No. 225 - The former Longford Presbyterian Church - 'Two Tall Stained-Glass Windows'

All that remains of the old Longford Presbyterian church are two narrow stained-glass windows. When the church was demolished in the 1980’s the windows were preserved and placed in the new hall adjoining the Uniting Church in High Street. The two windows are the only tangible reminder of a building that was erected nearly 160 years ago.

The church was originally built by the Primitive Methodists and was located at 11 High Street. The foundation stone was laid on Wednesday 14 November 1860. The opening service took place on Sunday 24 March 1861. The Launceston Examiner reported:

“The neat and pretty little chapel built by the Primitive Methodists at Longford, was opened for divine worship on Sabbath last, when three sermons were preached… On all the occasions the chapel was comfortably filled, a gracious influence pervaded the congregations, two souls professed to be converted in the prayer meeting that followed the evening services…. On Monday a tea meeting was held in the chapel, … upwards of two hundred people sat down, and did ample justice to the good things provided for them…”

According to The Examiner:

“The cost of the chapel, including the purchase of land and fencing the property in, as well as building, … would be close upon £620…. It may be added that Mr Martin of Perth drew the plans and specifications of the chapel… and he also was the contractor. Mr Giles and Sons did the brickwork, the whole of which is done in a workman-like manner, and to the general satisfaction of the trustees”.

The black and white photograph of the building below accords with the following description of the church:

“It is a well proportioned building with a high vaulted ceiling and front porch below the gabled roof. There were three tall and narrow stained glass windows on each side and two in front on either side of the porch. The plainness of the architecture was relieved by pediments at the corners and on either side of the high windows”. (150 Years of Witness 1834-1884 Longford Parish of the Uniting Church)

With the merger of the Primitive Methodist and Wesleyans churches in 1901, the building was sold to the Presbyterians. The Presbyterians had established a congregation at Longford in 1894 and services were initially held in the Rechabite Hall. (see photograph below)

The opening of the Presbyterian’s newly acquired premises took place on Sunday 18 August 1901:

“The church had been purchased from the Primitive Methodists: £100 deposit has been paid, and £50 has been collected since to reduce the balance of £200 by the end of the year. The organ and all furniture have been taken over, and members of the church are to be congratulated on having such a nice building”.

The Primitive Methodists continued to use the building along with the Presbyterians until “the consumption of the union with the Wesleyan Methodists” in 1902.

The last Presbyterian service at the church took place on 18 June 1977. The union of the Methodists and Presbyterians to establish the Uniting Church meant that the building was once again abandoned as it had been by the Primitive Methodists in 1901. On 25 June 1977 the first service of the Longford Uniting Church was held, bringing together what had once been three seperate congregations.

By the 1980’s the condition of the Presbyterian’s building had deteriorated and structural problems ultimately led to it being demolished in spite of efforts by the National Trust to preserve it. The two “tall and narrow stained glass windows” are all that remain as a reminder of the Primitive Methodists and Presbyterians of Longford.

                    The Longford Presbyterian Church. Source: Libraries Tasmania

The former Presbyterian (Originally Wesleyan Church) Source LINC Tasmania LPIC147-4-279 

The two windows taken from the front of the Presbyterian Church and now in the Uniting Church Hall - Photo: Duncan Grant 2018

The Hall built by the Rechabites and at one time used by the Presbyterians. Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018
Longford Uniting Church hall - Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

  The church was built as a Primitive Methodist Chapel.  Launceston Examiner, Tuesday 6 November 1860

Sources:


Examiner 6 November 1860, page 3  

Examiner Thursday 28 March 1861 page 4
Daily Telegraph Wednesday 21 August 1901, page 5
Examiner 10 August 1901, page 9

150 Years of Witness 1834-1884 Longford Parish of the Uniting Church (booklet)

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