Charlestown-Nevis- Canon Dr. B. H. Alson Percival, was his usual ‘calm, cool and collected’ self, as he expounded on the historical details of the St. John’s Anglican Church, otherwise known as ‘FIG TREE CHURCH.’
The information was requested of him, through the initiative of Community Development Officer for the St.John’s Parish, Miss Malva Rawlins, who was using the focus on the historic Anglican church as her center piece for her Community development month of activities, which will also include an open day at the Brown Hill Community Center.
According to Dr. Percival, there is evidence to show that there was an original wooden building prior to the construction of the beautiful stone structure now evident, which was skilfully crafted by slaves in 1680.
One of the wings of the original building housed a Primary school for the ST.John’s area, prior to the construction of the now Ivor Walters and Elizabeth Pemberton Primary schools.
He was also happy to indicate that the reason for so many stops by Taxi drivers and visitors to the island, is for the visitors to view the marriage certificate of Admiral Horatio Nelson and Fanny Nisbett, who although they were married under a silk cotton tree at Montpelier Estate, a copy of their marriage certificate is carefully stored at the church. He was quick to point out that the original document is safely secured at his office in Gingerland.
He also noted that proposals to make digital copies of the document were not approved, for a variety of reasons and the decision was made to keep the certificate in its original form.
In terms of accessibility to the church building for persons to view the document, Dr. Percival regretfully informed that the church building is no longer left open all day, as was previously the case, due to the fact that persons unknown stole speakers and other items from the church.
However, whenever taxi drivers and visitors need to gain access to the church, they can make contact with him and he will make the necessary arrangements for the church to opened.
The parish priest also spoke about the many old tombs in the parish cemetery, some dating as far back as 1729. He noted that there is available space to last a number of years yet.