St James’ Anglican Church, Jericho (1)

Built on the site of the current church. It was consecrated in 1838 during a visit by the visit but was presumably in use prior to this. At least two marriages took places there in 1883 (Samuel Horton & Elizabeth Hudson in April, and Rev. John Norman & Eliza Pike in May).

The building was taken down 1882 to enable the construction of the new St James.

Extract from a series on Tasmanian churches published in the Mercury in 1930:

Minutes of a meeting held at Jericho on November 1 (the year is not mentioned, but it presumably was 1830 [1827, see below), for the purpose of taking into consideration the expediency of erecting a place of worship in the populous part of the district. It was resolved unanimously:

(1) That it is expedient to erect a place of worship in the most populous part of the district.
(2) That a-subscription forthwith be entered into for the purpose.
(3) That application be made to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor (who was then Colonel Arthur), soliciting the assistance of the Government in support of the undertaking.

It was resolved that Mr. P. Harrisson be appointed-treasurer, and Mr. J. M. Hudspeth secretary, and that Messrs. E. Bryant, W. Pike, C. M. Cogle, James Weeding, P. Harrisson, and J. M. Hudspeth form a committee for the purpose of carrying the design into effect, and that any three of them would form a quorum. It was resolved that the thanks of. the meeting be given to Rev. Mr. Bedford for the, attention given by him to the action, and for his handsome conduct in the chair. It was suggested by Mr. Bedford that the site of the proposed chapel be on the hill on the rising ground between Mr. Harrisson’s house and Fourteen Tree Hill, being considered by him the spot most eligible to the population generally.

Evidently Colonel Arthur; or the Government, paid little, attention to the request for financial assistance in connection with the erection of the Jericho church at that time, for further minutes state:–
“At a meeting held at Bowsden on April 11, at which Messrs Bryant, Harrisson, and Hudspeth were present, it was resolved that a general meeting of the committee be held at Mr. Harrisson’s Inn (now Grove House, Jericho), on Monday, 14th Inst., for the purpose of considering the advisability of renewing the application to the Lieutenant-Governor, and also presenting an address to the venerable archdeacon on the same subject.”

There is no record to show whether the second application was ever favourably or unfavourably received, but it may be that at least some measure of assistance was accorded the undertaking, especially when the archdeacon of the parish at the time was interested in the matter. A Rev. Mr. Drought, who must have had a charge somewhere near Jericho in those days, interested himself in the endeavour to secure Governmental assistance for the Jericho church, for in the specifications relating to the building, the contractor undertook to finish the work “six months from the date the answer was received from the Government to the application made by Mr. Drought.” It would not therefore be unreasonable to assume that some assistance was eventually granted.

At all events, the church was constructed, not on the spot near Fourteen Tree Hill, as suggested by Mr. Bedford, but on the site where the present church stands. The subscription list as decided upon was evidently opened at the first meeting, for the document on which the minutes were written also bears a list of liberal subscribers to the fund, on which the following names appear:-G.M., P. Harrisson, James Weeding, William Pike, James Mackerson, J. M. Hudspeth, F. Bradley, William Bedford, Mrs. Ransom (Green Ponds), Mr. Hooper (Cross Marsh), J. Presnell (Sorrell Springs), T.G.G., Thomas Anstey, Mrs. Anstey, G. Lindley, Mrs. Page, Charles Mills Cogie, James Jones, John Jones, John Hiddlestone (Hobart) Town), John Franks, James Hooper, George Guest, Sr., James Drummond. James Gravett, Mrs. Guest, John Bowden, Matthew Bowden, Patrick Wood, Edward Bryant, Hugh Cassidy, J. Earle, Thomas Salmon and John Hays.

The specifications were prepared by George Aitcheson, builder and contractor, of Oatlands. From them it is evident that the building was not to be on a very elaborate scale, it was mostly of rough stone, and its dimensions were 235 feet by 25 feet. The contract was undertaken by Air. Percy Harrisson, who was to do the work for £330. The contract is dated March 4, 1831.
The Mercury, 7 April 1930


A meeting was held at Jericho on the 1st instant, when resolutions were formed and subscriptions made on the spot to the amount of nearly 100l. for the purpose of building a Church in that improving neighbourhood.
Hobart Town Courier, 10 November 1827

Hobart Town Courier 4 December 1830
Hobart Town Courier, 4 December 1830

Hobart Town Courier 6 November 1835
Hobart Town Courier, 6 November 1835

Hobart Town Courier 4 May 1838
Hobart Town Courier, 4 May 1838

Mr. Editor,
In travelling the other day through the pretty little settlement of Jericho, and through which meanders the river Jordan, my attention was attracted to Jericho Episcopal Church, which is a small plain structure standing upon a slight eminence off the main road. I paused for awhile and gazed upon the burial ground surrounding the pile. Even for so thinly populated a locality, the number of tomb stones and fenced sepulchres, too sadly portrayed how many who had borne the “human face divine” had thrown off their “mortal coils.” The scene was hallowed by the stillness of the air, and the sacredness of the spot. A gloomy sensation, however, stole over me as I witnessed the miserable, shabby, dilapidated fence, (a portion of which was broken down altogether) which environed those precious remains of mortality. Surely the opulent settlers of Jericho, for the honor of that sacred depository of the dead, will not suffer it to remain longer exposed to the tramp and trespass of all species of animals, as well as to the rude visitation of thoughtless juvenility, but quickly set about the erection of a respectable and substantial protective fence, and meanwhile repair the odious one now so shocking to the traveller’s sense of decency.
I am, Mr. Editor,
Your’s respectfully,

The Mercury, 2 February 1861

Centenary and Jubilee
The 100th anniversary occurs today of the consecration of the first St. James’ Church at Jericho in the parish of Oatlands by the first Anglican Bishop of Australia (the Rt. Rev. Dr. W. G. Broughton). Almost simultaneously with this anniversary there occurred on April 29 the 50th anniversary of the opening of the present church. Jericho today forms a part of the parish of Oatlands, but at one time it was a separate parish. Actually, it has a history older than Oatlands. A church was proposed at Jericho in 1830, and when Bishop Broughton visited Tasmania in May 1838, he consecrated St. James’ Church, then in existence at the township.

The Mercury, 10 May 1938

The Mercury 22 August 1882
The Mercury, 22 August 1882

The workmen employed in removing the old church, preparatory to the building of the new one, have at length arrived at the last or corner-stone of the basement, which has proved to be the foundation stone, in a niche in which were found several pennies and farthings of George IV.’s reign, and some on which the dates 1803 and 1826 are visible, also two silver coins, which are apparently Spanish, the larger one being something less in size than a florin, and has the words “Spain” and “cash” visible ; the other is about the size of a 6d., with foreign characters upon its face. There are no papers or documents to indicate the date of the laying of the stone, which ceremony is supposed to have taken place about half a century ago. Some old colonists may remember the coin current 50 years ago, and from the above description be able to give the names of the silver pieces. From the small quantity found in the stone I imagine that silver coin was not so plentiful in the colony then as now.
The Mercury, 16 Match 1883

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