New Providence District Bahamas
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
The Saint Mathew's Anglican Episcopal Church is the oldest building standing in New Providence today and has an interesting history.
The foundation stone was laid in 1800 after the Legislative Council passed an Act to build a church in the "East". The contractor was Mr. Joseph Eve who built the edifice for more than seven thousand pounds. It was erected without steel reinforcements, which explains the enormous pillars and its unusually thick walls.
The windows were designed in the early Romanesque style and were strategically placed to take advantage of the breeze from the northern side. Two columns support the semi-circular arches of the roof. The steeple was erected in 1816 and remains as built to this day. The bottom was originally used as a depository for books.
The first Rector was Rev. Henry Groombridge who arrived in 1802 and died in 1804. He conducted the opening service on July 18, 1802. The Rev. Robert Carter preached the sermon. Rev. William Strachan was the first live-in rector; his quarters were given to him in exchange for teaching Latin & Greek to New Providence students. Rev. Richardson Saunders' ordination by Bishop Courtney was the first ever held in Nassau. Father Donald Knowles became Rector in 1951 and the first Bahamian Archdeacon.