National Trust of Guyana

St. Swithin’s Anglican Church

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Location: Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara

Classification: Religious 

Period/ Year Built: Established 1827, rebuilt 1985

Historical Background / Description:

St. Swithin’s Anglican Church is located along the Vreed-en-Hoop Public Road, on the West Coast of Demerara. The church was established in 1827, during this period there was no other church established between Plantation Schoon-Ord on the West Bank and Plantation Hague on the West coast of Demerara. The church began as a society that sent out its members to Christianize both plantation owners and slaves. It however did not have a fixed address and church services were held at a number of locations. Reverend Williams Wickham Harman made a plea to the Head of the Anglican Church in Barbados for a church building. He received an initial subscription of $13,000.00 and after, the Governor of British Guiana, Sir Henry Light along with local organizations made donations for the erection of a church building. 

Work began on designing the church in 1836 and under the stewardship of Reverend John Nibbs Garland, the building was completed in 1838. Upon its consecration, the church was described as a two-storey timber Gothic architectural styled structure. In 1897, a bell tower was added to the building and soon after the church became the head Anglican Church for the West Coast of Demerara. In 1985, the church was rebuilt at an estimated cost of $120,000.00. The new structure was built mostly with clay bricks and timber; it has a length of 25 metres (82 feet) and width of 11 metres (36 feet). Some of the original pointed arch-stained windows from the first church were retained and installed onto the new structure.