The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892.
Church of England
Church of England.
The first clergyman of the Church of England who officiated in Nelson was the Rev. O. Hadfield, now Bishop of Wellington and Primate of New Zealand. The next was the Rev. C. W. Saxton, who came out as a private settler, remained about eighteen months, and returned home. He held services and performed marriages during 1842 and 1843.
But the first regular clergyman of Nelson was the Rev. C. L. Eeay, M.A., who came out with Bishop Selwyn in 1842. He remained in Nelson a few years, then subsequently removed to the North, and worked exclusively amongst the natives.
The Rev. H. F. Butt acted for a time under the Rev. C. L. Reay; he also taught in the Bishop's School in a building on the site where the present school now stands. He subsequently became Incumbent of Christ Church, which he held for some years. Upon the formation of the Archdeaconry of Wairau in 1868, he was appointed to that office, which he held till his death in 1886.
Service was held in a large tent in 1843, given to the Bishop of New Zealand by Mr. William Cotton, Governor of the Bank of England. After that, Divine Service was held in a room used by the surveyors of the New Zealand Company, inside the fort at the summit of the Church Hill. These buildings were removed in 1848, the site having been secured from the Crown.
In accordance with the terms of their original prospectus, the New Zealand Company granted £5000 from the Land Fund for Church of England purposes. This, together with grants from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, formed the original endowment for the diocese.
On Michaelmas Day, 1858, the Right Rev. Edmund Hobhouse, D.D., Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and Vicar of St. Peter's, was consecrated Bishop of Nelson, and arrived early in 1859. Owing to failing health, Bishop Hobhouse resigned in 1864. It was a short Episcopate, but left its mark on the diocese, especially in connection with the liberal donations of a site for the Episcopal residence, and the provision made for replenishing the ranks of the clergy.
Bishop Hobhouse was succeeded by the Right Rev. Andrew Burn Suter, D.D,, Incumbent of All Saints', Mile End, New Town. Dr. Suter was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the 24th August, 1866, assisted by Bishops Tait and Ellicott.
Bishop Suter landed at Nelson on 26th September, 1867, bringing out with him the following clergy:—Venerable Archdeacons Thorpe and Mules, the late Rev. Dr. Harvey, and the Rev. W. H. Ewald, M.A.
In 1890, the Bishop's health began to fail, the result of intense over-application to the work of the diocese, and the training of candidates for Holy Orders. In 1891, Dr. Suter resigned, to the great regret of all classes of the community. Apart from his devotion to his own especial work, he has for years taken a prominent part in every movement for the public good; and he will be long remembered as one of Nelson's foremost and most useful citizens. The Bishop-elect of Nelson is the Venerable C. 0. Mules, M.A., who has been for several years page 170Archdeacon of Waimea, and Incumbent of Brightwater and Waimea West.
The limits of the See of Nelson embrace all that portion of South Island north of the Bivers Hurunui on the East Coast and Terenaakau on the West.
There are three Archdeaconries—Waimea, Wairau, and Mawhera—filled respectively by the Venerables C. 0. Mules, T. S. Grace, and T. B. Maclean.
The number of the Clergy is 22; of the Churches 34, besides school-rooms used for Divine worship. The members of the Church exceed 30,000.
The Cathedral was first erected as a Parish Church; when that was found inconvenient, it gave place to a new building, designed by Mr. Mountfort, of Christchurch, in 1886, and was consecrated by the Bishop of Nelson, in the presence of the Primate, and a representative of his Excellency the Governor, on February 16th, 1887.
Bishop Suter carried on, as already mentioned, from 1868, the training of candidates for Holy Orders. Nearly thirty have passed through Bishopdale College, all of whom have passed the examination of the Board of Theological Studies, and some of them have graduated at the New Zealand University.
The St. Andrew's Orphanage for destitute children, incorporated in 1887, is the latest addition to the Diocesan institutions.
The present Incumbent of Christ Church is the Rev. J. P. Kempthorne; and of All Saints', the Rev. F. W. Chatterton.