Our History


We acknowledge that we meet and work in Treaty 1, 2 and 3 Lands, the traditional land of the Anishinaabe, Cree, and Dakota people and the homeland of the Metis Nation. We are grateful for their stewardship of this land and their hospitality which allows us to live, work and serve God the Creator here.


The church is an example of an architectural style known as Gothic Revival, popular in England in the 18th century. The style and layout of St. Andrew’s is an example of what is known as a pre-Tractarian church design. The Gothic design is evident in the windows. The wooden beams for the frames had to be steamed two or three weeks to bend. The same geometric shape can be found on the pulpit, communion rails, lectern and by the choir stalls.The design of the ceiling, however, is in the shape of an inverted York Boat. Most of the men who worked on the church were familiar with the strength and durability of the York boats and knew the design would work well in the ceiling. The wood for the roof trusses, shingles, and floor boards came from the “Far Pines” or what is now Bird’s Hill. The stone for the church came from a quarry on the banks of the Red River a mile or two north of the church. Most of the interior has remained unchanged since 1849 with the exception of the carpeting.

Upon entering the church, one’s eyes fall on the beautiful stained glass window above the altar. This window is in memory of Archdeacon Cockran and was installed sometime between 1875 and 1884. It was brought from England to the Red River Settlement through the United States and from Fort Garry to St. Andrews by Red River cart. The window depicts Jesus calling Andrew and Peter to become “fishers” of men. There is a lot of Anglicanism in the window. The dove represents the Holy Spirit, the font and the chalice represent the two most important rites of the church, the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, and the three circles represent the Trinity.

The baptismal font in the back of the church was a gift from Bishop David Anderson when he consecrated the church on December 19, 1849. The pews are not the originals. One of the original pews can be seen in the tower entrance. Each pew had its own gate and had very straight backs. The floor in the nave is perforated at intervals with square holes into which the original pews were anchored. Our current pews were installed circa 1885. The kneelers are covered with buffalo hide throughout the church. The present hides came from the Winnipeg Police Force’s great coats which were donated to the church and used to recover the kneelers in the early 1960s.

Stained Glass

Memorial Stained Glass

Memorial Stained Glass

Baptismal Font



For several years after St. Andrews was built, the church was lighted by four buckboard wheels. Holes were bored along the rim where each met the rim and buffalo tallow candles were inserted. The wheels were turned on their sides and elevated by means of a pulley system. Later, coal oil fixtures were installed and also used the same kind of pulley system. The church received electricity in 1949 and in 1967 the original coal lamps were restored and electrified. At the back of the main body of the church is one of the original carron stoves. It was made in Falkirk, Scotland and was designed for burning peat. Today our church is heated by two gas furnaces.

Light Fixture

St Andrews Interior

Interior of St. Andrews on the Red

St. Andrew’s Cemetery

The cemetery surrounding the church is steeped in Manitoba’s history. The hardships of plagues such as influenza, diphtheria, typhoid and tuberculosis are revealed as the inscriptions on the tombstones in the older part of the cemetery are read. Many people who played a role in the Red River Settlement and Manitoba’s history are found in the cemetery. These people include Archdeacon Cockran, first missionary and founder of the church; E.H.G.G. Hay, the first leader of Manitoba’s Official Opposition Party in 1870; Alexander Christie, Chief Factor of the Hudson Bay Company; Alexander Lillie, who operated the first successful experimental farm at Lower Fort Garry; Matilda Davis, who ran the Miss Davis School for daughters of Hudson Bay Company officials in the area; and Captain William Kennedy, Arctic Explorer who searched for Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition.


St. Andrews Cemetery


Unmarked graves plaque


Memorial arch


St. Andrews Cemetery

William Cochran

Our Founder – Archdeacon William Cockran (1798 – 1865)

William Cockran was born in 1796 in Northumberland, England. His father was a yeoman and William and his brother were farmers. Little is known of him prior to coming to Red River with his wife Ann and infant son in October 1825. A Scot, he was raised Presbyterian and joined the Church of England as a young man. He was ordained a deacon on December 19th, 1824 and a priest on May 29th, 1825. His knowledge of husbandry and his desire to serve as a missionary made him a prime candidate for the Church Missionary Society (CMS).

