Newcastle Pastoral Charge is comprised of two churches in the Miramichi City area, Northumberland County, New Brunswick: Maple Glen and Newcastle (St. James and St. John).

Presbyterian:

Subscription list to finish steeple of St James, 1829

Subscription list to finish steeple of St James, 1829

In 1797, when the Rev. James MacGregor visited the Miramichi, the area had its first experience with Presbyterianism. By 1816 a Presbyterian minister was settled in Chatham to serve the whole Miramichi area. While it was still being built, the first Newcastle Presbyterian Church was levelled in the great Miramichi Fire in 1825. When the new church was completed on the site of the first church in 1829, the congregation of St. James Presbyterian Church was organized. The Rev. James Souther was St. James’ first minister. He began his ministry in 1830. When St. James Church was deemed too small in 1855, the pews were re-arranged to give a seating capacity of 584. Initially, the Newcastle Presbyterian parish included outlying areas such as Blackville, Red Bank, Douglastown and Nelson. Eventually, the people in these areas were able to form separate congregations and build their own churches.

Newcastle Methodist Church annual report, 1920Methodist:

Methodism was officially introduced to the Miramichi area by the Rev. John Strong who rode from Fredericton (on horseback) in 1820. In 1830, Rev. Michael Pickles became the first regular Methodist minister to serve the Newcastle area and the first Methodist Chapel was soon built. A new church with a seating capacity of 500 was built by the St. John Methodist congregation in 1866.

St James and St John, Newcastle, 1995

St James and St John, Newcastle, 1995

United Church:

In 1925, the United Church of Canada was formed from the union of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational Churches. The congregations of St. John Methodist Church and St. James Presbyterian Church assented (the latter albeit reluctantly, with many members refusing to join the new church) to participate in this union. In 1929, those communicants, pewholders and adherents of St. James Church who had not agreed to Church Union appealed to the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, objecting to the method of voting on union and attempting to retain the church building. The Court ruled against these “non-concurrents” and it was only at this time that the two congregations became one, the St. James and St. John United church. The former Presbyterian Church became the home of this congregation. A Casavant Freres organ was given to the church in 1919 by Lord Beaverbrook in memory of his father, the Rev. William Aitken, and the bells in the steeple were also given by Beaverbrook in 1945.

Maple Glen has been part of the Newcastle Pastoral Charge since 1925.

The church is surrounded by St. James Cemetery and has been declared a national historic site as it is the burial place of the Honourable Peter Mitchell, Father of Confederation. A fire in 1961 destroyed the hall and caused water damage to registers of marriage, baptism and burials. A new building was opened May 1963.

For a listing of the Newcastle records held by Maritime Conference Archives, click on the following link:

Newcastle Pastoral Charge records listing