St Andrew's Anglican Church

41 Blyth Street And Donegal Street, Cromwell

  • St Andrew's Anglican Church.
    Copyright: Advertising & Art. Taken By: Stewart Robertson.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2132 Date Entered 22nd June 2007


Extent of List Entry

Registration includes the land in certificate of title OT59/92 and the building and its fixtures and fittings, and chattels (the original pews), but excluding the hall and bell tower, thereon. (See plan in Appendix 4 of the Registration Report).

City/District Council

Central Otago District


Otago Region

Legal description

Town Secs 1-2 Blk LX Town of Cromwell ( CT OT59/92), Otago Land District

Location description

According to Central Otago District Council, (March 2007) the street number for the Church is 41 Blyth Street. This street number covers two additional land parcels between Blyth Street and Donegal Street (Secs 1-2 Blk LX. Town of Cromwell, Otago Land District), that are not included in the registration.


St Andrew's Anglican Church, opened in 1874, sits on a prominent corner site in the former gold mining town of Cromwell in Central Otago. The Church was designed in Gothic Revival style and is constructed of local stone. St Andrew's has been the centre of Anglican worship in Cromwell and the wider district for over 130 years. In 2006 the congregation continue to worship at the Church.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

St Andrew's Anglican Church has historical significance as it was the first church built in the gold mining town of Cromwell, and along with St Michael's Anglican Church in nearby Clyde, with which it has shared a minister, tells part of the story of the development of Anglicanism in this area. Through its history it demonstrates the importance of Christianity in the culture of gold miners in nineteenth century Central Otago, and the work of the Ladies Guild that contributed to the fundraising to cover some of the building costs, as well as for later projects such as maintenance and other projects of parish life, illustrate the importance of community support and initiatives in the establishment of the Church.

St Andrew's Anglican Church has architectural significance. Although the architect is not known, this church, constructed from the local stone that many of the early Cromwell buildings were built from, demonstrates a traditional English architectural style using local material, making it part of the vernacular architectural style of Cromwell. The building is designed in simple Gothic Revival style, with its sturdy simplicity emphasised by the restrained interior decoration, adding to the contemplative and spiritual function of the building. The peacefulness is further emphasised by the mature garden setting.

The church has spiritual significance as a place of worship for the Cromwell Anglican community over the past 131 years, a function that it continues to have in 2006.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

St Andrew's Church demonstrates the history of the development of Anglicanism in Central Otago in the gold mining period of the 1870s. The history of the Church tells the importance of Christianity during the early years of Central Otago gold mining, and in particular tells part of the story of the wider Dunstan Parish and those associated with it. The church also demonstrates the importance of the role of the Ladies Guild, whose fundraising efforts contributed considerably to the construction of the church.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

St Andrew's Church has an association with some significant figures. The Church was consecrated by Bishop Nevill, Anglican Bishop of New Zealand; it was supported by prominent locals such as politician and prominent gold field's administrator Vincent Pyke.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for, the place:

The congregation of the church hold it in high esteem for its spiritual associations, and are proud of its long 130 year history.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

The church forms an important part of the historical landscape of Cromwell as one of the buildings to survive inundation by Lake Dunstan on its original site, representing part of the history of the old part of Cromwell.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Taylor, James

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Edwards, Carl

Carl Edwards, of London, designed and made stained glass sanctuary windows.

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

St Andrew's Anglican Church, opened in 1874, sits on a prominent corner site in the former gold mining town of Cromwell in Central Otago. The history of the town of Cromwell is intrinsically linked with the history of the discovery and mining of gold in Central Otago. Gold mining began in Central Otago with Gabriel Read's discovery of gold in Gabriel's Gully, near present-day Lawrence, in 1861. The following year Hartley and Reilly left this gully and travelled further into Central Otago. They spent the winter prospecting in the now-flooded Clutha Gorge between present day Clyde and Cromwell, discovering a significant field. The 1862 discovery precipitated a rush to the area. Cromwell, at the northern end of the gorge and only a mile or so from Hartley's claim, was first known as The Junction, for its location on the junction of the Kawarau and Clutha Rivers. The town was surveyed in 1863, and given its official name of Cromwell by its Irish surveyor, Connell. Cromwell was declared a municipality in 1866, when it had a population of 470.

