ST. PAUL’S, HER MAJESTY’S ROYAL CHAPEL OF THE MOHAWKS
Few southern Ontarians will forget the much-publicized and politicized Cayuga road blockade by First Nations protestors of a few years back. Nancy’s Historic Site blog visit to a tiny historic chapel just south of Brantford will help unravel what the brou-ha-ha was all about. Read on………..
The commencement of the American War of Independence saw the Mohawk band, led by Chief Joseph Brant peacefully co-existing with American colonists along the Mohawk Valley in upper New York State.
Brant was fiercely loyal to the British crown and greatly indebted to Queen Anne, the British sovereign. She’d provided funds to build for them a little chapel on their beloved American lands. On its completion, she’d presented Brant with a Bible, a silver Communion Service and prayer book.
Now, all stood to be lost in war. Brant, wise and infinitely courageous led his band into Upper Canada. Afraid that Queen’s Anne’s Bible, Communion Service and Prayer Books would be confiscated along the way, Brant buried them in a field, safe from “grubby” Yankee hands.
On their arrival in the fertile lands along the Grand River in the British colony, and in thanks for Brant’s loyalty, the new monarch, King George III, granted his people 760,000 acres of land.
A new chapel was one of Brant’s first building projects and in 1785, little St. Paul’s, Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks took shape. Now, to recover the religious artifacts, still hidden deep below the ground in “enemy territory.” And while the details of this clandestine effort remain lost to history, Queen Anne’s Bible, the silver Communion Service and Prayer Books were recovered.
A reverential appreciation of Canada’s history pervades from the moment the visitor steps inside St. Paul’s. Constructed of square-cut virgin timber, it’s modest in size and ornamentation. Eight stained glass windows, each telling a story in Six Nation’s history remain its only “glamour.”
Queen Anne’s gifts to Brant’s people remained an integral element of Sunday worship until 1970. Visitors can still view them, now safe under glass.
A volunteer from Six Nations is on hand to answer questions and tours can be provided.
History lives outside St. Paul’s too. Brant’s tomb is located on the grounds, a perpetual reminder of the role he played in the early years of Ontario. At the rear of the Chapel, visitors can stand on an observation deck to view the original “ox-bow” in the Grand River. Here St. Paul’s congregation once disembarked from their canoes to attend Sunday service.
St. Paul’s, Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks was designated, by Canada’s Historic Sites and Monument’s Board as a National Historic Site in 1981.
And as for that 760,000 acres granted by the British Crown to Joseph Brant? The Six Nations people still consider that land is theirs. Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it!!!
The Chapel is open to the public from May to October.
Sunday services are held during these months at 10:30 a.m.
It’s located at:
301 Mohawk St.
Six Nations of the Grand River Territory,
Brantford, Ontario N3S 7V1