Holy Innocents, Mount Peel

The west end and porch

The west end and porch

The Church of the Holy Innocents’ at Mount Peel Station was a gift to the community by John Barton Arundel Acland (1823-1904) and consecrated by his father-in-law, Bishop Henry John Chitty Harper, 30 May 1869. The church is named in remembrance of three infant children who died between 1864 and 1869 and are buried in the churchyard cemetery, among them Barton Dyke Acland eldest son of J. Barton Acland d. 7 Mar 1863 at Mt Peel and Emily Dyke Acland, 2nd dau. of J.B.A. Acland, d. 27 Oct 1864 aged 7½ months. Both Acland and his partner Charles G. Tripp (1820-97) were devout churchmen. They were one of the first runholders in South Canterbury and took up Mt Peel Station in 1855. Tripp later took up the Orari Gorge Station. Bishop Harper conducted services at their homesteads in 1857 and 1858 when he made pastoral tours on horseback accompanied by his son Henry and was escorted by Tripp across the treeless Canterbury plain and the Rangitata River. William Brassington, stonemason, was the chief builder and the builders used greywacke boulders (grey stone) from the Rangitata River bed and limestone brought cross country in bullock drays from Mount Somers and shaped the rocks by hand.

Holy Innocents interior pews

Holy Innocents interior pews

The interior wood is native, pit-sawn at Mt Peel and the alter rails are of knotted totara and black pine with six beautiful memorial windows. Two are of particular note.

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd and The Light of the World were made in commemoration of Henry D. Acland (1867-1942). He was a barrister and president of the New Zealand Sheepowners’ Federation. The window was unveiled on Sunday 16 January 1944. The design is based on a painting by William Holman Hunt at the Keble College Chapel, Oxford. Executed in Dunedin by Robert Fraser.

Faith and Charity

Faith and Charity

Faith and Charity and The Christ Child seated on a rainbow is a fine window executed in Karl Parsons (1884-1934) of Lowndes and Drury, of London.
The window was dedicated 6 May 1920 commemorating Mary D. Lysaght. She died in January 1916. Her husband, Frederick V. Lysaght was the donor. He died on 26 May 1937.

UPDATE: Sadly the Church of the Holy Innocents was badly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake and is for the moment out of commission.


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