? In the Belfry of St. James

? In the Belfry of St. James




Boys will be boys as they say. Back in 1872 there were a few local lads who played a Halloween trick on the sexton of the Carleton Place Anglican church. On the day pf Halloween the church had some repairs done and was occupied, but ladders that were somehow forgotten still were against the roof and ran up to the belfry.

Halloween that year either fell on a Friday or a Saturday, so obviously the workmen were thinking more of the weekend than their ladders. Anyways the time was close enough to Sunday to give a suggestion to the local boys who were ready to celebrate Halloween. Those were the days when boys thought nothing of dragging a buggy on top of a shed on Halloween, so why tie something to a beam in the belfry. Two boys ascended by the ladders next to the church, cut the bell rope, then tied it to a beam in the belfry.

On the Sunday morning following Halloween a large crowd of boys assembled outside the church before the morning service, while a couple crept into the church to see what would happen when the sexton tried to ring the bell. These boys saw the sexton tug and tug at the rope. The rope did not move. The sexton looked surprised. After a time it dawned on him that something was wrong.

He ascended the bell-tower and there he found out what was happening.. But before the cut rope had been re-tied the congregation had begun to arrive, all asking each other why the bell had not been rung as usual. Some suggested that the Sexton had taken sick. But in due time the facts leaked out. On the next Halloween the sexton stayed in the church. The boys however, did not attempt to repeat their exploit.


St James Timeline

  • 1834-Founding of the Parish & first Church built
  • 1881-Decision was made to replace the original Church (cost of $3,999)
  • 1882-First service conducted in present Church
  • 1892-93-Rectory built at the corner of Edmund & William Streets
  • 1903-Present bell in the tower was installed to replace and earlier one
  • 1903-Casavant pipe organ installed
  • 1903-Oak altar (presently in the chapel) given in memory of Canon Burke
  • 1903-Vault was constructed in southeast portion of clergy reserve
  • 1913-Electricity arrives at St James
  • 1924-Elliott Memorial Hall built
  • 1966-Church wing with offices, washrooms & choir room added to church building
  • 1973-Church organ rebuilt
  • 1975-First major renovation since its erection in 1882
    • New freestanding altar & surrounding altar rail
    • Choir stalls moved from chancel to the transept
    • More participatory liturgy introduced
  • 1977-Old rectory sold & new one built next to clergy reserve
  • 2007-“New” rectory sold & property severed from the clergy reserve
  • 2013-Old church wing removed from church building
  • 2013-New Parish Hall with offices, accessible washrooms, choir room, classrooms created to replace old structure. Joined to church with glass link.
  • 2017-Elliott Memorial Hall sold

Names Names Names of St. James Carleton Place Genealogy



 Friday night October 5- FREE! Donations to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum would be appreciated–

AND it’s on!!! Explore the amusing and ghastly tales of old Carleton Place. Escape into the past as your offbeat guide Linda Seccaspina provides you with an eerie, educational, yet fun-filled adventure. Learn about many of Carleton Place’s historic figures and just like you they walk the dark streets of Carleton Place in search of nightly entertainment, yet, they don’t know that they themselves are the entertainment. Walkabout begins Friday night October 5 at 7 pm in front of Scott Reid’s Office–224 Bridge Street– the former Leland Hotel –and ends at the Grand Hotel. About one hour.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.

  1. relatedreading

    The Ghost Lights in St. James Cemetery

  2. The Shadow People of Lake Ave East

    When the Psychics Came to Town– Madame Monsuer

    Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

    Howls in the Night in Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

    The Devil You Say in Carleton Place? Our Haunted Heritage

    Outside Looking in at The Eccentric Family of Henry Stafford — Our Haunted Heritage

    The Funeral Train That Went Through Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

    Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

    Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

    Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

    Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions! Our Haunted Heritage

    Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

    The Non Kosher Grave — Our Haunted Heritage

    Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling — Our Haunted Heritage

     Could the Giant Pike of Carleton Place Have Turned Into the Lake Memphremagog Monster?

    Carleton Place Was Once Featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Our Haunted Heritage

    Young Hearts Run Free — Warning– Story Could be Upsetting to Some

    Twitching or Grave Dousing– Our Haunted Heritage

    Walking With Ghosts — Morals, Meningitis, and The Manse

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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