No. 1202 - Hagley - St Paul's Anglican Church (1848-1862)

This ‘blog entry’ is one of a series of articles about places of worship which are barely represented in the historical record. No images of these buildings appear to have survived. My hope is that these brief articles may result in further information and photographs coming to light thus enabling a more complete history to be recorded.

Hagley lies about 5 kilometres north-east of the town of Westbury. In the 1820s land grants were made to William Thomas Lyttleton, William Bryan and Sir Richard Dry. Lyttleton was associated with Hagley Hall in England, after which he named his estate and which is the source of the village’s name.

St Paul’s was Hagley first Anglican church. It was used as an Anglican church from 1848 to 1862 when it was replaced by St Mary’s church that was built on a new site nearby. St Paul’s was later purchased by the Presbyterians who used it until 1878 when it was demolished to make way for a new Presbyterian church.

The foundation stone for St Paul’s was ceremonially laid on Friday 8 January 1847. A report published in the Hobart Courier describes the event:

"On Friday last the foundation stone of a new church was laid at Hagley, in the neighbourhood of Westbury, which makes the eleventh church commenced within the deanery of Longford during the last three years. Eight of these buildings have been completed and opened for public service, and this has been accomplished without any aid from the public treasury…..The church at Hagley is built and partially endowed by R. Dry, Esq, and Mrs. Lyttleton, on whose estates it adjoins. The Rural Dean, assisted by eight of his reverend brethren, laid the stone with the accustomed solemnities; and the whole assembly afterwards partook of the hospitality of Mr. Dry, to whom this additional church, in a great measure, owes its existence”.

Construction of the church, which was a small brick building, was officially opened on Friday 9 June 1848. The following report appeared in Launceston’s Cornwall Chronicle:

“On Friday last, the 9th instant, this Church was opened for Divine Service. The Lord Bishop of Tasmania, attended by several clergymen, were present on the occasion. The Rural Dean commenced by reading a requisition to his Lordship for a license to perform Divine Service therein; and the reply, authorising the Rev. J. Bishton, or any other licensed clergyman to administer the sacraments of the Church within it”.

“Prayers were then read by the Rev. Mr. Bishton, and the first ten verses of the 132nd psalm sang; when his Lordship delivered an address appropriate to the occasion…Several influential gentlemen — as well as many of the farmers in the vicinity — attended the interesting ceremony. The Rev. J. Bishton gave notice that divine service would be performed each Sunday afternoon, at 3 o’clock. The land, on which the Church is erected (ten acres), is the gift of the Rev. R. R. Davies, on account of the Lyttleton Estate; and another ten acres adjoining, for the purpose of a School, has been contributed by Richard Dry, Esq. The present erection has been completed by those gentlemen conjointly”.

The church stood on a site opposite the Hagley Inn. A painting of Hagley village from the 1850s shows a building diagonally opposite the Hagley Inn which appears to be St Paul’s church.

A detail of a watercolour painting, [ca. 1855 - artist unknown] of houses and buildings at Hagley. Source: Digitised item, Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania.

St Paul's Anglican church, which stood opposite the Hagley Inn, is circled in red.


Courier, Saturday 16 January 1847, page 2
Launceston Examiner, Saturday 23 January 1847, page 3
Cornwall Chronicle, Wednesday 14 June 1848, page 4
Western Tiers, Tuesday 23 January 2001, page 5

Henslowe, Dorothea I. and Hurburgh, Isa. Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania / by Dorothea I. Henslowe ; sketches by Isa Hurburgh, 1978.


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