Bishop George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878) was likely to be the first Anglican clergyman to visit Cromwell. Selwyn was reported in Clyde in February 1866, and a history of St Andrew's reports the Bishop of New Zealand visiting Cromwell in that year.

Church records report that a site for a church was chosen on the visit of the Dunedin Bishop Samuel Tarratt Nevill (1837-1921) in 1873, and that a committee was formed under the chairmanship of Vincent Pyke (1827-1894). In the middle of the year the contract was let to James Taylor, about whom little is known. The contract was reported in a local history to be worth £150, and in other sources as worth £700. The Church was completed at the end of that year, funded by a series of bazaars, fetes and other local entertainment. The first service held in December 1874 by Rev. Dewe, the first minister to be appointed to over see the Church.

The Ladies Guild made a great effort in fundraising, contributing £150 for the year 1874 towards the total cost of £700 for building the church. Church records also state that John Marsh, a local citizen, donated land for the building.

Land Information New Zealand records show that a Crown Grant for the land on which St Andrew's was built was made to Joshua Jones, Michael Fraer and James Dawkins in 1872. Joshua Jones was, at this time, the first vicar of St Michael's Anglican Church, Clyde. He had responsibility for the Dunstan parish which included Cromwell. Therefore it seems likely that Rev. Joshua Jones purchased the land as an agent of the church.

In 1875 the Rev. John Dewe replaced Joshua Jones. In 1879 Rev. Dewe was succeeded by Rev. Ash, who left the following year. Bishop Nevill consecrated the church on 10 February 1880.

The interior of the church was redecorated in 1893, with leadlight windows installed in the east and west ends and transfer windows at the sides.

In 1899, Roxburgh, Clyde and Cromwell became part of the new Dunstan parish.

In 1903 the title of the church was transferred from Rev. Joshua Jones and Michael Fraer to the Dunedin Diocesan Trust Board, Dawkins evidently having died in 1885.

Subsequently in 1916 the large parish divided again, into Clyde, Cromwell and Alexandra and a further section including Roxburgh and Miller's Flat.

In 1919 the first organ, a harmonium, was replaced by a pipe organ.

According to church historian Hardwicke Knight two stained glass memorial windows were installed on the south elevation (one commemorating Captain W.D. Jolly, killed at Armentiers in 1916). No date is given for the installation. The second window was designed by Smith and Smith of Dunedin, but no mention is made whether it was a memorial window.

In 1925 a car was purchased for the journey from Clyde to Cromwell for Sunday services, but prior to this time the vicar travelled by bicycle through the Cromwell gorge, and no doubt, before the era of the bicycle, on horseback.

In 1926 the interior was painted, new carpet laid, the kerosene lamps and heaters removed, and electricity installed. The costs were all met by Henry Hotop (1856-1930). German born Hotop was a chemist, who immigrated to Melbourne in 1874, moved to Clyde in 1875, and to Cromwell in 1879. He was keenly interested in local affairs, served on the Borough Council, the Hospital Committee, the school committee as well as being involved with St Andrew's Church.

In September 1930 the Hotop Memorial, donated by the Hotop children in memory of their parents, was dedicated by Bishop Reynolds. The memorial included a stained glass window, oak reredos, brass cross, candlesticks, altar book rest, alms dish, memorial plate, tapestry altar frontal, cruets, pyx box and missal. The reredos were crafted by C.W. Johnson.

The hall was built in 1932 by David Betts. The Sunday School met in the hall for the first time in April 1932. A back room was originally prefabricated in England and first erected at Clyde. This was moved to Cromwell to provide overnight accommodation for the vicar, as St Andrew's shared its vicar with St Michael's of Clyde until the late 1950s.

In 1941 the organ was overhauled, and converted to electrical power.

In 1959, moves were made to separate Cromwell from Clyde, with Cromwell becoming the Upper Clutha Parochial District, with its own vicarage and resident vicar. The vicarage was completed in 1962.

