St. Martin's-in-the-Woods in the late 1800's
ABOUT ST. MARTIN’S-IN-THE-WOODS
Opened for services in 1823, the church was consecrated in 1826 with the smashing of a bottle of wine against its spire by the eldest son of the donor of the land on which the church and cemetery stand.
Though considered a Loyalist Church, St. Martin's in the Woods was actually built on land donated by a transplanted Londoner, one William Hanington by name, who apparently named the church after his church in London, St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The vast majority of the congregation, though, consisted of United Empire Loyalists who had fled to Canada from the US during the American Revolutionary War. The plans for the church were drawn by an American named Frost while it was framed by another American named Emerson.
Built of local pine, the wooden church was framed with axe-squared timbers fastened together with wooden pegs. The building was clad in hand split shingles and retains much of the original window glass. In 2007 a large addition was made to the church to add washrooms and meeting rooms. Prior to that the building was unplumbed. Looking at the building it's difficult to say what is original and what has been added later. Today, the building is rather "different" in appearance, with a tall steeple and bell tower near the centre of the building and a smaller steeple at the front.
The church holds regular services to this day and its cemetery, to the side and rear of the
church, continues to accept burials. The cemetery was founded in 1823, with the first known burial being that of Margaret Milne, who died January 16, 1830. There are almost certainly older burials, either now unmarked or with unreadable headstones. As of today, there are at least 320 interments in the cemetery.
The founder of the community and the builder of St. Martin's in the Woods, William Hanington, and his wife Mary are buried in the cemetery with a large headstone and a mounted plaque relating a glimpse into their lives.
Many descendants of William Hanington continue to worship here today, and they have of course been joined by many new local residents.