In June of 1865, construction of All Saints’ building began. The design was the work of architectural firm, Gundry and Langley. Masonry and carpentry contracts were awarded to local contractors Thomas Deverill and William Barnes, respectively. Both builders have extensive history in Whitby.
Notably William Barnes’ son, Robert, was contracted to restore the church after the August 1927 fire. A window on the west wall nearest to the narthex doors is dedicated to the father and son.
Anecdotal evidence indicates there must have been a ceremonial laying of the cornerstone in 1865. Notes about the Barnes window by former All Saints’ archivist Tom Grey tell us “William Barnes built the viewing stand for the laying of the Corner Stone on June 29th. 1865,” and the 1865 Financial Statements of the Building Committee (see above) record a $24.50 incidental expense for “laying Corner Stone.”
In times past, the cornerstone was the principal stone placed at the corner of an edifice. It was usually one of the largest, the most solid, and the most carefully placed. It was critical that the cornerstone be level and squared true so that all the other stones could be set from it.
While we can no longer see the cornerstone of our church building, we can be assured that it is there and that the foundation of our church has been true and solid for many generations, and will be for many more generations to come. And so, we give thanks for the builders of this church, past and present.