Winter 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 1 NonfictionFebruary 13, 2023 |

The Bell(s) of St. Alban’s

I. St. Alban’s, the Anglican church in Squid Tickle, Newfoundland, was built in 1934, in the depths of the Depression. It replaced the small wooden building that had served as both the chapel and the community school, which in turn had replaced another building that had burned down, along with the rest of the town, in the Great Fire of 1912. The church is a large and impressive building for such a small village, even for a time when Squid Tickle’s population was ten times what it is now. It was built to hold two hundred parishioners, and at one time apparently did. It sits on the high road overlooking the harbor, its white clapboard siding contrasting dramatically with the red asphalt shingles that sheathe its steep roof and the tops of its buttresses. Its tall, thin steeple, flanked by four smaller turrets, rises higher than any building in the town, and it is, like churches everywhere along this coast, marked on navigational maps as a landmark for ships. Inside, tall, na

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Photo of Robert Finch
Robert Finch has published eight collections of essays, most recently The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk on Cape Cod’s Atlantic Shore (Norton, 2017), and is coeditor of The Norton Book of Nature Writing (Norton, 2002). Since 2005 he has broadcast a weekly radio essay, “A Cape Cod Notebook,” on WCAI, the local NPR station in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017. Finch is the author of Summers in Squid Tickle, forthcoming from W. W. Norton, in which “The Bell(s) of St. Alban’s” appears in somewhat different form.

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By Diane Mehta

I. St. Alban’s, the Anglican church in Squid Tickle, Newfoundland, was built in 1934, in the depths of the Depression. It replaced the small wooden building that had served as […]

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