ST. MATTHEW’S CHURCH OF ENGLAND
The church was dedicated on September 24th 1843 by the first Bishop of Tasmania shortly after his arrival in the diocese.
The remains of the founder of the Church of England in Tasmania, the Rev. Robert Knopwood rest in a well tended grave in the church grounds. His grave is marked by a stone monument erected by the daughter of an orphan girl he reared from infancy.
The foundation stone of the church was laid by the first Archdeacon of Van Diemen’s Land, the Ven William Hutchins shortly after Mr. Knopwood’s death at Rokeby on 18th September 1838.
The building of a church for the district was first proposed in 1828 when 100 pounds was subscribed towards the cost. It was not until 1840 that the foundation stone was laid.
The stone for the church which is of Gothic design was quarried near Holmes’ farm with the interior roof being donated by the Stanfield family whose members were among the first pioneers of the district.
The first church organ brought to Tasmania was installed in St. David’s Church in 1825 and in 1858 was presented to Rokeby. The pulpit also came from St. David’s.
Some of the carved chairs in the chancel were made from the timbers of H.M.S.Anson which was one of the original ships of Admiral Nelson’s famous battle fleet.
Designed by James Blackburn the church by 1855 had fallen into disrepair and was thoroughly restored with renovations again being carried out in 1920 and 1952.
Extracted from a pamphlet Historic St. Matthew’s 1843-1953 by B.W.Rait at the time of the Reverend Tom Cloudsdale’s incumbancy
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