St Paul’s Presbyterian Church (Former)

3782 Becks-Lauder Road, Lauder

  • St Paul's Presbyterian Church (Former), Lauder, Otago. Image courtesy of lauderdale.co.nz.
    Copyright: www.lauderdale.co.nz.
  • St Paul’s Presbyterian Church (Former), Lauder, Otago.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Heather Bauchop. Date: 2/09/2015.
  • St Paul’s Presbyterian Church (Former), Lauder, Otago. Rear of St Paul's Church showing the vestry.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Heather Bauchop. Date: 2/09/2015.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5222 Date Entered 1st May 2017

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described Lot 1 DP 351454 (CT 210663), Otago Land District and the building known as St Paul’s Presbyterian Church (Former) thereon. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the List entry report for further information).

City/District Council

Central Otago District

Region

Otago Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 351454 (CT 210663), Otago Land District

Summaryopen/close

Relocated from the small Central Otago town of Becks, to the nearby Lauderdale Estate in 2005, St Paul’s Presbyterian Church (Former) was built for the Presbyterian congregation of the Becks district in 1912. It is [a] good representative example of a timber Gothic church, and has historical and architectural significance.

The Presbyterian congregation was active in the Becks district in the 1870s. As early as 1884, the Presbyterian Church Extension Committee had looked at a church site in Becks. Becks was under the charge of the Dunstan Presbytery, and for many years looked after by Naseby-based Reverend James McCosh Smith. It was not until 1911 that an application was made to the Church Erections and Finance Committee for a grant for a new church. Church elder Adam Rolland, from Blackstone Hill Station, provided the impetus for building a church at Becks. Although he returned to Edinburgh in 1882, Rolland made provision in his will for the Presbyterian cause, and in also gave £10 towards the building of a church, and £100 if the residents raised a similar amount.

Reverend Smith advertised for tenders on 27 September 1911. The Presbyterian Church Committee accepted the £295 tender of Mills and Baker. John McKnight, a ‘well-known’ Ophir builder designed the church. The Mount Ida Chronicle reported that the building ‘will supply a long felt want in the district, and we may add that this is by no means the only sign of the district’s progress.’ The paper reported in May 1912 that the church ‘though not a large structure it is withal neat, well built and comfortable, the interior being chastely furnished. Built of wood, well painted, and roofed with iron, its exterior with bell and belfry, looks exceedingly attractive’.

From 1946 to 1952 after the Becks School burned down, the church was used as a classroom and a number of locals have fond memories of moving pews for Sunday services. In May 2002 St Paul’s closed. In early 2003, David Smythe bought the building and applied to Central Otago District Council to move the church to his nearby property at Lauderdale to use as a wedding venue. The church was moved to Lauderdale, completing the early link between Lauderdale Station and Presbyterian worship in the district.

St Paul’s Presbyterian Church is set in a grassy field alongside the mature plantings surrounding the historic Lauderdale Station and the new function centre that provides a venue for weddings and other events. The exterior of the church is rectangular in plan with the building made up of nave, porch and vestry. The weatherboard church has been re-clad in stucco, probably in the 1960s. It has six lancet double hung sash windows with coloured patterned glass in the nave. Similar windows are found in the porch and the vestry. The interior is notable for its extensive use of clear-finished rimu, providing a rich and warm interior. The original windows, doors and their associated locksets and door furniture add to the detail of the interior.

In 2016, the former St Paul’s Presbyterian Church continues to be used for weddings as part of the privately owned Lauderdale Estate function venue.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Built in 1912, this church is considered to be of significance as a representative remaining example of a small rural church in the region. The history of St Paul’s Presbyterian Church (Former) reflects the history of the Presbyterian Church in Otago, and the changing values of the late twentieth century and early twenty first century. As the needs of the parish changed, St Paul’s Church was used for wider purposes in the community, including as a school room. When the congregation diminished the church was closed, and sold with the support of the parish, to new owners for use as a wedding venue. Its continued use as a wedding chapel gives the architecture continued meaning and relevance.

