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St. Matthew’s Anglican Church

Posted on 25 Jan, 2014 in History | 11 comments

St. Matthew's Church

Québec City’s St. John Street starts within the city walls and stretches westward, becoming the central artery of the St. Jean-Baptiste neighborhood. It is one of the most vibrant and colorful thoroughfares in all the city. Lined with restaurants, bookstores, and specialty shops of all sorts, it is always, in any weather, bustling with activity. Tourists happen down St. John’s Street from time to time, but it is mainly for the locals.

On the south side of the street, just past la rue St. Augustin is St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. Built in the 1870s and 1880s, it looks much older than it is. Its soaring spire and gothic features suggest a parish church of a much earlier era. Today St. Matthew’s church is a public library. The pews have been removed, replaced by book-laden shelves.

But it is the church grounds that draw the eye. In the heart of this bustling neighborhood, where nightclubs and bakeries share common walls and underwear models strut in shop windows, an old-world cemetery offers stark contrast to its urban confines. Complete with crooked tombstones, the churchyard is a park for those who don’t mind reading and relaxing among their departed ancestors.

11 Comments

  1. Cela fait partie des paradoxes de Québec, où l’ancien côtoie avec harmonie le nouveau ! Bravo Neil, description intéressante.

  2. Allo Neil,

    I sometimes go to this library in St-Jean-Baptiste district, and it’s intereting to know that this old Church is supposed to have some of the most beautiful stained-glass windows, in Québec city churches.

    Take a look next time, when you’ll return.

    Denis Laberge

  3. A few more interesting things about this church and graveyard:
    It is my understanding that the church is still consecrated and at least one service is held in there each year. When you go in you will notice the altar and the beautiful rood screen are still intact.
    There is also a suggestion that some of the first Jews in the colony were buried in the cemetery in the corner where the pizza restaurant now stands. Kosher pizza, anyone?

  4. I have just returned home from a visit to Quebec which I really enjoyed, however one of my reasons for going was to see if I could find the grave of my Great GRfather who was said to have been buried in Holy Trinity church sec. 2. Of course as Im sure you are aware all the bodies were exhumed and I was told relocated to St Mathews cemetery. Of course I went to St Mathews hoping at least to find some reference to the people who’s bodies had been relocated there,alas nothing. I was very disappointed and thought that maybe the library could help NO. Whats more your grounds have been very much neglected and in need of some T.L.C Maybe some one can give me some information. would be very grateful.

    • Audrey, Yours is a compelling story. I am going to talk to some people I know who might have an idea of where to find such records. I will get back to you soon!

    • All of the bodies in that cemetery were NOT exhumed and relocated. There are still some 7-10,000 bodies in that park. Some of them were relocated, as was the case recently when restoration work on the former church disturbed the final resting place of some 200 people – unidentified, in a mass grave. They were relocated to Mount Hermon Cemetery. Contact James Sweeny, the archivist of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec. He is the keeper of church and cemetery records.

  5. I am searching for my Great Grandfathers grave. He is supposed to be buried in Saint Matthews Anglican Church cemetery, in 1906. He died in Argenteuil Quebec Canada. I am also looking for his death certificate. Any help would be great
    Thank-you Janice DeWitt

  6. I am trying to find the burials of a number of ancestors and their death registers indicate that they were buried at St. Matthews Anglican Church. I am located in Australia and it is difficult to research but wondered if there was something on line or if there is someone to contact who may be able to help with trying to find where these people were buried.

  7. My grandmother, Ester Ann Lawson worshiped at St. Matthews Anglican Church in the first decades of the 1900’s. She died in 1945. I worshipped there in the 1950’s on a visit to my uncle and aunt’s place. Beautiful church, as I remember. My uncle Harry sang in the choir and had a beautiful tenor voice. All the Lawson are buried in Mt. Hermon Cemetery.

  8. Good Morning. I am currently researching an ancestor called James Harris. He was an Englishman serving in the 30th regiment of foot on campaign in Canada 1861-70. Based in Quebec. Records show that he married an Anne Plante at St Matthews on 23rd Sept. 1867 – yet you say that the church was built in the 1870s.
    Does this mean the existing church was a REPLACEMENT building – and do you know where I might obtain a copy of the marriage certificate, if it still exists?

    • Yes, John. The current church is a replacement of a church built in the 1840s. And the site itself has been a cemetery since the late 1700s. For help in finding the marriage certificate in question, see the comment above from Ms. Nadeau. Best of luck.

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