Reverend Simon Gibbons
|Reverend Simon Gibbons|
6 September 1851|
Forteau, Newfoundland and Labrador
|Died||12 February 1896(aged 44)|
|Spouse(s)||Frances Eliza DuVernet|
Simon Gibbons is believed to have been born at Forteau, Newfoundland and Labrador, on June 21, 1851 to Thomas Gibbons, a fisherman, and an Inuit woman who died giving birth. According to legend, Gibbons was found as a child on an ice-floe off the coast of Labrador. What is actually known about his childhood, is that he entered the Church of England Widows and Orphans Asylum in St John’s in 1857, at the age of six. In 1860, he entered a school run by the Church of England. In 1862, Gibbons was taken in by Sophia Mountain, lady superintendent of the asylum. Mountain was a widow and in 1867 she married Edward Feild, bishop of Newfoundland. In 1875, Gibbons moved to Quebec. While in Clarenceville he met Frances Eliza DuVernet, daughter of the rector, whom he would later marry.
Gibbons attended King's College at Windsor, Nova Scotia from 1876 to 1877. Gibbons was ordained on February 25, 1877 and became priest the following year. Gibbons was appointed as a travelling missinary in Victoria County on Cape Breton Island. In 1883, he built Saint Peter's and Saint John's Anglican Church in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. In 1885, Gibbons relocated to he parish of Lockeport, Nova Scotia where he served hree congregations. In 1888, he again relocated, this time to Parrsboro where he oversaw the construction of three churches. Gibbons died on December 14, 1896 in Parrsboro, where he was buried.
It is possible that Gibbons went to Cambridge during his visits to England, where he may have encountered the Cambridge Camden Society whose style is clearly seen in the churches that he built. His churches were designed in a simple style, reminiscent of medieval European churches but using wood rather than stone. A distinctive feature of his churches, is the use of Rhenish helm, or Rhineland helmet, bell towers.