Architectural Significance or Value

St Paul’s Presbyterian Church (Former) has architectural value as a representative example of a rural timber church from the early twentieth century and its fabric retains that significance. It is a modest timber church with stained glass windows. It is of comparatively simple Gothic Revival design and its timber construction reflects the material of choice for smaller Otago and Southland churches.

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

St Paul’s Presbyterian Church (Former) was built for the Presbyterian congregation at Becks and Lauder in 1912. It was the place of worship and community connection until 2002, and its relocation in 2005. This changing location reflects the needs of the local community and the value in which the Church was held.

(g) The technical accomplishment, value, or design of the place

Some key characteristics of the Gothic Revival style are evident at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church (Former), such as vertical emphasis created through steep pitched gables and lancet windows. The extensive and dramatic use of native timber for the wall and ceiling linings and church furniture also reflect the Gothic tradition.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Mills and Baker

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

McKnight, John

John McKnight was a builder operating from Ophir in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Source: List Entry Review Report for St Paul's Presbyterian Church Former, 3 April 2017, List No. 5222

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Māori had settlements in Central Otago, associated with early occupation – there were six settlements at Lake Hāwea (Te Taweha o Hāwea, Mahaea, O tu Purupuru, Turihuka, Te Taumanu o Taki and Pakituhi) and one near Cromwell (Wairere). The moa-rich area was known for camps where moa were butchered and cooked (for example there were large sites in the Hawksburn and Happy Valley areas, as well as the Nevis Valley), and there were quarries used for stone tools in the region of Tiger Hills and Mount Benger. The swampy plains in the Maniototo provided eels and other food resources. Though Maori are known to have joined the gold rushes, little is known about their participation in the gold rush at Cambrians.

Becks (in the nineteenth century also known as the White Horse) is a small community in the Maniototo district of Central Otago. The community grew up around the White Horse Hotel, established in 1864 at the crossroads on the road between Omakau and Wedderburn and St Bathans. A Church Extension report from 1879 argued that the ‘large tract of land lying between Naseby and Alexandra’ should have a minister. On 24 March 1881, the Dunstan Presbytery resolved that Blacks, Matakanui, Cambrian, and St Bathans be a Home Mission district. Runholder Adam Rolland, with his visiting brother, the Reverend William Rolland helped out in the Blackstone area. In September 1882 a deputation of local Presbyterians urged the formation of a charge, the building of a manse, and the appointment of a resident minister. In January 1883, Lauder was sanctioned as a charge, and the plans for a cottage manse were approved. It was not until December 1884, after a series of temporary appointments, that the Reverend James Henry was inducted.

The Reverend James Reid replaced Henry in 1891, boarding in Cambrians. He in turn was replaced by Reverend Gellie who served the parish for eleven years after 1893. Like the ministers before him, Gellie received hospitality and practical assistance from the runholders – including station owners or managers at Blackstone Hill and Lauder. Prior to the building of the church, parishioners were invited to worship in the Lauder Station homestead, which points to a long relationship between the station owners and the Presbyterian community.

As early as 1884, the Presbyterian Church Extension Committee had looked at a church site in Becks. They considered the financial position of the district to be fair, but that contributions had been decreasing. Becks was under the charge of the Dunstan Presbytery, and for many years looked after by Naseby-based Reverend James McCosh Smith. From 1871, until his retirement in 1907, Smith oversaw Kyeburn, Wedderburn, Blackstone Hill, St Bathans, Cambrians and Becks. It was not until 1911 that an application was made to the Church Erections and Finance Committee for a grant for a new church.

Church elder Adam Rolland, from Blackstone Hill Station, provided the impetus for building a church at Becks. Although he returned to Edinburgh in 1882, Rolland made provision in his will for the Presbyterian cause, and in also gave £10 towards the building of a church, and £100 if the residents raised a similar amount. He also provided £50 for the purchase of an organ and furniture.

