St. Paul’s Anglican Church Combermere

Religious Beginnings

In 1878, Anglican inhabitants in the Combermere area had formal worship services only when a traveling minister happened to be in the area. At that time the minister was Reverend M. Gower Poole Br>About 1870, John S. J. Watson of Rockingham was instrumental in establishing that village and in 1871, Rocking could boast of taverns, an inn, stores, two mills, one school, mail delivery and later a wooden church. In 1887, a mission at Rockingham and Combermere was established when the Lord bishop of Ontario visited these tiny communities and confirmed candidates.

On Sunday, September 7, 1883 the first services were held at Combermere with only a few loyal members in attendance. A new church was built about 1884 on land donated to the Synod of the Diocese of Ottawa of Ontario, December 1, 1884 by Elizabeth Hudson, widow of the late John Hudson.

The building is now privately owned, and operated as a venue for performances, weddings, and other special events.

Anglican families

Many of the Anglican families were of Irish English an Scottish descent. Names in the records were Hudson, Dennison, Waddington, Hoare, Parcher, Kelly, Mayhew, Stubbs, Cowan, Rhode, James. Some French descendants such as Bellisle, Porath, were also members


Rev. A, W. MacKay 1883 -1884

The first permanent clergy was Rev. A. W. MacKay in 1883. He served the church needs until 1884. He came to the area in 1882 and served the Mission of Brudenell as the first Church of England clergyman and served both St. Paul’s and Rockingham. churches.

Rev. James Robinson 1884 – 1895

He served the church 1884-1886 and then again Jun 29, 1887 to Jun 1889 and1890 to 1895

Rev. Stiles 1886 -1887

Rev. A. E. Clay 1889 -1890

Rev. Freymond 1895 – 1898

Rev. McCallum 1898 – 1900

Rev. Robert J. W. Turley 1901 – 1903

Robert went from Combermere to Trinity Anglican Church in Ottawa South where he was the parish incumbent from ? He retired in ?

His son Robert was ordained as an Anglican Priest and went to Clayton. He died of leukemia about 1941-1942

Rev. R. H. Archer 1904 – 1911

Rev. Hague (Haig) 1911 – 1912

Rev. C. A. Bender 1922 – 1924

He went to Trinity Anglican Church in Ottawa South

Rev. Howard Sadler 1924 – 1927

He is related to George Sadler, family physician who had a practice at the O’Brien House in Combermere and married Mildred O’Brien

Rev. Freeman 1927 – 1928

Rev. James Samuel King Tyrrell, LST 1928 – 1932

After St. Paul’s James went to ? He was married to Ada ? He retired in Carp. His son John was also a clergyman and served in Gatineau. Before that he went into the army
He was a rector at Navan, Kars and Osgoode

Rev. Robins H. Thatcher, LST 1932 – 1937

After Paul’s Robins went to Eganville and then to New York City. He married Esperance Hope.
He was involved in the USA in rural life ministry
He had two daughters – Allison and Elizabeth. He eventully died in a mental hospital in the USA

Rev. Charles V. Maxwell 1938 – 1942

Charles retired after his tour as incumbent at St. Paul’s. His son was ordained an Anglican Priest in Sault Se Marie in Algoma District. The son married Muriel ?

Charles had several children

Rev. Kenneth Reginald Cowan, BA Aug. 1942 – Oct. 1944

Kenneth was born March 23, 1917 in Hayworden, SK. His father “Tom” Thomas was a barber there. The family came east in 1918 and settled in Ottawa and lived at 5 Ossington Ave., Ottawa South. His mother wqs Amelia Vance. Tom and Kenneth were very active in the boy scouting movement

Kenneth was ordained in 1941 and became an Anglican priest in 1942. He was at Trinity Anglican Church in Ottawa South from May 1941 to September 1942 and in September 1942 he came to St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Combermere and stayed there with his family until 1944.

On October 3, 1942 he married Dorothy Kathleen Jefferson, daughter of Bishop Robert Jefferson of Ottawa

His next parish was St. John’s in Eganville and he stayed there from 1944 to 1950.

In 1950 he moved to the Ottawa area and took on two parishes there – St. Martin’s in Woodroofe and in1955 took over the newly built church of St. Stephen’s where he stayed until 1962. Both of these churches were built while Kenneth was there.

He decided to do something different and moved to Manitoba where he as the incumbent at St. Matthew’s Church in Winnipeg. He stayed there until 1971. In the spring of 1971 he moved back to the Ottawa area and took over Christ Church at Bell’s Corners He retired in the spring of 1984 and took six months off.

After retirement he wanted to continue serving the Anglican congregation and went to Plevna and also looked after Ompah and several other rural community Anglican churches in that area.

From 1988 to1994 he assisted Rev. Roger Young at Trinity Church in Ottawa South.

