In 1859 the Anglican Diocese of St. Helena was established by Queen’s Order in Council, and included the islands of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, and until 1869 the British residents of Rio de Janeiro and other towns on the eastern seaboard of South America as well as the Falklands Islands. The first Bishop, Piers Claughton, was consecrated in Westminster Abbey in London.
In the 1960s Tristan da Cunha was transferred to the diocese of Cape Town.
On St Helena the Diocese comprises three parishes one of which is St Paul’s which includes St Paul’s Cathedral. I have written separate reviews on a number of other churches within the diocese.
St Paul’s is set in a beautiful rural community at about 650m above sea level, surrounded by fields, woodlands, volcanic craters and valleys. Being close to Plantation House, St Paul’s became the Governors’ church and as such you will see it contains numerous memorial plaques to representatives of the British East India Company and later Governors. Another famous parishioner was Chief Dinizulu, who with his family were exiled, for nine years, to the Island following the Zulu War in 1890. Dinizulu converted to Christianity and was baptised and confirmed by the Bishop at St Paul’s.
The Cathedral was designed by London architect Benjamin Ferrey and completed in 1852. When the Diocese of St Helena was established in 1859 the church was reclassified as a cathedral.
The Cathedral replaces a much earlier nearby church (“the Country Church”) built in the late 1600s and is in a rather plain English style both externally and internally – a plainness which makes it very appealing and worthy a visit. The graveyard contains many interesting gravestones and on a beautiful day like the one I visited it is a great place for a stroll.
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries on my trip to St Helena. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Sandy Bay and the Inebriated Chinese Pig – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my St Helena Introduction entry.