Barbados Pocket Guide

Christ Church Parish Church

Christ Church Parish Church, Barbados Pocket Guide

Christ Church Parish Church

Christ Church Parish Church is one of the more well known churches on the island of Barbados. Originally located along Maxwell Coast Road (originally known as Dover) on Barbados' south coast, it is the fifth church bearing that name consecrated in Barbados. Christ Church Parish Church is currently located next door to the Christ Church Foundation School and commands a breathtaking view of the Oistins' Bay from its perch on Church Hill Road.

 

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The first church building was a wooden building constructed around 1629 close to the Dover beach coast. This building was destroyed in a flood in 1669 and the church, along with many of the graves in the adjoining graveyard were washed out to sea. To date there are still about four tombs from around 1672 located at the original site of the church. Additionally, the earliest tombstone to survive the flood dates back to 1659 and is now housed in the Barbados Museum. The tombstone once marked the grave of William Balston Esq. who died on 26th December.

 

After this tragic disaster, the second church was constructed and this time the building was sited at the church's present location. This location however did not prove to be as safe as was originally thought, since this church was also destroyed, this time however, by the great hurricane of 1780. Incidentally this was the deadliest hurricane ever recorded and an estimated four thousand, five hundred people lost their lives. It was also noted that every house on the island was also destroyed by that devastating hurricane.

 

The diocese rebuilt the Christ Church Parish Church for the third time in 1786 and like its predecessor it too was destroyed by the hurricane of 1831. Undaunted, the diocese prepared to rebuild and the cornerstone for the church was laid in 1835 by the Bishop of the diocese, Bishop William Hart Coleridge. Christ Church Paris Church was consecrated two years later.

 

However, this church too was not spared the tragic end endured by the churches that had gone before and on the 2nd March, 1935 the forth church was ravaged by fire. The fifth church however, fared much better and is still standing today. Three of the walls from the previous church as well as the west tower have all been incorporated into the existing church.

 

Chase Vault in the Graveyard at Christ Church Parish Church, Barbados Pocket GuideIn addition to this church's tragic history, it has also gained notoriety because of the infamous moving coffins of the Chase Vault. This bizarre occurrence has been the subject of many inquiries and to this day, no conclusive explanations have been given.

 

The story of the Chase vault reveals that whenever the tomb was opened during the nineteenth century for the internment of another friend or family member, the burial parties were always greeted with the same sight; the coffins that had been previously housed in the crypt seemed to have rearranged themselves, with the wooden coffin of its earliest occupant, Mrs. Thomasina Goddard (1807), being smashed to splinters. The coffins 'moved' on four occasions and this sparked unrest among the people of the area, especially the slaves who could only explain the events in terms of the supernatural.

 

The Governor of Barbados at the time, Vincent Combermere, tried to stem the tide of unrest that was developing among the locals (Bajans) and he ordered that the coffins be placed back in their original positions, with the coffin of Mrs. Goddard (broken into pieces) tied together and propped in the corner of the crypt.  Additionally, he had sand strewn across the floor of the tomb and when the heavy marble slab was placed in position at the door and mortared in place, the governor placed his seal in the wet cement to guard against tampering.

 

Sign Listing the Order of Services at Christ Church Parish Church, Barbados Pocket GuideHowever, when the Chase vault was opened on 20th April, 1820, the governor and all those present were greeted with the same macabre sight. With no logical explanation in the offing, the Governor ordered that the coffins be buried elsewhere in the graveyard with the vault remaining empty.

 

Today the graves of the chase family are located behind the church hall and the infamous Chase vault remains vacant. Visitors to this church are certainly welcomed to venture into the depths of the strange edifice and explore the legend for themselves.

 

This beautiful Barbadian church remains a favourite among locals and visitors alike and the idyllic setting belies the tragic and mysterious past of the Christ Church Parish Church.

 

 

Sundays

January - March  - 6:15 am, 7:45 am & 9:30am
April - October  - 6:00 am, 7:45 am & 9:30 am
November - December  - 

6:15 am, 7:45 am & 9:15 am

Sunday School  - 9:00 am
Youth Service  - 9:00 am
Holy Baptism  -

3rd Sunday of every month - 9:15 am or 9:30 am

 

Wednesdays

Said Eucharist and Sermon
Mission Service on last Wednesday of the month except for major feast days

 

Mondays

Mission Service 7:30 am (Church Army)

 

Appointments are needed for the following…

Weddings
The blessing of Homes, Vehicles and Businesses

 

Contact Information

Telephone (Rectory) - (246) 428-8087

 

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Last modified on Friday, 10 February 2012 19:58

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