St Albans Stables

5636 Kurow-Duntroon Road, State Highway 83, Kurow

  • St Albans Stables.
    Copyright: Advertising & Art. Taken By: Stewart Robertson. Date: 19/10/2007.
  • St Albans Stables.
    Copyright: Advertising & Art. Taken By: Stewart Robertson. Date: 19/10/2007.
  • St Albans Stables. August 1995. Image included in Field Record Form Collection.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Elizabeth Matheson (Nth Otago Branch Committee).

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5442 Date Entered 23rd June 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot A DP 1022 (CT OT94/174), Otago Land District, and the building known as St Albans Stables thereon, as shown in the extent map tabled at the Rarangi Korero Committee meeting on 9 March 2017.

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot A DP 1022 (CT OT94/174), Otago Land District


Built in 1893 as an outbuilding to the St Alban’s Vicarage and Chapel (List No. 2435), this stone stable is a reminder of the importance of horses in nineteenth century daily life and with the adjoining buildings have historical, aesthetic and architectural significance.

Between 1881 and 1891 the Waitaki Valley Anglican community was served by curates who lived locally but who were appointed by the vicar of Oamaru. In 1891 the Waitaki Mission District was established and Hugh Corrie Frere was appointed first curate of the parish. Kurow was in the Waitaki Mission District of the Anglican Church that extended from the ‘sea coast to a point in the mountains beyond Kurow, about sixty miles from that township.’ The district included the settlements of Kurow, Ngapara, Livingstone, Maerewhenua, Duntroon and the Hakataramea Valley. Frere’s appointment coincided with the generous but troublesome bequest left by Emily Campbell, wife of the late Robert Campbell who had been a leading North Otago landholder.

The Campbell bequest caused some difficulties for the parish. In 1892 the Church News reported from Minister H.C. Frere, the Anglican priest for the parish, that a ‘terrible mistake’ had been made in the bequest restricting it to the building of one church and parsonage for the Kurow and Duntroon districts. The trustees could not buy land or allow two churches to be built nor provide for the clergyman’s stipend. There was considerable local controversy over where the church should be built: the Duntroon folk wished the church and parsonage erected side by side in their town. While Kurow people argued for the buildings to be there. Nor did the endowment provide for a stipend for a curate. Bishop Nevill stepped in to offer a compromise where the parsonage would be built at Kurow and the church at Duntroon.

An 1892 newspaper article discussed the Kurow controversy. Mrs Campbell left £6,000 to the Anglican Church Property Trustees for the building of a church and parsonage between Kurow and Duntroon – the towns are 22 kilometres apart. Forrester and Lemon prepared the plans for the parsonage (at an approximate cost of £2500), leaving some £4000 for completing the church. The bequest made no provision for land, but a 12 acre site was subscribed for. In October 1893, Oamaru architect John Megget Forrester advertised for tenders for the ‘erection of parsonage buildings at Kurow.’ The accepted tenders were stonemason John Barclay (£1287) and that of carpenter John Menzies (£1444).

In July 1893 the Oamaru Mail reported that the ‘Anglican Parsonage, to which is added a very commodious room for holding services’ was open. The parsonage was ‘an imposing-looking building of two storeys, and contains twenty rooms with every convenience inside, and stables a short distance away.’ In 1894 the stables burnt down. The Star reported ‘The police have received information that the stables at the Kurow parsonage were destroyed by fire at about a quarter past twelve this morning. A fire broke out in some hay stored in the loft.’ In February 1894, H. Maude Roxby, agent for the insurer, advertised for tenders for the purchase and removal of stonework from the scene of the late fire at Kurow Parsonage.’ In late February 1894, Forrester tendered for the reinstatement of the stable and that work was complete by November 1894. The property remained the vicarage until 1970 when the last incumbent vicar vacated the property and since that time has been home to various tenants. The stable was also leased to tenants. In recent years a local group, the Kurow Victorian Preservation Group, has been fundraising to safeguard the future of the building.

In 2016, the St Alban’s Stable remains a significant element in this important complex of buildings.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Forrester & Lemon

The architectural partnership of Forrester and Lemon was established in Oamaru in 1872.

Thomas Forrester (1838-1907) was born in Glasgow and educated at the Glasgow School of Art. Emigrating to New Zealand in 1861 he settled in Dunedin and worked under William Mason (1810-97) and William Henry Clayton (1823-77) and later Robert Arthur Lawson (1833-1902). In 1865 he superintended the Dunedin Exhibition and from 1870 he became involved with the supervision of harbour works. Some time after 1885 he became Engineer to the Oamaru Harbour Board and in this capacity designed the repairs to the breakwater following storm damage in 1886 and later the Holmes Wharf. On his death in 1907 he was still in the employ of the Harbour Board.

John Lemon (1828-1890) was born in Jamaica and travelled to England before emigrating to New Zealand in 1849. He settled in Oamaru in 1860 and with his brother Charles established a timber merchant's business. By 1869 he was in partnership with his father-in-law, George Sumpter calling themselves "Timber and General Merchants, Land and Commission Agents". This partnership was dissolved in 1872 and Lemon entered into partnership with Forrester. Lemon had no architectural experience at all, but had a wide circle of business contacts and was an efficient administrator.

Buildings designed by the partnership of Forrester and Lemon include St Paul's Church (1875-76), the Harbour Board Offices (1876), Queen's (later Brydone) Hotel (1881), Waitaki Boys' High School (1883), The Courthouse (1883) and the Post Office (1883-84), all in Oamaru. Forrester and Lemon contributed greatly to Oamaru's nineteenth century character. On Lemon's death in 1890 the practice was taken over by Forrester's son, John Megget Forrester (1865-1965).

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1893 -
Parsonage and Chapel and outbuildings completed

1894 -
Stable damaged by fire and reinstated

Completion Date

19th December 2016

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Jackie Gillies and Associates, 2012

Jackie Gillies + Associates, ‘Conservation Plan for St. Alban’s Vicarage, Kurow,’ Prepared for The Kurow Victorian Preservation Group, February 2012.

Sutton, 1990

Heather Sutton, One hundred years at Saint Albans – the story of Saint Alban’s Anglican Church, Kurow, The author, Kurow, 1990

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.

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