HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE ASSESSMENT
St David’s Anglican Church is listed as a Group 1 Heritage Item in the City Plan, and as a Category II Historic Place by Heritage New Zealand (Registration Number 3810). Category II is given to places of ‘historical or cultural significance or value’.
St David’s Anglican Church has historical and social significance as the site of one of the Christchurch’s earliest churches, and a centre of parish life in the present church for over a century. The building also has significance as an indicator of the growth of Belfast in the late nineteenth century.
The first Anglican Church, which also served as a school, was built in c1855 in an area then known as Purarekanui, but which was renamed Belfast in the 1880’s. Known as the Main North Road Church or St Johns, this church formed part of the Papanui Parish for nearly 50 years.
With the opening of the freezing works and other associated industries from the 1880’s however, the population of the district grew and Belfast was constituted a parish with its own minister in 1899. Although the old church was extended around this time, it proved inadequate, and vestryman William Nicholls, proprietor of the Kaputone Wool Scour, provided funds for a new building.
Architect Samuel Hurst Seager, who had designed Nicholl’s own home Spring Grove was commissioned to design the new church, initially proposed to be brick, but constructed in timber because of financial constraints.
St David’s, as it was renamed by parishioners, was opened in 1903 and consecrated in 1912.