Pembroke Parish Rest Home Chapel

The parsonage on the Pembroke-Devonshire glebe was built early in the eighteenth century. It had a long and interesting history. Best known for its excellence as a boys’ school operated by Rev. Alexander Ewing for much of his incumbency, (1791-1820), sometime in the second half of the nineteenth century it was turned into the Pembroke Poor House. By the 1950s the parish vestry decided to rebuild most of this ancient dwelling. C. E. Hinson Cooper was the architect.

This modern structure was renamed the Pembroke Rest Home. W. R. Hayward was the chairman of the vestry and this writer served on the “Poor House Committee”. It was decided to add a small chapel to be under the care of S1. John’s Church.

A very young John Kaufmann, then a student architect, worked for Hinson. Cooper during the holidays. One of his first undertakings was to design this chapel which was consecrated by Bishop Williams, assisted by Rev. E. N. B. Chapman and Rev. Murray Gawn on Whitsunday, May 25, 1958. It won the admiration of all. Today, structural changes have made access easier for the elderly residents of which there are 22 and 17 daycare guests.

The altarpiece, litany desk, lectern, and large cross serving as a mini-reredos, together with the altar rail, are all of handsome mahogany. The altar rail was the gift of the late Mr. James (Dick) Richards.

The large brass cross on the altar was the gift of Mr. Kaufmann and a Bible that of Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Hayward. The donors of two pairs of candlesticks are not noted. The present matron, Mrs. Ronald Dears, tells of a wedding and several funerals that have been held in the chapel.

Over the years it has been served regularly by the parish clergy, but recently, due to a reduction in the number of priests engaged in this large parish, regular services have not been conducted. Several religious groups use these premises each week, but regular services by ordained clergy, it is hoped, will be re-established in the near future.