The Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery (also referred to as the Church of England Cemetery) is situated off the south side of Lower Street, near Torbay Beach, Torbay, NL. The cemetery contains more than forty headstones, mostly of white marble. The designation includes all the area of cemetery land bounded by fencing at its north, east and west sides, and by a concrete retaining wall at its south end, nearest the beach.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
The Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Torbay due to its spiritual, historic and aesthetic value.
The Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery has spiritual value as the first cemetery of the community’s Protestant population. The cemetery was consecrated by Bishop John Inglis on July 10, 1827, along with the first St. Nicholas Church, which also functioned at the site until May, 1926.
The Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery has historic value as the oldest known cemetery in Torbay. The earliest recorded burial occurred in 1674 to inter the body of a member of a migrant fishing crew, while the last burial was performed in June, 1967.
The Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery also has historic value because its gravemarkers contain historical or genealogical-type information. The 46 extant markers record Torbay’s Anglican parishioners surnamed Thorne, Codner, Eustace, Tapper, Cole, Whitten, Redmond and Woodfine and dates of death from 1861 to 1967. The Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery is also associated with two historic shipwrecks off Torbay, as the bodies of crew members from the William (1805) and the Spray (1869) were buried there.
The Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery has aesthetic value due to its location very near the community’s main beach in an historically densely settled area, and due to its physical elements. The gravemarkers amongst its grassy typography are in styles and materials typical of the 1860s to 1960s. Most are tablet types, followed by column forms. The majority are white marble, with the exception of three grey marble ones and three granite ones. A number bear the marks of their carvers, including Chislett, Cook, Reid, McIntyre, Muir and Skinner. Approximately half are on family grave plots, about a quarter of which have plot boundaries, mainly of concrete, although there are two iron fences and two wood fences. All these elements combine to make the cemetery a distinctive cultural landscape feature at the historic centre of Torbay.
Source: Town of Torbay Regular Council Meeting Motion 173-07 July 16, 2007.
Character Defining Elements
All those elements that reflect the age, function and historic value of the site, and which contribute to its aesthetic value including:
-all extant gravemarkers;
-the preponderance of period carved and inscribed white marble gravemarkers;
-all extant plot boundary markers of concrete, wood and iron fencing;
-grassy topography, and;
-the cemetery’s location in the community.
Location and History
Town of Torbay
1670 - 1967