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An Insider’s Guide to Bermuda: The Unfinished Church

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Rising high into the air, this neo-gothic structure sits atop the north end of Kent Street in the historic town of St. George’s, Bermuda. Upon first glance, the structure appears to be the ruins of a once elegant and grand gothic church. It is the kind of structure that one can almost imagine poets, authors, and painters converging under to lull away the time, daydreaming about their various passions. In truth however, it is the ruins of a structure, started in 1874, intended to replace another church, St. Peter’s Church.

 

Unfinished church, Bermuda

 

Bermuda's unfinished church

 

By the mid-1800’s, St. Peter’s church, located on York Street, had fallen into disrepair. A location was scouted and a new church was commissioned to be built at the top of Kent Street, just a short walk from St. Peter’s. Work commenced in 1874 and was never completed, due to a variety of reasons. The main reason was bickering within the Anglican community of St. George’s. A large group of the local population felt that the money would be better spent repairing St. Peter’s rather than building a new structure. In the town of St. George’s, St. Peter’s church represented more than just a parish, it contained within its walls a living history of Bermuda and its founders. The church dates back to 1612 and was built by the first settlers on the island, who constructed the church using wooden posts and palmetto leaves. It is one of the oldest churches on the Western Hemisphere and many parishioners, in 1874, felt that “abandoning” it would be like forgetting their history. Another reason was lack of funding. Raising the funds for such a grand structure would have been a Herculean task during the time. The construction halted and the structure remained unfinished.

 

Bermuda - unfinished church

Just recently, February 2013, the structure was re-opened to the public. Visitors are once again free to roam to the ruins of this strikingly beautiful structure and admire the once ambitious undertaking of the people of St. George’s.

 

Bermuda - unfinished church

Upon first glance, the structure appears to be the ruins of a once elegant and grand gothic church. It is the kind of structure that one can almost imagine poets, authors, and painters converging under to lull away the time, daydreaming about their various passions.

 

In 1926, a strong hurricane destroyed most of the construction and the church remained unfinished and abandoned. In 1992, the Bermuda National Trust acquired the building in order to restore the structure and endow onto it the title of “Protected Historical Monument”. In December 2010, the structure was closed to the public to repair major structural damage and erosion. While visitors were unable to walk into the unfinished church, there was still plenty of grounds to wander and many photographic memories to capture from the outside. Just recently, February 2013, the structure was re-opened to the public. Visitors are once again free to roam to the ruins of this strikingly beautiful structure and admire the once ambitious undertaking of the people of St. George’s.

 

In 1992, the Bermuda National Trust acquired the building in order to restore the structure and endow onto it the title of “Protected Historical Monument”.

In 1992, the Bermuda National Trust acquired the building in order to restore the structure and endow onto it the title of “Protected Historical Monument”.

 

For more information on the Bermuda National Trust and The Unfinished Church, you may visit their website at www.bnt.bm.

 

Bermuda's unfinished church

Rising high into the air, this neo-gothic structure sits atop the north end of Kent Street in the historic town of St. George’s.

 

 

 

 

Lindsey Lehman is the Bermuda Editor for Wandering Educators

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Lindsey Lehman

 

 

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