec Deanery

Saint George, Thorne Centre

Saint George, Thorne Centre
Diocesan Archives Glenn fonds CL24 E102
By on May 1, 2022

Form follows function, revealing glints of gold

Here we see Saint George’s, Thorne Centre, as photographed by Brian Glenn on 19 October 2011.  There is more than meets the eye here, making it far too easy to take Saint George’s for granted.  But that would be a mistake.

Thorne Centre developed as an Anglican congregation, as an outstation of the Mission of Leslie.  In 1893, construction began on this stone church and the first service was held in Saint George’s Church, Thorne Centre on 3 August 1894.  

In 1899, the mission was reorganized into the Mission of Thorne West, and it consisted of Saint Stephen’s Church, Thorne West; Saint James’s Church, Leslie and Saint George’s Church, Thorne Centre.

A quick glance at this house of worship would assume that it has much the layout of a nineteenth century one-room schoolhouse, with an entrance porch at the front, and the worship space consisting of an auditory box.  Such a preliminary appraisal would miss both obvious and subtle aspects of this frontier house of worship.

One striking aspect of Saint George’s is the lustrous silver hue of the rubble stone construction. A closer examination reveals that there are other hues of stone in the walls, including black, brown and even gold, the latter giving Saint George’s something in common with the cathedral in Ottawa. It is true that the pitch of the roof on this house of worship is not as steep as we find on most churches built in the High Victorian Gothic Revival style, but it is much steeper than would be found on most one room schools.  The pitch of roof chosen for this building when combined with the eave returns at the front was meant to give the impression of a perfect triangle—perhaps as a symbol of the Trinity.  And once we see that, we notice the corbel (or triangular) arches on the windows, such as no school in the region would have featured.

Saint George’s was a very functional house of worship.  The entrance (a later iteration perhaps of an earlier porch) features double doors to facilitate funerals, with the worship space being only one step up from the ground.  The vestry very likely was built a generation after the church and is constructed of a material known in the region as Boyd Block concrete (manufactured by Boyd Brothers Ltd. of Osgoode). The vestry also features a corbel window.

In 1907, the name of the mission was changed to the Mission of Thorne & Leslie, and it became a four-point parish with the addition of Saint Matthew’s, North Clarendon. In 1915, the mission was divided in two; the one being the Mission of Leslie made up of Leslie and Thorne Centre; and the other being the Mission of Thorne, made up of Thorne West and North Clarendon. In 1924, another re-organization resulted in the Parish of Leslie consisting of Leslie, Thorne Centre and Greermount.

There were future reconfigurations, first as the Parish of Thorne & Leslie in 1931, then as North Clarendon in 1932, then again as the Parish of North Clarendon, Charteris in 1933. By 1939, the parish had churches at Charteris, Greermount, North Onslow and Thorne Centre. In 1954, Otter Lake (known to Anglicans as Leslie) was added to the parish, and North Onslow transferred elsewhere.  Half a century later, this church became part of the Parish of the Northern Pontiac with churches at Campbell’s Bay, Danford Lake, Maniwaki, Otter Lake and Wright. 

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