Wilmot Church Carved Wooden Hand

Awarded in 2007
Wilmot Church Carved Wooden Hand

When Fredericton's Wilmot Church opened for divine service on December 19, 1852, its crowning feature, literally, was a gilt hand with a four foot index finger pointing heavenward. The thumb also pointed up, while the other three fingers pointed down. The hand topped a tall spire rising from a 16-foot-square tower that included a belfry and eight gothic windows surmounted by pinnacles and finials. Fashioned from a log of White Pine by a woodcarver named Edward Charters, the hand measured 22 inches across the knuckles. It was the tallest object in the city for many years, and a familiar landmark. The hand and the steeple finally had to be removed in 1974 because of their deteriorated condition, but the hand is still preserved inside the church. At least four other churches in North America created symbolic hands for their steeples, but Wilmot Church is believed to have been the first.