Kenneth and Dorothy had five children.
1. Terrence Kenneth Jefferson who was born October 17, 1943. He married Mary Keys and together they own and operate the Cove Inn and restaurant in Westport, ON
2. Peter David was born May 11, 1945
3. Collen Mary was born January 26 1948 and resides in Ottawa
4. Philip Reginald was born March 23, 1950
5. Keith Martin was born January 15, 1957

Kenneth and Dorothy presently live in retirement community in Bell’s Corners.

Rev. Leon B. G. Adams Oct 1944 – Nov. 5, 1947

Leon went to Winchester after St. Paul’s. Later he went to Evanston IL, USA and he died there.

Rev. Robert B. MacDonald 1948 – 1953

Robert was an American Citizen. He married ?

Rev. Stephen B. Kenward 1953 – 1956

Stephen came to this parish from ….? He married Muriel / in and they had ? Children Anise and Mary-Rose.

Stephen left Combermere and went to ? And then on to ?

Rev. P. C. Williams 1956 – 1958

Rev. James D. S. Ibbott, B.Sc. Jun. 1959 – Feb. 1963

Reverend J. D. S. Ibbott was ordained in St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Charlottetown, P.E. I. On May 25th 1960 The ordination took place where the ordinate’s father is rector. The service was conducted by Right Reverend Robert Harold Waterman, Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia, for the Bishop of Ottawa.

After St. Paul’s, James went to Manor Park to be incumbent at St. MIchael’s & all Angels. After that period he retired.

Rev. C. David Lethbridge Mar. 1, 1963 – May 15, 1968

David came to this parish in 19? From ? He stayed ? Years and then went on to ?

Rev. William Liberty 1968 – 1971

Rev William Liberty’s last day at St. Paul’s was about Nov. 1, 1971 and from Combermere went to Kazabazua, Quebec. He left after the official re-dedication of St. Paul’s after the fire in 1971 that damaged a considerable part of the church
William passed away about 1985 or 1990

Rev. Captain David Page 1971 – 1972

Rev. “Alex” John Douglas Alexander Dobson 1972 – 1976

Alex was born April 2, 1921 in Codette SK. His father was William Dobson and his mother was Mary Thompson.

Alex’s family grew up attending the United Church. In 1952 he was ordained minister in the United Church of Canada in Toronto., ON

After ordination his first church was at Berlimaque Quebec ( near val D’Or) where he stayed until 1955.

In 1955 he decided to take some time off ministering and went to Kirkland Lake where he taught Algebra in the High Schools there. He then moved to Geeorgetown and taught in a high school there.

On July 10, 1957 Alex married Hilda Brynton in Mexico City, Mexico. She was from St. John’s Newfoundland

Alex then decided to go back into the ministry and was ordained in the Anglican faith in Hamilton Cathedral , Hamilton, ON

His first charge was St. Paul’s Anglican Church in St. Catherine’s, ON where he was an Assistant Curate. From here he moved to Arthur, ON and Grand Valley (Orangeville) and looked after Grace Church in the former from 1967 to 1971 and Holy Trinity in the latter

In 1971 Alex wanted to do some more religious studying and went to St. Paul’s University in Ottawa for a year.

In 1972 he came to St. Paul’s in Combermere where he stayed until Nov. 2 1977. He had 4 ½ churches to look after while in Combermere – Whitney, Madawaska, Barry’s Bay, Comberme and in a house in Bell’s Rapids – sometimes the home of Walter Watson.

In 1977 he moved to Winchester where he ministered at St. Mathias until 19? At he same time he also had two other churches – Holy Trinity in Chesterville and St. Peters in South Mountain.

In 1986, Alex retired from Winchester and occasionally preached part time in Kanata, Osgoode, Carp and assisted at South March for five years.

Alex and Hilda are presently retired and live in Bell’s Corners.. Alex and Hilda had three children:
1. Jennifer who was born in 1958. She lives in Ottawa
2. Anglela was born in 1960 and is an Optometrist in Bedford, NS
3. David was born in 1965. He lives in Ottawa and is a ship designer and has two daughters.

Some of his hobbies include going to the NAC and other theatre events, gardening, men’s club, and taught religion for 5 years in the Barry’s Bay public school

Rev. John Hilton 1977 – 1978

Rev. Archie Hunter 1978 – 1982

Rev. Dana Johnson 1982 – 1986

Dana married a Catholic gentleman. Currently she resides in Stoney Creek, ON

Rev. Bruce Roberts 1986 -1991

Rev. Jim Roberts May 1, 1991 – Mar. 1, 1996

After St. Paul’s, Jim went to Metcalfe, Greely and Vernon Anglican churches where he was Parish Priest for 1 ½ years. From there he went St. John’s Church in Smiths Falls, where he sill is incumbent to-day.

Rev. Rita Harrison 1996 – 1998?

Rita needed a break after being at St. Paul’s for only a couple of years. She went out west after St. Paul’s

Rev. Carolyn Langford 1998? – present

Carolyn was a veterinarian before she went on to obtain her religious training in the Anglican faith