Memorial windows were added in the sanctuary in the 1960s. The windows were designed by Carl Edwards of London, and illustrate verses from the Benedicite . The theme of the windows is the Song of the Three Holy Children. They are a memorial to Jane Tippets donated by her sister and others. They were dedicated on 29 May 1966.

In the 1970s the government developed plans to flood the Clutha Valley in a scheme for power generation. While many of Cromwell's residents were dismayed by these plans that involved submerging a large part of their town, in 1992 the flooding finally took place. Much of the original town in Melmore Terrace, built close to the banks of the Clutha, disappeared under Lake Dunstan, with a new township being constructed on a higher terrace closer to State Highway 8B. St Andrew's, situated on a terrace above the site of the original town, was not affected by the development of Lake Dunstan.

In more recent years the Church has had restoration work completed on the mortar of the Church, and NZHPT was approached in 2001 to consider replacing the timber floor with a concrete one, in an effort to resolve a problem with rising damp. The floor was replaced in 2001

In 2006, although the congregation of St Andrew's is now small, numbering only about 30, it holds the church in high regard for its historic and spiritual associations.

Physical Description

St Andrew's Church is located at the corner of Blyth Street and Molyneux Avenue in the older part of the Central Otago rural service town of Cromwell. The Church has a metal bell tower and wooden hall located alongside, which are not included in the registration.

The Church sits on a grassed section among mature trees in a predominantly residential area.

The Church is designed in Gothic Revival style and is built from schist, with lime mortar. The main body of the church is a single gabled structure, with a gabled entrance porch on the north east elevation. There are three evenly spaced lead-light lancet windows on the south west and north east elevations. The sanctuary and vestry are at the south east end, with an external door to the vestry on the north east elevation. The sanctuary and vestry have a single gabled roof with a lean-to on the north east elevation. The sanctuary has three stained glass Lancet windows, the large centre window flanked by a pair of smaller windows. There are diagonally placed stone buttresses on three of the external corners of the building (the vestry porch entrance has no buttress).

The north west elevation of the Church has a rose window with a Star of David high on the wall at the gable end. Two lead-light Lancet windows are symmetrically placed at a lower level of the wall.

The interior is plastered and painted white. The roof trusses are constructed with king-posts, and the ceiling has diagonal timber lining boards. The pipe organ, installed in 1919, is still in the church though no longer in regular use. The entrance to the vestry through a pointed arched timber door from the altar of the Church.

The stained glass sanctuary windows, designed and made by Carl Edwards of London, were installed in 1966 as a memorial to a congregation member. At the opposing end of the interior there is an oak reredos (or screen) in memory of Henry and Ada Hotop, whose family also gifted other items to the church. The original pews are still in use. There is a narrow stone-arched entrance door.

The hall was built in 1932, and has a small back room originally prefabricated in England and first erected at Clyde. It was moved to Cromwell to accommodate the vicar on overnight stays.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1874 -

1893 -
Leadlight windows installed in the east and west ends and transfer windows at the sides

1926 -
Interior was painted, new carpet laid and electricity installed

1930 -
Memorial to Henry and Ada Hotop dedicated. This included a stained glass window, oak reredos, brass cross and other items.

1959 -
The interior was replastered, alterations made to the sanctuary furnishings, woodwork revarnished

1966 -
New sanctuary windows, designed by Carl Edwards of London depicting verses of the Benedicte, were installed.

2001 -
The wooden (Baltic Pine) flooring replaced with a concrete floor

Construction Details

Schist with a corrugated iron roof, timber joinery

Completion Date

22nd June 2007

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Annan, 1977

N. Annan, Treasure from the Goldfields: St. Michael and All Angels Clyde 1862-1877, Parish of Dunstan, Clyde, 1977

Evans, 1968

J. Evans 1968 Southern See: The Anglican Diocese of Dunedin New Zealand, J. McIndoe, Dunedin

Knight, 1993

Hardwicke Knight, Church Building in Otago, Dunedin, 1993.

Parcell, 1951

James C. Parcell, 'Heart of the Desert: A History of the Cromwell and Bannockburn Districts of Central Otago', Christchurch, 1951

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Otago/Southland Area Office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.