St Andrew's Church (Presbyterian)

16 Merivale Lane, Merivale, Christchurch

  • St Andrew's Church (Presbyterian), Christchurch. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Bernard Spragg. NZ. Taken By: Bernard Spragg. NZ. Date: 31/08/2014.
  • St Andrew's Church (Presbyterian), Christchurch. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Phil Braithwaite. Taken By: PhilBee NZ - Phil Braithwaite. Date: 7/08/2011.
  • St Andrew's Church (Presbyterian), Christchurch. Building detail. CC Licence 2.0 Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
    Copyright: Brenda Anderson - Wikimedia Commons . Taken By: Brenda Anderson. Date: 15/01/2005.
  • St Andrew's Church (Presbyterian), Christchurch. Interior image courtesy of www.rangiruru.school.nz/abou-us/facilities/.
    Copyright: Rangi Ruru Girls' School.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 304 Date Entered 7th April 1983

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Christchurch City

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 7774 (CT CB407/153) and Lot 15 DP 6620 (CT CB369/45), Canterbury Land District

Location description

The church is located in the grounds of Rangi Ruru School at 59 Hewitts Road, Merivale, Christchurch

Summaryopen/close

St Andrew's was the first Presbyterian church to be built in Christchurch (1856-1857). It was designed by H.J. Cridland (1823-1867), who was probably the first architect to work in Canterbury. Cridland arrived in Wellington in 1843 and was employed in the Colonial Survey Office. He designed a number of buildings in Wellington including St Peter's Church (1848) and the Hutt Anglican Church (1849.) In the middle of 1849 Cridland moved to Lyttelton to become the Superintendent of Public Works for the Canterbury Association. Although working primarily as a surveyor, he possibly designed and certainly supervised the construction of various buildings for the Canterbury Association in Lyttelton. According to art historian, Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, St Andrew's appears to have been the last building Cridland designed.

St Andrew's opened for worship on 1 February 1857. At this stage the wooden building was only 54 feet by 22 feet (about 16.5 m x 6.7 m) and stood at the intersection of Tuam Street and Oxford Terrace. Around 1862 a nave was added. At this time the original building was divided and became the transepts of the enlarged church. In 1892 St Andrew's was enlarged and extended again so that the original 1857 building became contained within the transepts of the 1890s church. This extension/reconstruction of the main portion of the nave and the west end of the church, with its distinctive wheel window, was designed by R.W. England. England later joined forces with his brother to form the Christchurch architectural firm England Bros, which became well-known for both domestic work, such as McLean's Mansion, and commercial buildings, such as the former D.I.C. building in Cashel Street.

With the growth of the surrounding suburbs from the 1920s, St Andrew's congregation began to dwindle and the church was no longer the centre of Presbyterian worship that it had once been. By the 1980s it was marooned in the middle of a commercial area and the congregation had become so small that the future of the church was in doubt. At this time Rangi Ruru Girls' School was looking for a new school chapel, and in 1986 St Andrew's was cut into sections and transported across town to its present site at Merivale Lane. It reopened in 1987 and now functions both as the school's chapel and a parish church.

Historically the church's significance lies in its connection with the early Presbyterian Church in New Zealand. It is also associated with the first Pakeha to settle permanently on the Canterbury Plains, the Deans family, who were closely involved with the establishment and congregation of St Andrew's. Architecturally St Andrew's is significant as a rare example of R.W. England's ecclesiastical work in timber.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

England, Robert William & Edward Herbert

Robert William England (1863-1908) was born at Lyttelton, the son of a timber merchant. Educated in Christchurch, he chose to go to England for his architectural training and began practicing as an architect in Christchurch around the age of twenty-three. In 1906 he took his younger brother Edward (1875 - c.1953) into practice with him.

Among the notable residential designs the England Brothers were responsible for are McLean's Mansion, (1899 - 1902), and the third stage of Riccarton House (1900). Robert was more concerned with the final effect achieved than stylistic fidelity and drew on a variety of styles including the English Arts and Crafts movement. Some of their more well-known public works include the former D.I.C building in Cashel Street (1908), the A.J White building on the corner of Tuam and High Streets (c.1904-1910) and the Kaiapoi Woollen Mills building in Manchester Street (now demolished). They were also involved in designing a number of churches around Christchurch, including Knox Church in Bealey Avenue and St Albans Methodist Church.

The firm continued after Robert's death in 1908 until 1941, although it is generally considered Edward was a more conservative architect than his brother and the firm's most notable commissions occurred before Robert's death.

Cridland, H.J.

H.J. Cridland (1823 -1867) Cridland had arrived in Wellington in 1843 and was employed in the Colonial Survey Office. He designed a number of buildings in Wellington including St Peter's Church (1848) and the Hutt Anglican Church (1849.) In the middle of 1849 Cridland moved to Lyttelton to become the Superintendent of Public Works for the Canterbury Association. Although working primarily as a surveyor, he possibly designed and certainly supervised the construction of various buildings for the Canterbury Association in Lyttelton and can claim therefore to be the first architect to work in Canterbury. St Andrew's Presbyterian Church appears to have been his last building. (Mane, 1990; 39-41)

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1856 - 1857

Addition
1862 -
Original divided and became transepts. Nave built

Addition
1892 - 1893
Nave lifted and new nave with aisles built underneath.

Modification
1986 -
Moved to Rangi Ruru Girls' School. Vestry and ancillary room removed and seating extended

Completion Date

15th August 2001

Report Written By

Melanie Lovell-Smith

Information Sources

New Zealand Historic Places

New Zealand Historic Places

Jonathan Mane, 'New Zealand's First European Architects', 28, March 1990, pp.37 - 41

Other Information

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.