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Small church a testament to slave owner's religious faith

By Catholic Online
October 30th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Cottle Church, in the Caribbean islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis is a popular spot for weddings. The small church retains an austere elegance untouched by the disrepair it has suffered in more than 150 years it has stood.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - John Cottle, a onetime president of the island of Nevis, built this tiny church in 1824 as a place where his family and his slaves could worship together. A very lenient slave owner by the standards of the time, Cottle created this Anglican Church, which was never consecrated, as it was illegal for slaves to worship in this area.

The Cottle Church ruins are located north of Charlestown, hidden in the woods. Visitors must find the small sign on the main road just south of the Newcastle Airport and follow the dirt track. The road will lead you back to the church.

The first Reverend of the church was Daniel David. Four year after John Cottle's death, the building fell into disuse. It was then rebuilt by Governor Sir Graham Briggs in the late 19th century, but because of the population decline on the island, the Cottle Church again fell into ruins at the turn of the 20th century.
 
The structure was severely damaged in a 1974 earthquake and again in 1989 during Hurricane Hugo. The stone building, though, still provides a glimpse into Nevis' history. The church underwent some restoration work in 2010 to help stabilize it.

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