Sunday, 30 October 2016

Church Of The Good Shepherd, Hadspen

An Anglican church was planned for Hadspen in the late 1850s. Thomas Reibey had WG & E Habershon of London draw up plans in 1857.The building's design was based on St Mary's parish church, Lutterworth, England.It was designed in an early English style with blue ironstone walls, and freestone dressing and reliefs. The nave was 37.5 feet (11.4 m) long, the chancel 17 x 15 feet and the entrance was through a 40-foot (12 m) tower with a 24-foot (7 m) spire.

The foundation stone of "The new Episcopalian Church" or "The Reibey Church" was laid on 23 December 1868. Construction, estimated to cost 1000 pounds, began with locally sourced stonework by Robert Sleightholm, whom Reibey met on a ship from England. Reibey was funding all of the construction costs.

When the structure was mostly complete a scandal erupted around him. He was alleged to have indecently dealt with a married woman. Her husband raised the issue with the bishop, then in 1870 with no action by the Church again with the Church of England Synod in England. Reibey subsequently took libel action but his complaint was dismissed and the Jury largely held that the allegations against him were true.

Apart from these allegations, Reibey's wife's health had been declining, his property had been declining in value, and he wrote that he had been considering relinquishing the Archdeaconship for a while. After only a few years the lack of funds provided left only one person working on the site. All work ceased in 1870, by which time the walls were unfinished and the building still lacked a roof. Though the church was incomplete both Reibey and his wife Catherine were buried in a graveyard at the building's rear.

The church remained incomplete for over ninety years. By 1957 Anglican services were being held in St Stephens, a wooden church next to the apparent ruin. Around this time some in the church showed interest in completion of the old structure, partly due to the approaching centenary of construction beginning. In April of that year a gathering of people from the Parish of Carrick was held in the unfinished building, and a prayer held to bless its completion. The gathering, and associated committee, were led and chaired by W R Barrett, assistant bishop of Tasmania.

The original architects' plans had been preserved—though they were close to disintegration—and were largely followed in the subsequent construction work. A Launceston builder was contracted for the work, though much, including flooring was performed by volunteers. Work was completed at an approximate cost of 8000 pounds, and the church was finally completed on 20 May 1961, with the first service held the following day.

Some furnishings in the church came from Entally's Chapel including the altar and coverings, a wooden cross, symbolic paintings and a bell now hung in the church's porch. The bell, formerly in St Stephens in Smithton, carries the inscription "Kains 1817" and probably comes from the whaler "Kains" which was wrecked in 1835. A stained glass window at the rear of the church originated in Entally's chapel, and spent time installed in another nearby Church. It shows the crucifixion of Jesus and the Good Shepherd.

The Church is a Gothic Revival design and somewhat scaled down from the original plans, the nave was built 10 feet (3.0 m) shorter, with some changed elements such as the entrance being built in stone on the west side rather than wood on the south. The church was finally consecrated in February 1973.

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