He departed for the Red River Settlement one week following his ordination. His main challenge was the evangelization of mixed-bloods migrating from the trading posts of the interior Red River, especially after the amalgamation of the Hudson Bay Company and the Northwest Company in 1821. These half-bloods, native and Orkneymen, settled north of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers and came under the auspices of the Anglican mission.

In 1827, Cockran expanded the farming operations at the Upper Church (St. John’s). He taught the handling and care of farm animals and the planting, harvesting and storing of vegetables and root crops. He acted as administrator and financial advisor and was often called upon to mediate disputes within families and between neighbours.

In 1829, Cockran came to the Lower Church (St. Andrews) and repeated the programme. In 1831, a wooden church, parsonage and school were built at St. Andrews. He expanded the mission and either built or reconstructed the outbuildings, barns, stores and fences. His land grant contained some 400 acres located on both sides of the river. In 1832, he established a school of industry at the Indian School founded by John West and in 1836, Cockran began construction of the first church in the Indian settlement. (The present stone church, St. Peter’s in dyneva was consecrated in 1853.) He held services there during the week. He conducted two services each Sunday at St. Andrews.

In 1844, he started construction of our present stone church at St. Andrews. William Cockran left Red River in 1846 but returned in 1847 to the Upper Church. He was made Archdeacon in 1853 and returned to St. Andrews to take charge of the construction of the new stone rectory. This task took two years to complete. He also built an orphan asylum during this time period for abandoned mixed-blood children.

Cochran's Headstone

St. Matthew's Church

St. Matthew’s Church

The first Anglican church people started to move to the Cloverdale district from “The Rapids”, now known as St. Andrew’s, in the late 1880s and early 1900s. When the families were settled, they wanted to form a church. A meeting was held, an acre of land was donated by the late James Anderson, a carpenter by the name of Albert Bouskill was hired, and construction of St. Matthew’s Church started.

The Anglican men of the district hauled all the building materials and the women held various functions to raise money to help pay the cost. The building was completed and the first service was held in St. Matthew’s on April 19, 1905 when the church was dedicated. The old style pump organ and original cast iron heaters are still there.

The Vestry of St. Matthew’s decided to amalgamate with St. Andrew’s Church in the late 1960s.

St. Matthew’s Church is located at the corner of Hwy. 67 and Pigeon Bluff Road between Highways #8 and #9. A Holy Communion service from The Book of Common Prayer is held on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 2:00 p.m. from April to December. Many of the descendants of the first members still attend. All welcome.

St. Matthew's Church

St. Matthew’s Church

St. Andrews Rectory

St. Andrew’s Rectory – National Historic Site of Canada

The Rectory, across the road from the church, was built to house the ministers at St. Andrews in 1854 and was constructed under the supervision of Archdeacon Cockran who also built the stone church.  It is an excellent example of mid-19th century Red River architecture.  The original rectory was a wooden structure built in 1831 also by Cockran.  The present building underwent many repairs over the years.  Ministers lived at the rectory until 1928 and then two rooms were used as class rooms for St. Andrews School and then as a residence for the Brotherhood of the Cross.  After 1938 the ministers lived in the rectory by St. Thomas Church in Lockport.  The stone rectory was a private home for many years, and in later years became Dunlop’s Museum.


In the 1980’s, Parks Canada took over the rectory and reconstructed it using as much of the original stones as possible.  Once construction was complete ministers from St. Andrews church once again took up residence on the second floor and two back rooms on the main floor with the front two rooms open to the public. Display panels and some artifacts were part of the make-up of these two rooms.  The church was awarded an interpretation contract to relate the history of the rectory, church and the Church Missionary Society.  When Rev. Stephen Sharman retired in 2010, the building reverted back to the sole use of Parks Canada and the contract was not renewed.


In the summer of 2013, Parks Canada made an arrangement to have St. Andrews Heritage Centre move into the building and today it demonstrates the life and contributions of the early inhabitants of this region while maintaining the historical and cultural integrity of the Rectory.


(For more information on the Heritage Centre and its programming please go to  their website at www.standrewsrectory.ca.)


The Parish of St. Andrews Archives contains records of the day to day activities of the Parish, such as special events, some service bulletins, newsletters, records of the St. Andrews Interpretation Committee, which includes St. Andrews Rectory, photos, newspaper articles/history, restoration work and correspondence. For Baptism, Marriage, and Burial records, and records of the Vestry older than 5 years, please contact the Diocese of Rupert’s Land Archives at 204-992-4203 or archives@rupertsland.ca.