History of our parish

With the appointment of Reverend William Macauley of Kingston as Rector of the Parish of Hallowell by Bishop Mountain of the Dioceses of Quebec in 1821, the story of St. Mary Magdalene began.

An influential individual both in the Church and the community, Macauley served for 47 years during which time the original church (now the County Museum), rectory and curate’s house were located on Church Street between Union and York Streets, all built at his own expense. 

Even though the local population opposed it, preferring the name Fort William, as a testament to his influence, Macauley named the town Picton (created by combining the two communities of Hallowell and Delhi) to honor General Thomas Picton, who died at the Battle of Waterloo. He also donated land for the County’s stately courthouse and donated land to the local Roman Catholics to build their house of worship.

In 1890, a piece of property was purchased on Main Street and the Parish Hall was built where today’s church now stands. In 1913 following the move of the Parish Hall (on rollers!) to its present position at the rear of the property, the cornerstone was laid for the new Church which was dedicated on Ascension Day, May, 1, 1913.

‘A Goodly Heritage’ written by Alan Capon in 1980 serves as a history of the parish. It was based on newspaper articles and Vestry records tracing the history of St. Mary Magdalene from 1764 to 1980. The book presents a remarkable story of service to God and to the community, and one that parallels the fluctuations and fortunes of Prince Edward County. Over the years, beautiful stained-glass windows were added to the building, the donations of the baptismal font, the lectern, chalice and patens, and much more added ‘so much to the beauty, dignity and harmony of our beloved Church (1933; Rev. Louis Barber, quoted in ‘A Goodly Heritage’, p. 96)