Congregational

  • Congregationalists were Protestant, independent worshippers and  each ‘congregation’ was autonomous
  • The Bolton Congregationalists built a mud brick church which opened on December 15h, 1842.1 Clay was plentiful in Bolton and several early buildings in the village were also made from mud bricks.2   
  • The church and cemetery were adjacent to Richard Paxman’s tannery property and it is understood that Richard Paxman provided the land.3
  • Rev Joseph Wheeler, a trained blacksmith, carriage ironer, musician and man-of-all-trades, was the first paster of the Bolton Circuit (including Macville) starting in 1845.4
  • The 1851 census recorded Mary and Joseph Wheeler and daughter Emily living in a one storey frame house.  The house was likely built around 1846 just as Charles Bolton was starting to selling lots on the south side of King Street East (former Clergy Reserve)

  • Church membership grew rapidly in the early 1850s, a reflection both of local prosperity and Rev. Wheeler’s ministry.  In 1853, the ‘Sabbath School’ enrollment doubled in one year to over 70 students despite the requirement to spend 4.5 hours at church each Sunday.5
  • By 1863,  the mudbrick building was deteriorating badly and was replaced, on the same site, by a larger timber frame structure with roughcast exterior and beautiful gothic windows.  It opened in January 1864.6
Congregational Church seen from the Warbrick driveway. It was built in 1863. East-facing front door is barely visible to left.
  • Rev. Wheeler made the pipe organ that filled the church with music
  • For years, Joseph Wheeler was the only resident minister in Bolton.  He was revered by his congregation who supported him with donations of produce or whatever they could offer
  • After his death in 1878, a new minister could not be found and members were gradually drawn to other local churches.  The Congregational Church closed its doors in December 1879.7

And the building?

  • The church was the site of the James F. Warbrick’s funeral on November 15, 1889 
  • In  1910, the structure was finally dismantled. The large timbers were used by Lincoln Hutton to build a house on land owned by his wife Mary Alice Elliott.  It later became the Newlove home, 72 Nancy Street.8
  1. Ian R. Dalton, The Congregational Church of Bolton, paper written July 1988
  2. Mud bricks were shaped and dried in the sun, but were ‘unburnt’ or not ‘kilned’
  3. Comment: There is no transfer of land to Church Trustees documented in Peel County land records.  Paxman only acquired the land from George Bolton in 1845.
  4. Our Bolton Heritage in the United Church, published 1951, pg 4
  5. ibid.
  6. Ian R. Dalton
  7. Entry in the diary of Joseph Firth Warbrick
  8. Our Bolton Heritage, pg 23