Historic Place Category 1
Pt Allot E98 Parish of Waiuku East (CT NA757/283), North Auckland Land District
Auckland Council (Franklin District Council)
From 1860 unrest in the area between Auckland and the Waikato increased. In 1861 the newly built church was garrisoned by the male settlers of the district while women and children were placed in safety on a schooner in the harbour. In July 1863 the Maori of the area were ordered to take an oath of allegiance to the Queen and once again the settlers feared war. On this occasion women and children moved into the church before being taken to safety in Auckland.
The church was then stockaded with split-logs set closely against the walls and rifle slits cut through exterior walls. The church became an important military post with as many as two thousand men being camped there.
Other churches in the district - All Souls' Church (Clevedon), St John's (Drury) and St Peter's in the Forest (Bombay) - were also stockaded and acted as havens for the settlers.
After further improvements to the interior of the church in 1884 it was finally consecrated by Bishop Cowie on 22 February 1885.
St Bride's, at Mauku is historically significant because of its use as a refuge for local settlers, and as a stockade and camp site for soldiers during the wars which began in the Waikato in 1863.
St Bride's reflects ecclesiological canons of church design. The fundamental structures of the church are exposed and there are no ceilings to conceal the rafters and trusses. It eschewed plaster and stucco although the exterior was painted white. The church was faithful to other ecclesiological precepts relating to the presence, proportions and placement of the nave, chancel porch and vestry, and the pitch of the roof.
St Bride's with its tall spire, dominates the surrounds from its elevated site. It presents a fine view from the main approach.
Links between the church and others with which Purchas was associated can be seen. It has been suggested that Purchas designed Holy Trinity, Otahuhu (1863). Its design closely resembles that of St Bride's in the placement of the entrance porch with the tower over it. Purchas favoured the tower detached from the nave, and altered St Peter's, Onehunga, to achieve this effect.
Two original oil lamps (now wired for electricity); rifle loopholes; stained glass windows in chancel.
St Bride's is an example of a Gothic Revival church in the Selwyn style. It adheres to the principles laid down by the Ecclesiological Society which believed that a building should be truthful and without pretence. The most influential architect of the Victorian Gothic Revival, A.W.N. Pugin (1812-1852) desired a return to medieval order, and more ritualistic and symbolic forms of worship for which he believed Gothic buildings were best suited. The ecclesiologists followed his teachings. Pugin based his architecture on the precept that there should be no features about a building which were not necessary for convenience, construction or propriety and that ornamentation should consist of enrichment of the essential construction of the building.
Today, the building is lined with horizontal kauri boarding, but it is probable that, in conformity with Ecclesiological precepts, it was originally unlined with the timber framing and trusses exposed.
The church is dominated by its broach spire which is directly above the entrance porch. The steeply gabled roof over the chancel, nave and vestry was originally clad with wooden shingles.
The building has cusped windows with trefoils, arranged in twos, or, on the chancel, in threes. The louvered windows of the belfry also have trefoils. These windows and vents, tower and steep roof together with the vertical board and batten sheathing of the exterior, contribute to the impression of verticality, in keeping with the Gothic ideal that a Christian building should express 'upwardness'.
The external walls still have the loopholes cut in during the military scare of 1863.
- Modification: 1863 (circa)
- Modification: 1884 (circa)
- Modification: 1961 (circa)
- Original Construction: 1861 (circa)
Original puriri block foundations replaced in 1953 by concrete blocks. Totara framing with kauri joists and flooring. Roof structure of scissor trusses and kauri sarking. Roof and spire shingled. Exterior cladding of kauri vertical board and batten. Interior originally unlined, but later clad with horizontal kauri boarding.
- I J Lownsborough. 1961 A History of St Brides Church, Waiuku
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
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