St. James Anglican Church of Trois Rivieres
A wooden Recollette monastery existed here before the erection of this stone church in 1754, after the old monastery had been demolished. The British authorities which took over Trois-Rivieres in 1760, allowed the monks to live there. The monastery chapel was used as a garrison chapel. Later it became a hospital.
The chapel also served as court and prison The buildings came under Anglican jurisdiction in 1777and the St. James Church was open the next year (but the very first Protestant service was held in 1768). Today it continues to serve a small English-speaking congregation. Across the street stands the Ursuline Convent, built in the late 1600s. It was used as a hospital for American wounded soldiers under General Richard Montgomery during the American invasion of Canada in 1775-76. Dating to 1808, the old Anglican cemetery on the corner of St-Francois-Xavier and de Tonnancour streets is the city’s oldest Protestant burial ground.
The Old Prison (1808-1811), a prominent relic of the British regime, is a visitor attraction operated by the Musée québécois de culture populaire on the corner of Laviolette and Hart streets.
History of the church
The Recollet order was the first to use this site to build a monastery (in 1693) followed by a chapel (in 1703). The early wood constructions soon fell victim to the ravages of time and weather and were rebuilt in stone in 1754. Finally, major restoration work both outside (1823) and inside (1910) gave the building their present form.
After the Conquest in 1760, many English-speaking families – mostly Protestant – settled in Trois-Rivières. This altered the vocation of this religious establishment, with the two communities sharing the buildings for a time before the Anglicans, in 1777, assumed full ownership. It was in the parlor of this monastery that on September 23, 1760 the people of Trois-Rivières surrendered their arms and swore the oath of allegiance to the English crown.
Between 1779 and 1823, neither the monastery nor the church was used for religious services. In fact, the monastery was converted into a hospital and the church into a store for medical supplies. Both have served also as a tribunal and a prison and even housed various administrative services.
Address of St. James Church: 181, rue des Ursulines
St. James Church. Photo by ProvinceQuebec.com