First Services: 1819
The first Anglican services in Port Hope were led by the Rev. Joseph Tompson in 1819. He presented the first Confirmation class to Jacob Mountain, first Bishop of Quebec during a service held in Cobourg in a wooden building, which served variously as a court-house and a jail. The original St. John's Church building, (now St. Mark’s) opened in 1822. Between 1822 and 1827, services were held from time to time by the Resident Missionary to Hamilton Township, the Rev. Wm. McCaulay, who was also responsible for St. Peter's Cobourg.
In 1827, the Rev. Alexander Neil Bethune, later Bishop of Toronto, was appointed Rector of Cobourg and held services at St. John's on alternate Sunday afternoons. Depending on conditions, he had to travel by horse wagon, sleigh or boat to fulfill his duties. In 1828 the Church was consecrated and officially dedicated to St. John The Evangelist by Charles James Stewart, second Bishop of Quebec. The Rev. Jonathan Short was appointed Rector in 1836.
Second Building: 1855
As early as 1855 consideration was being given to a new and larger church to be built on the west side of town. At a Vestry meeting held in February, 1865 it was decided to build the new church and a lot was purchased on the corner of Pine and South Streets for $1,800.00. The firm of Gundry and Longley of Toronto were appointed architects to design a church building in the then-popular gothic revival style. Construction began seventeen days after Confederation and was completed in 1869 at a total cost of $18,300.00.
Before the new building was completed the Rev. Jonathan Shortt died. He had been Rector for thirty-one years. The three large east windows (dedicated to St. John), together with the rose windows are memorials to him from the congregation. It was the next Rector, the Rev. Fredrick A. O'Meara, who led the congregation into the new church building on Feb. 6, 1869. Most of the stained glass windows were made in England and are typical Victorian stained glass memorials to various families and individuals prominent in the founding and construction of St. John's.
St. John's Cemetery
St. John’s Anglican Cemetery, immediately south of Union Cemetery, was originally purchased by the Diocese of Toronto in 1853 and was leased to the Church Wardens of St. John’s for 999 years in 1863. On November 19th, 1968, under By-law 254/68, the Corporation of the Municipality of Port Hope acquired ownership of all assets of St. John’s Anglican Cemetery, including 8.4 acres on the west side of Toronto Road with frontage of 260 feet, resulting in 27.2 acres of land with highway frontage of 1,710 feet.
The cemetery is located at 114 Toronto Road, Port Hope, ON, L1A 3S5.
The contact number for the cemetery is 905-885-5459.