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Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery Municipal Heritage Site

Torbay, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/07/16

A portion of Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery, Torbay, NL as seen from Lower Street, looking towards Torbay Beach, 2006/02/23.; Lara Maynard, HFNL, 2006.
Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery, Torbay, NL.
View of Torbay, NL, circa 1930, including Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery.; Torbay Museum 2007
Torbay circa 1930 including St. Nicholas Cemetery.
View of Lower Street area of Torbay, NL, circa 1919, including Old St. Nicholas Church and Cemetery.; Torbay Museum 2007
Torbay circa 1919 including St. Nicholas Cemetery.

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/10/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery Municipal Heritage Site is situated off the south side of Lower Street, near Torbay Beach, Torbay. The cemetery contains more than forty headstones, mostly of white marble. The municipal heritage 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.

Heritage Value

The Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery (also referred to as the Church of England Cemetery) has spiritual, historic and aesthetic values.

The Old St. Nicholas Anglican Cemetery has spiritual significance 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 significance 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 has historic significance 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 and 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.



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)

1670/01/01 to 1967/01/01

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

Town of Torbay
P.O. Box 1160
1288 Torbay Road
Torbay, NL A1K 1K4

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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