A Little Bell with a Rich History

This bell is from a chapel in French Village originally built in 1717 by Father Jean-Baptiste Loyard, a Jesuit priest. He built for the local Aboriginals and named it after himself: “Saint Jean Baptiste”. King Louis XVth of France donated the bell to the chapel. By 1767 the Aboriginals had been killed or fled the area and the chapel was closed. It was reported that the bell ended up in an Aboriginal community 11 miles north of Fredericton. In 1794, Father Ciquart arrived there to build a new church at the Mission of Sainte Anne, Kingsclear to attend to the spiritual needs of the local Aboriginals and Acadians. This new church reportedly inherited the bell of King Louis the XVth. In 1904, however, the church was hit by lightning and burnt down. The church bell was quite damaged by the fire, and as a result it was melted down and cast into small bells that were then sold to help finance the rebuilding of the new church. The top of the bell consists of a small cross which then flares out to a rounded bass. The cross screws on and the bell has a clapper inside.  One side of the Cross  has the inscription “1717”, and on the other side of cross is “1904”.  For this and other interesting artifacts related to the history of the Fredericton area, come down and visit the Museum today!

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