National Trust of Guyana

St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

Table of Contents

Reading Progress

Location: Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara 

Classification: Religious 

Period/ Year Built: 1875 

Historical Background / Description: St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church is located on Beterverwagting Main Road and St. Peter’s Street in the community of Beterverwagting which is commonly referred to as ‘BV’. Prior to 1862, there were no catholic chapels / churches on the East Coast of Demerara, but the communities of Plaisance, Beterverwagting, Buxton, Belfield, Mahaica and Clonbrook had what were considered temporary mission stations. In 1864, the Catholics started to erect small chapels in various communities along the East Coast and by 1866 the first Catholic Church was constructed in Victoria. In September 1872, Bishop James Etheridge along with Father Aloysius Casati journeyed to the African community of Beterverwagting to survey a piece of land to determine its suitability to erect a church and cemetery. The land was accepted and on June 29, 1875, the church was opened, dedicated to St. Peter. Sometime in the latter part of the 19th century, a primary school was opened next to the church. 

The bell and its tower were donated by Mr. Francis Faria sometime in the late 19th to early 20th century. Circa 1920, the church underwent rehabilitative works whereby the structure was extended to accommodate an apse and an aisle with Gothic arches between it and the nave. Additional work was done on the building in 1948 which led to the Lady Altar and the altar of St. Teresa being included into the structure. Sometime later, the roof was replaced and in 1974, once again the church was rehabilitated. In 2008, the single-storey timber edifice underwent restoration work which was completed in time for its observance of St. Peter’s feast day on June 29, 2008.