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Old Roman Catholic Cemetery Municipal Heritage Site

St. Pauls, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/10/22

View of the Old Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. Paul's, NL.; 2009 Town of St. Paul's
Old Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. Paul's, NL
Headstone from the late 1800s in the Old Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. Paul's, NL.; 2009 Town of St. Paul's
Old Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. Paul's, NL
View of St. Paul's Heritage Trail, which passes by the Old Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. Paul's, NL.; 2009 Town of St. Paul's
Old Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. Paul's, NL

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/07/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Old Roman Catholic Cemetery is located adjacent and east of the Old Anglican Cemetery, along St. Paul’s Heritage Trail, just off the west side of the highway at St. Paul’s. It is a grassy, fenced cemetery on a flat area of land containing more than twenty gravemarkers of wood, granite and marble. The municipal heritage designation includes all the fenced area of cemetery land, and the gravemarkers and grave plot boundaries within it.

Heritage Value

The Old Roman Catholic Cemetery has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of St. Paul’s because of its historic, aesthetic and spiritual values.

The Old Roman Catholic Cemetery has historic value for its association with St. Paul’s early settlers, and with the Benoit/Bennett family in particular. All of the extant, legible gravemarkers at the cemetery record the Bennett surname. The closest thing to an exception is the 1887 gravemarker of Caroline Amelia Benoit Payne – but her maiden name, Benoit, is the earlier form of the anglicized surname Bennett. The Benoit family was a founding family of St. Paul’s, reportedly beginning with Charles Benoit, a Mi’kmaq from St. George’s Bay who settled there as early as the 1850s and married Rebecca Hutchings, daughter of the community’s very first settler, Elias Gifford. The family eventually became known as Bennett and most of them over the years were Roman Catholic, while the majority of the community’s population were Anglican.

The cemetery also has historic value as one of the oldest known cemeteries in St. Paul’s, in use as a burial ground by at least the 1880s and quite possibly earlier.

The cemetery has further historic value because its gravemarkers contain genealogical type information, and because they may be considered artifacts. The extant, legible gravemarkers record dates of death from 1887 through 1965, and one date of 1990, and the materials of the headstones coincide with these dates. The earlier headstones are marble in tablet forms, while some of the later ones are granite. There are also a number of white-painted, wooden cross gravemarkers at the grassy, fenced cemetery.

The Old Roman Catholic Cemetery has aesthetic value in the blend of natural and cultural landscape elements along St. Paul’s Heritage Trail, where it is a distinctive cultural landscape feature with its gravemarkers, fencing and low grave plot boundaries in concrete or wood.

The Old Roman Catholic Cemetery has spiritual value due to its association with the Roman Catholic religion in St. Paul’s.

Source: Town of St. Paul’s Regular Council Meeting Motion No. 45 08/22/10 October 22, 2008.

Character-Defining Elements

Those elements which contribute to the site’s historic, aesthetic and spiritual values including:
-style, placement and materials of gravemarkers;
-grassy groundcover;
-extant low grave plot boundary fencing;
-existence of fencing to contain the site;
-location of site, and;
-its association with the Roman Catholic religion.



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)

1887/01/01 to 1990/01/01

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

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
1 Springdale Street
St. John's, NL A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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