The Anglican Church in Clarenville really had its beginnings with the coming of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Long, parents of Mr. William Long, Sr., better known to us as Uncle Billy. Mr. And Mrs. Long were originally from Champney’s East but moved to St. John’s where Mr. Long worked as a Building Contractor. During the summer of 1910 the Long family moved to Clarenville where Mr. Long built a Hotel, known as the Central Hotel, near Long’s Crossing. It was operated by the Long families until 1945.There was no Anglican Church in Clarenville in 1910 and there was only three Anglican families there at that time – Mr. & Mrs. Robert Batstone who lived in a bungalow opposite the site where the Centennial Hotel is located – between the hotel and the track; Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Stone (parents of William Stone) who lived on the site which the Department of Highways now occupies and Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Long.At that time (1910) Clarenville was part of Smith Sound Mission with headquarters at White Rock. It was also in 1910 that Rev. Hugh Facey came to the Mission. When he visited Clarenville, he held service in the Hotel dining room which wasn’t too convenient at times. Quite often passengers from the Coastal Boat (The Ethie) as well as people who came from other parts of Random and Smith Sounds in motor boats to connect with trains visited the Hotel when services were being held. This meant that Mrs. Long, popularly known as Aunt Mary, would have to leave to attend to her guests. These interruptions occurred so frequently that Mrs. Long decided that the time had come to do something about getting a School-Chapel. For a start she sought and obtained permission from Rev. Facey to place a Mission Box on the dining room table to obtain contributions from her guests and other visitors to the Hotel.
Uncle Billy tells us that his mother was a good organizer and undertook many projects to raise funds to et a Church. Socials were held at various places in the area. These socials were usually Pie Suppers, Soup Suppers, Soup Suppers and so on. Concerts and Dances were also arranged and the popular Fiddler of the day was Uncle Billy Stanley. He usually played the accordion. Sometimes admission was free with charges of 10 (cents) to 20 (cents) for refreshments. If $10.00 or $15.00 were realized the Social was considered an outstanding success. Socials were held at the following places: The UC School which was located near the present United Church, Clarenville; (Later this building was purchased by Mr. Eli Balsom who moved it to its present location near the Orange Hall and used it for a dwelling.) The Orange Hall, Clarenville; the United School , Shoal Hr., which was located opposite where Harbour Motors is now doing business and the Oddfellows Hall, Clarenville.In 1922 Mrs. Long rented a house opposite where Mr. Albert Hunt now lives – between the old Anglican Church and Mr. William Stone’s. Uncle Billy renovated the building by removing all the partitions and renewing the foundation after which it was converted into a school. Mr. Joseph Long made the seats some of which were 8 ft. Long or longer with desks at the back. Some of these seats are still in use today although the desks have been removed. (They are located in the Anglican Parish Hall, Clarenville.) This school was also used as a chapel by Rev. Rowe who succeeded Rev. Facey. (Note; As a point of interest it may be stated here that Rev. Rowe died while preaching from the Pulpit of his Church in Montreal.)
As a result of her efforts Aunt Mary Long and her friends with the support of members of other congregations raised sufficient funds to commence building a School-Chapel. The rented building was used until 1925when the new School – Chapel was officially opened. Working towards this goal was a little easier than when it started as a fourth Anglican family moved in, Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Blackmore, who were also staunch church supporters.Uncle Billy tells us that the new School – Chapel (still standing near the residence of Mrs. William Adey’s) was built in about one year. Free labour was the order of the day and much credit is due to the four families and in particular to Aunt Mary Long who was the prime mover of the project. It was generally understood that Aunt Mary was primarily responsible for the beginning of the Church in Clarenville. As a matter of interest it may be noted that the first Organist in this School Chapel was Mrs. William Adey who is presently residing in Clarenville. Mrs. Adey was the former Miss Ida Pitcher of Burgoyne’s Cove. The first Teacher was miss Elma Carberry also of Burgoyne’s Cove. Miss Carberry later married Mr. William Quinton of Princeton. Incidentally, the Teacher at the time was boarded free by the Anglican Families, living a couple of months with each family. This School – Chapel was used until the present Church was opened in 1960.
(The foregoing article was compiled from information supplied by Mr. William Long, Sr.)
St. Mary's Anglican Church in Clarenville Newfoundland and Labrador