Stamps celebrating the centenary of the dedication of St Mary's Anglican Church.

100th Anniversary of St Mary's Church

Issue date: 7th July 2023

100th Anniversary of St Mary's Church, 45p 100th Anniversary of St Mary's Church, 50p
100th Anniversary of St Mary's Church, £1.60 100th Anniversary of St Mary's Church, £2.00p
202308 Mint Stamps (45p, 50p, £1.60, £2.00) £4.55
202309 First Day Cover (with 45p, 50p, £1.60, £2.00 stamps) £5.75

100th Anniversary of St Mary's Church: First day cover

On 8th July 2023 we celebrate 100 years since Tristan's Anglican Church was dedicated to St Mary the Virgin.

In the beginning William Glass instituted daily prayer and Sunday public worship. Later services were held in Andrew Hagan's house, as it was the largest in the settlement.

The first priest to be sent to the island, by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) was Revd. William F. Taylor, who arrived on 5th September 1851. After Taylor came Edward Heron Dodgson, brother of Lewis Carroll, who was determined to build a church. He gathered stones and started to build, but the progress was so slow he decided to use the stones for a cemetery wall instead. Dodgson's successor, John Graham Barrow, marked out a site, which was not used. It was not until the arrival of Revd. Henry Martyn Rogers, the fourth priest, that the church was finally built.

Revd. Rogers called all the men for a meeting in June 1922 and they decided to start building as soon as winter was over. The foundations were laid for a church 50 feet x 14 feet by the end of October. Under the foundation stone a small box of silver coins was buried. Dodgson's stones were fetched from the cemetery to be used on the church. "HMS Dublin visit made it possible to complete the church as amongst the stores they sent were timber, roofing, window glass, ironmongery and tools" – Mrs. Rogers (Lonely Island).

By 5th July 1923 the church was finally completed and was solemnly dedicated to St Mary the Virgin on 8th July. "Everyone felt a personal pride in it," says Mrs. Rogers, "because everyone had done his share to get it completed."

The Lectern Bible and harmonium had been bought by Revd. Barrow. The altar had seasonal frontals and a crucifix from Oberammergau (given by a lady in England). Stations of the Cross were framed and hung on the church walls. The tiny stone font that washed ashore when Revd. Dodgson arrived is still used in the church today. Two ship's bells were recovered from the wreck of the Mabel Clark (1878). They were initially hung at either end of the settlement, but were transferred to St Mary's Church when she was built.

The first baby to be baptized in the new church was Wilson Glass, and sisters Violet and Dorothy Glass, who married Willie Lavarello and Ned Green in July 1924, were the first couples to be married in it.

Over the years there have been further developments. In March 1929 a harmonium arrived aboard the tourist ship Duchess of Atholl, a gift from the Queen. Revd. Partridge (1927-33) lengthened the church and painted the East End in bright colours, still a feature of the church today, and Revd. Dennis Wilkinson (1949-52) extended the church on the south side, using cement pillars to support the roof.

More recently, a wooden bell tower was added during the chaplaincy of Keith Flint (1963-66), a new corrugated aluminum roof was put on in 1970, the church was extended and redecorated in 1990/91 and the vestry extension was completed in 2002. The ship's bell that hung in the bell tower was damaged in the 2001 hurricane and was replaced with a new bell in August 2003.

In 1952, Tristan was transferred from the Diocese of St Helena to the Diocese of Cape Town, although its priests continued to be sponsored by SPG until 1981. Islander Lorna Lavarello-Smith was ordained into the priesthood in 2013 and assisted with services during her visit to the island in 2017. In 2019 Revd. Margaret Van den Berg was the first woman to take up full time ministry at St Mary's Church.

Description of the Stamps

45p - Revd. R. C. Pooley standing outside St Mary's Church, 1929 (from image distributed by SPG)

50p - St Mary's Church pictured in 1929 (from image distributed by SPG)

£1.60 - St Mary's Church pictured in 2023

£2 - The altar pictured in 2023

FDC - The stone font that was washed ashore from the schooner Edward Vittery, which ran aground after the Revd. E.H. Dodgson had been landed.

Technical Specifications from Pobjoy Mint Ltd.

Designer:Andrew Robinson Stamp size:30.6 x 38mm
Printer:Cartor Security Printing Perforation:13 x 13¼ per 2cms
Process:Stochastic Lithography Layout:10
Production Co-ordination:Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd