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St. Margaret of Scotland Pioneer Cemetery

Bear Shore Road, St. Margarets, Prince Edward Island, C0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/07/21

Showing overview of cemetery; St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, 2008
Showing overview of cemetery
Showing examples of stones; St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, 2008
Showing examples of stones
Map of the St. Margaret's Parish; Meacham's Illustrated Historical Atlas of PEI, 1880
Map of the St. Margaret's Parish

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/07/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This pioneer cemetery is located in the rural community of St. Margaret's along the north shore of the Island in eastern Kings County. It consists of a variety of early Island sandstone and marble gravestones, as well as unmarked graves. The site measures approximately 200 by 400 feet and is surrounded by an old stone wall.

Heritage Value

The cemetery is valued for its historical association with the early Scottish settlers who founded the Parish of St. Margaret's in the early 19th century.

The community was settled in the 1790s by several Scottish Roman Catholic familes which included: MacEachern, MacIntyre, MacCormack, MacPhee, MacIsaac, MacDonald, MacInnis, MacAulay, MacIntosh, MacKenzie, and MacVarish.

The first parish church was established in 1803 and was named for St. Margaret (c. 1045-1093), the second wife of Scotland's King Malcolm III of the Canmore dynasty. Her uncle was Edward the Confessor, the Anglo-Saxon King of England. During her life, Queen Margaret was known for her piety and attention to the plight of the poor. Her son, King David I, built Scotland's Dunfermline Abbey (1072) in her honour. She was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1250.

The pioneer cemetery was established in 1805 with the blessing of the Bishop of Quebec who was then responsible for the administration of the parishes in Prince Edward Island. It then served a large area on the northshore from East Point to St. Peters. The earliest recorded burial was that of Angus MacAulay in 1806. It remained in use until 1895 when a new cemetery was established after the church was moved.

The cemetery is surrounded by an old stone wall and contains approximately 120 remaining stones which are both marble and sandstone. Many of these have fallen over or are in need of repair. Many have interesting motifs and inscriptions. One of the more famous interments in the grounds is that of John MacKintosh (1790-1881). He was an important politician in Island history who agitated on behalf of the tenants of PEI in their struggle to own their own property. He supported the Escheat movement led by William Cooper (1786-1867) and mediated between the tenantry and the government during the Naufrage Riot of 1834. He was also an early advocate of aboriginal and Acadian rights. His stone inscription says "he was for several years a member of parliament and one of the pioneers of Responsible Government."

When the province was celebrating its centennial in 1973, the cemetery became the focus of a restoration project. It was rededicated in a ceremony held in October 1974 with the Hon. Bruce Stewart, the provincial minister responsible for Health and Vital Statistics, presiding.

In recent years, the cemetery has again suffered from neglect. However, a local group has taken the initiative to restore the site which is a valuable source of local and provincial heritage. Again, the grounds will be restored and the history of the site documented. It remains an important genealogical resource for many who can trace their ancestry to the parish of St. Margaret of Scotland.

Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4320-20/S3

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the cemetery is shown in the following character-defining elements:

- the variety and style of the sandstone and marble stones
- the inscriptions on the stones
- the stone fence which surrounds the cemetery
- the potential unmarked graves
- the location of the cemetery in the Parish of St. Margaret's



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

Province of Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute

Heritage Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Designated Historic Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4320-20/S3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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