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fact, St. Mark’s has literally been scarred by that conflict of long ago. The church, only four years old when war erupted, was pressed into service as a hospital to treat soldiers gruesomely wounded in battle. Surgeons had no recourse but to amputate if lives were to be saved. Deep gouges left by the surgeon’s axe can still be seen in several flat tombstones that served as impromptu operating beds (another explanation, that the marks were made by American soldiers in an attempt to deface the tombstones has little merit; why were the upright stones, so easily broken or removed, not disturbed?). Naturally, the church continued to perform its sacred role as well, and was here that Brock’s funeral service was conducted after he fell at the Battle of Queenston Heights. When the Americans occupied Newark, they pressed the church into service as a barracks and dug rifle pits in the cemetery, the contours of which can still be seen. Later, when they retreated in the winter of 1813, they set the church alight with the rest of the community. Thankfully, the church’s greatest treasure, a vast library of priceless books, survived the fire. How? The church’s first rector was Robert Addison, who arrived in 1792 who brought with him over 1500 books (this at a time when even a middle-class family might have but a few books in their possession due to prohibitive cost). This literary treasure trove survived the fire because they were housed in Addison’s home, Lake Lodge, outside of town. Preserved today in Addison Hall, a climate-controlled room in the church, the books are available to view upon request, and represent the oldest library west of Quebec. The window over the altar also bears a special distinction. Installed in 1840, it is the oldest stained glass window in Canada west of Quebec. Interestingly, a number of symbols on the lower parts are Masonic in nature.

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Niagara on the Lake - Volume 5 Issue 11  

Niagara on the Lake - Volume 5 Issue 11