Reverend Smith advertised for tenders on 27 September 1911. The Presbyterian Church Committee accepted the £295 tender of Mills and Baker. John McKnight, a ‘well-known’ Ophir builder designed the church. The Mount Ida Chronicle reported that the building ‘will be both neat and comfortable, [and] will supply a long felt want in the district, and we may add that this is by no means the only sign of the district’s progress.’ By November 1911, there was £101 in the church building fund. The paper reported in May 1912 that the church ‘though not a large structure it is withal neat, well built and comfortable, the interior being chastely furnished. Built of wood, well painted, and roofed with iron, its exterior with bell and belfry, looks exceedingly attractive’.

On 24 June 1912 Reverend R. Evan Davies, the Minister of Dunedin’s Knox Church conducted the opening service. Worshippers from the surrounding districts attended the services, with Reverend Davies expressed ‘his pleasure at being present to take part in the dedication of such a handsome building.’ Presbyterian Moderator Reverend James McCosh Smith thanked Adam Rolland (formerly of Blackstone Hill Station, now of Edinburgh) for his ‘princely donation’ that provided funds for the building project.

As the needs of the parish changed, St Paul’s Church was used for wider purposes in the community, including as a school room. From 1946 to 1952 after the Becks School burned down, in addition to providing a place of worship, celebrating weddings and a place for conducting funerals, the church was used as a classroom and a number of locals have fond memories of moving pews for Sunday services. The building was thought to have been re-clad around 1960. It is not known what date the belfry was removed. When church attendance declined in the late twentieth century, St Paul’s became a union church, providing a place of worship for the various denominations active in this small community.

In May 2002 St Paul’s closed after the congregation diminished and was sold with the support of the parish. In early 2003, David Smythe bought the building and was granted consent to Central Otago District Council to move the church to his nearby property at Lauderdale to use as a wedding venue. In 2005 the church was moved to Lauderdale, completing the early link between Lauderdale Station and Presbyterian worship in the district.

In 2016, the former St Paul’s Presbyterian Church continues to be used for weddings as part of the privately owned Lauderdale Estate function venue.

Physical Description

Current Description

Setting

St Paul’s Presbyterian Church (Former) is set in a grassy field alongside the mature plantings surrounding the historic Lauderdale Station and the new function centre that provides a venue for weddings and other events.

The Exterior

The exterior of the church is rectangular in plan with the building made up of nave, porch and vestry. The weatherboard church has been reclad in stucco, probably in the 1960s.

It has six lancet double hung sash windows with coloured patterned glass in the nave. Similar windows are found in the porch and the vestry. The exterior doors are ‘ledged and braced’ and built of cedar. They have decorative false hinges and original door handles. The barge boards have applied mouldings to the top edge. The roof is short run corrugated iron.

Interior

The porch is clad in four inch (10.16 cm) tongue and groove Rimu panelling to the walls and ceiling. The doors and windows are rimu. The interior doors have their original lockset and door furniture. The floor is also rimu. There are two rows of wall mounted coat hooks.

The nave is also finished with rimu panelling, and rimu sarking on the ceiling. The doors and window architraves are also rimu. The doors have their original locksets and door furniture.

The vestry too is finished in rimu. There is a fire surround with a timber surround with half-moulded corbel brackets and a fireplace opening.

Construction Dates

Modification
1960 - 1969
Weatherboards clad with stucco

Modification
-
Belfry removed

Relocation
2005 - 2005
Church relocated to Lauderdale Estate

Original Construction
1912 -

Construction Details

Timber, glass, corrugated iron, stucco

Completion Date

3rd April 2017

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Don, 1923

Alexander Don, Memories of the Golden Road: A History of The Presbyterian Church in Central Otago, A.W. & A.W. Reed, Dunedin, 1923

Other Information

A fully referenced New Zealand Heritage List report is available on request from Otago/Southland Area Office of Heritage New Zealand.

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.