St Anne’s, Pleasant Valley
Built in 1863, St Anne’s is the oldest church in use in South Canterbury. The timber used in the building being matai, kahikatea and totora was felled from the bush behind the church. Originally the roof was of totora shingles. The inside timber rafters and pews still bear the marks of the pitsaw and adze whilst the interior walls are the original clay and tussock pug. The baptismal font and lectern are of excellent workmanship. The work all voluntary by the early settlers including John Huffey.
The photo above shows the porch at the west end of the church, the cemetery is located directly behind the church. “Parson Brown”, Laurence Lawson Brown, conducted services in the community for a decade from 1865. The outside walls are protected by the weatherboards. The church is situated on Pleasant Valley Road, not very far out of Geraldine, towards Fairlie. Nearby is Talbot Forest, Geraldine and matai, kahikatea and totara and native song birds can be seen there.
It was the second church in South Canterbury to be built but is the oldest in use on its original site. This church commemorates the name of Anne, wife of Rev. L.L. Brown. She is buried in the churchyard cemetery. By the 1880s the timber had been cut out in Pleasant Valley so the area’s population decreased and became a farming community. The church was renovated in 1934 with financial assistance from Mrs. Burdon and again in 2005. The outside cob walls are now protected by the weatherboards but those inside remain exposed. The community has continued to support church’s preservation and it is now registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and has a category 2 rating. Over the years the building has been used by various denominations for their services. Today the Anglican Parish hold a service on the fourth Sunday of the month and every quarter hold “District” services at harvest time, mid-winter, spring and Christmas.
Veronica Whall’s first stained glass window in New Zealand “Two Angels in a Vine” which was donated by Mildred Burdon a friend of Veronica Whall’s aunt, Ethel H. Moffat, who the window commemorates is found here. Ethel was a sister of Christopher Whall, a prominent stained glass artist in England.