When the first Church of England congregation in Gaspé, that is, all Anglicans living around Gaspé Bay, had been gathering for about 20 years at St. Paul's Church in what is now the Town of Gaspé, those who came from the more distant settlements such as Haldimand, Sandy Beach, Peninsula, Little Gaspé, and the Southwest Arm (Wakeham and York today) were beginning to think of building their own churches. It was not very easy or convenient to have to row or sail or drive so far to attend church.
The first congregation to get their plans made and a building underway was Sandy Beach which encompassed Anglicans from Douglastown to Lobster Cove with "Peninsula as an adjunct thereto." By June of 1841 the frame of a church had been erected on or near the site of the present day Sandy Beach church. After a long slow process the building was completed and it was consecrated in 1856.
In the case of the Southwest, there was some opposition to building a church within about three miles of St. Paul's. However, the fact that in York there was a growing population who could cross the river and attend such a church more easily than having to go farther to Gaspé swayed the argument to build St. James' Church, as it was known from the start.
Ellen Boyle who owned a certain field south of the road offered a piece of it as a site for the church. The location was already of special significance as Ellen's sister, Jane Campbell Boyle, widow of Captain William Hall, had died in 1817 and been buried there. A large tombstone with a long, touching inscription, still legible after nearly 200 years, stands south of where the church was built.
Thus a church was begun in 1843. The entrance was probably at the west end and the chancel at the east, as with all the other churches, and people passing on the road could watch the delivery of lumber for sills and the frame, boards for walls and roof and other materials no doubt donated by the landowners, as the