Enfield Presbyterian Church
805 Weston-Ngapara Road, Enfield
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
7th April 1983
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes part of the land described as Pt Sec 2 Blk XVI Oamaru SD (CT OT8D/287), Otago Land District, and the building known as Enfield Presbyterian Church, thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rarangi Korero Committee meeting on 9 March 2017.
Pt Sec 2 Blk XVI Oamaru SD (CT OT8D/287), Otago Land District
Set in the rich rolling North Otago hinterland, Enfield Presbyterian Church designed by pre-eminent church architect Robert Lawson in 1878, represents the significance of faith in nineteenth century New Zealand and illustrates the role of the landed gentry in supporting the establishment of the church. The Enfield Presbyterian Church has architectural, aesthetic, historic and spiritual significance.
The township of Enfield was originally named Teaneraki, but to avoid confusion with the North Island’s Taranaki it was renamed in 1878 for the English town, birthplace of the Enfield rifle. The streets are named after British Generals with an emphasis on the India campaign. The settlement grew up around the flour mill.
Presbyterianism in North Otago dated back to 1860 when the Reverend William Johnstone of Port Chalmers delivered a sermon in Oamaru. The first resident minister was Reverend Charles Connor who was ordained in November 1863. The area around John Reid’s substantial Elderslie Estate was first part of the Lower Waitaki and received supply preaching from there. By 1875 the church considered that the Upper and Lower Waiareka should be a separate charge and to this end the Oamaru Presbytery appointed the Reverends A. B. Todd and John Steven to visit the country between Weston and Marewhenua. The two men recommended a separate Charge and a subscription list accompanied the request showing that some £200 had been promised to the Sustenation Fund. The Presbytery recommended to the Synod that the memorial be agreed, which they did in January 1876. Services were held in buildings at Weston, Teanaraki and Elderslie, but the community recognised that they needed a church, and the congregation passed a motion to this effect in August 1876. The congregation extended a call to the Reverend J.H. Cameron of Lawrence and he accepted and was inducted to the charge in 1877.
The Enfield Presbyterian Church was opened for worship on 11 August 1878 on part of the Elderslie Estate. The land for the church was given by John Reid of Elderslie. At the opening soiree the Reverend Todd congratulated the people on their church: ‘It was beautiful in its architecture and beautiful in its surroundings, and he hoped that the beauty of the structure would be but the outward symbol of the symmetry and beauty of the church within; that it would be in every sense a prosperous church, and that it would in the years to come be said of this man and that man that he was born there.’ The incumbent minister, Reverend Cameron mentioned the generosity of the congregation and noted that Mrs Menlove had donated a pulpit bible and hymn-book, while Mr Menlove had presented a harmonium. A later report indicated the church cost £1420 to build.
The church sits amid the rich farmland of North Otago at the head of a slight rise that emphasises the position of the church. Notionally cruciform in plan, with truncated transcepts, the church has a layout and design typical of the period – nave, porch and bell tower and spire. The church built of Oamaru stone and has a slate roof. The detailing is restrained, as befitting a country church – with lancet windows, dentils and a string course providing the decorative details.
In 1901 The Waiareka parish was formed – made up of the Enfield, Ngapara and Windsor churches. Reflecting further changes in the district, the parishes of Weston and Waiareka were amalgamated in 1964. In 2001 the 125th Anniversary of the Parish was celebrated in the Enfield church. The church website records that there was a’ large gathering of people who remembered the hard work so many people have put into establishing the church and sharing the love of Christ with the community.’
In 2016, the Enfield Presbyterian Church, along with the church at Weston, remains a focus of worship for the Waiareka-Weston district.
Lawson, Robert Arthur
Born in Scotland, Lawson (1833-1902) began his professional career in Perth. At the age of 25 he moved to Melbourne and was engaged in goldmining and journalism before resuming architectural practice. In 1862 Lawson sailed for Dunedin, where his sketch plans had won the competition for the design of First Church. This was built 1867-73. Lawson went on to become one of the most important architects in New Zealand. First Church is regarded as his masterpiece and one of the finest nineteenth century churches in New Zealand.
He was also responsible for the design of the Trinity Church (now Fortune Theatre), Dunedin (1869-70), the East Taieri Presbyterian Church (1870), and Knox Church, Dunedin (1874). He designed Park's School (1864) and the ANZ Bank (originally Union Bank, 1874). In Oamaru he designed the Bank of Otago (later National Bank building, 1870) and the adjoining Bank of New South Wales (now Forrester Gallery, 1881).
See also: Ledgerwood, Norman, 2013. 'R.A. Lawson: Victorian Architect of Dunedin'. Historic Cemeteries Conservation NZ.
13th February 2017
Report Written By
Syd Muirhead, Historic North Otago, Oamaru Mail, 1990
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.
A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand.