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St. John the Evangelist Cemetery Municipal Heritage Site

Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/03/06

View of St. John the Evangelist Church with cemetery in foreground. Photo taken July 2006.; Kim Barnes/ HFNL 2007
St. John the Evangelist Cemetery and Church
Photo of St. John the Evangelist Cemetery with church in left corner. View looking east, photo taken October 2006.; Kim Barnes/ HFNL 2007
St. John the Evangelist Cemetery
Photo of St. John the Evangelist Cemetery with church in the background.  View looking west, photo taken 2004.; Deborah O'Rielly/ HFNL 2007
St. John the Evangelist Cemetery and Church

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. John the Evangelist Cemetery Municipal Historic Site is an early 19th century cemetery located off Spruce Hill Road, Topsail, next to the historic St. John the Evangelist Church. The designation is confined to the cemetery boundaries, defined by a fence which encompasses the perimeter of the property.

Heritage Value

The St. John the Evangelist Cemetery was designated a Municipal Heritage Site because it has historic and environmental values.

St. John the Evangelist Cemetery has historic value because it was the first Anglican cemetery in the region. The cemetery developed around St. John the Evangelist Church, a Registered Heritage Structure. The Church was consecrated on June 18, 1861, and the first burial occurred twelve days later. The cemetery has been used since this date, making it the longest, continually used Anglican cemetery in Conception Bay South.

St. John the Evangelist Cemetery holds further historic value because it exists as a genealogical record of the Anglican population of the region. The oldest grave markers are located closest to the church building and these graves hold the remains of early Anglican families of Topsail. Some of the family names represented in the cemetery include Barnes, Mercer, Metcalfe, Parmeter, Hiscock, and Squires, names still widely recognized in the region today. Further, Topsail was once a popular location for the summer homes of St. John’s elite and these summer residents were actively involved in the local parish, erecting many of their summer homes in close proximity to the church and cemetery. Sir Edgar Bowering, a merchant, politician, and benefactor of Bowering Park, St. John’s, is laid to rest in the cemetery as well as James Bancroft, who was one of the founders and the first president of the Newfoundland Teachers Association, 1890.

St. John the Evangelist Cemetery has environmental value because of its location. The cemetery is situated next to an historic church and in an area in which many other heritage properties are situated, including the Hermitage Registered Heritage Structure. The cemetery boasts a splendid view of Conception Bay and has many mature trees and native flora and fauna.

Source: Town of Conception Bay South, regular council meeting March 6, 2007 #07-096

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements which represent the age, natural environment and sacred function of the cemetery, including:
-a variety of carved headstones and grave markers belonging to a number of historic local persons;
-original memorial stones and monuments, with their surviving inscriptions;
-the unimpeded view of Conception Bay;
-location, orientation and dimensions in relationship to the church; and
-siting in historic area of town.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1861/01/01 to 1861/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Conception Bay South Heritage Advisory Committee, 106 Conception Bay Highway, Conception Bay South, NL, A1W 3A5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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