|Fact & Fantasy: A History of Tavistock & District||Churches - Page 95|
SHAKESPEARE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
As they turned north from the present site of Shakespeare, a hilly country, which reminded them of home, invited them to stay. An assessment roll of North Easthope today, with names like Kelly, McTavish, Hyde and Bell, posthumously reports their decisions. So severely had their mettle been tested that this township can boast no pale parasites to begin their history. Is it possible to imagine such a group without a degree of perspective and consequently a place of "worship"? "Ah, but a man's grasp should exceed his reach, or what's Heaven for," (Browning). Prior to 1846, St. Andrew's Church in Stratford and the little log school house, a mile north of Shakespeare, served as meeting places for the Presbyterians. In 1846 St. Andrew's Church was built near this school site.
Ten years later, in the Fall, a little group of the United Presbyterian Congregation began erecting a church in Shakespeare on the corner, three blocks south-east of the main intersection, but in words of Robert Burns, "The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglay." In October Mother Nature lashed out in her fury against them in the form of a wind-storm, which levelled the church to the ground. This served only to convert their passionate zeal into an unflagging determination to build again. In may 1857, a frame church was dedicated by the first minister, the Rev. Thomas Stephenson.
In 1860 Shakespeare affiliated with Grant's Corners (Hampstead) and it was an exhausted horse, who realized that Sabbath rest was something the Rev. Drummond preached in greater abundance than he allotted to horses. Nineteen years later Presbytery amalgmated St. Andrew's and Knox (North Easthope) with Shakespeare and Hampstead. In 1889 Hampstead was dropped from the charge and Tavistock took its place. Eight years later Tavistock broke the marriage ties when she decided to "go it alone."
In 1903 the old frame church lost its prestige, when it was converted into a stable to be used for the minister's horse and buggy, while the congregation worked at building their new brick church on the main corner. It may have been an ill wind that fanned the flames to burn Mr. Eby's inn, but it blew good fortune to the church board who needed a lot for their building. The present church rose like a rock of integrity above the landscape and from miles around its spire calls all visitors to church. Church Union in 1925 made no changes in this charge. In 1961 St. Andrew's closed its doors and joined with Shakespeare, leaving only Knox (North Easthope) and Shakespeare in this charge.
The Ministers with date of appointment are as follows:
|PREVIOUS||TABLE OF CONTENTS||NEXT|