|City of Hamilton
Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum - War of 1812
64 Sulphur Springs Rd. (map)
Ancaster, Ontario L9G 1L8
Hours of Operation
Exhibits and archives:
Open Tuesday to Saturday 1 pm to 5 pm or by appointment.
Guests are welcome to wander through the gardens any time.
Closed Mondays, Good Friday, Canada Day (July 1), and Christmas Day through New Year’s Day.
- $3.50 Adults (18-59)
- $3.00 Seniors (60+)
- $3.00 Students * (13-17)
- $2.50 Child (6-12)
- FREE Infant (5 and under)
- $10.00 Family **
* Student = 13-17 or with valid student ID
** Family = two adults and dependant children under 18
The Bloody AssizeIn June of 1814, the harsh sentence against 15 men convicted of High Treason was read aloud to a hushed courtroom at the Court of Assize in Ancaster, Upper Canada: “You are to be drawn on Hurdles to place of execution, hanged by the neck but not until dead, cut down while alive and your entrails taken out and burnt before your faces, your heads cut off, bodies divided into four quarters, heads and quarters to be at the King’s disposal”.
On July 20, 1814, eight were executed at Burlington Heights (where Dundurn Castle now stands). The remainder were exiled.
No battles were fought in Ancaster during the War of 1812. But the execution of these men marked the first citizens in Canadian history to be executed for treason. Their reasons for disloyalty, and the military's determination to execute them because of it, speak to a much broader battle for the hearts and minds of Canadians which reverberates today.
The Bloody Assize of Ancaster and the divided loyalties of many of the so-called Late Loyalists in Upper Canada from whence it sprang, still clouds our historical judgment, and can still bring us to argument and debate.
On one hand, many civilians avoided active cooperation with the military. Frequent militia desertions, the aiding of American raiders, and the participation of disloyal Canadians in American raids needed to be checked.
On the other hand, many civilians were fed up with domineering British military personnel. Many loyal citizens had, nevertheless, refused to provide provisions to provincial defenders because of the indignities suffered at the hands of their own soldiers.
Martial law was declared. Habeas corpus was suspended, and citizens could be arrested and tried on suspicion, without evidence being produced beforehand. The results of this dark period culminated in the Ancaster Bloody Assize.
Exhibit: Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum presents Noose, Knife and Fire: The Bloody AssizeThis exhibit will explore Ancaster's experience during the War of 1812, highlighting the Bloody Assize. Cross-border ties of many in the community at that time and the controversial nature of divided loyalties, as well as the destruction and disruption caused to local farms and families. Watch video produced by Inside City of Hamilton - presented on YouTube
Regular admission hours and rates apply
More Events at Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum
The 2012-2014 Bicentennial of the War of 1812 will mark the 200th anniversary of significant military activity in Hamilton. The City of Hamilton will mark the War of 1812 Bicentennial with commemorative events and activities. Visit this site often for event information.