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Christ Church Churchyard Cemetery Municipal Heritage Site

Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/08/14

Partial view of Christ Church Churchyard Cemetery with the current Church Church building in the background, Bonavista, NL, 2006/06/14; L Maynard/HFNL 2006
Christ Church Churchyard Cemetery, Bonavista, NL
Historic view up Church Street with Christ Church Churchyard Cemetery at corner lot at centre right, with former Christ Church building on its grounds, Bonavista, NL, circa early 1900s; Orville Harris - Bona Photo Media Gallery, Town of Bonavista web site: www.bonavista.net
Historic view up Church Street, Bonavista, NL
Memorial Day parade on Church Street, Bonavista, NL circa 1947, with former stone Christ Church building and Churchyard Cemetery on the right; Dave Dunn - Bona Photo Media Gallery, Town of Bonavista web site: www.bonavista.net
Church Street scene, Bonavista, NL, circa 1947

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/08/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Christ Church Churchyard Cemetery is located on the grounds of Christ Church Anglican Church at 034-048 Church Street, Bonavista, NL. This eighteenth century graveyard is situated in an historically institutional area of town recognized for its collection of churches, schools and halls, and the designation encompasses the entire cemetery.

Heritage Value

Christ Church Churchyard Cemetery has been designated because it has spiritual, historic and environmental values.

Christ Church Churchyard Cemetery has spiritual and historic values as the oldest known consecrated cemetery associated with the Anglican faith in Bonavista. The earliest known headstone from the cemetery records a date of death in 1725, though there are likely many unmarked graves, and use of the site may predate the official establishment of the Bonavista Church of England in 1723. The earliest church erected on the grounds is unconfirmed, but successive churches were built in 1730, 1819, 1862, 1925, and the current one in 1978.

The Churchyard Cemetery has historic value as a physical record of Bonavista’s past, the gravemarkers serving as both historic records and artifacts on the landscape. A number of headstones record that the deceased were British immigrants, while others indicate that they served in the military. The gravemarkers are mainly chiseled, inscribed tablet headstones, though there are a number of column types. They are composed of materials common during the period in which most burials were performed at the cemetery (eighteenth to mid-twentieth centuries), including marble, limestone and sandstone. There are also a number of unsculpted fieldstone markers.

The Churchyard Cemetery has environmental value due to its siting in Bonavista’s cultural landscape, together with its blend of period human-made and natural elements. The cemetery is located on Church Street, historically an institutional area for churches, halls and schools, which retains much of its historic character and remains a central area of the town. The white painted, wooden picket fence along the front of the churchyard is in keeping with fence types historically typical of the community and of the site specifically. In addition to a number of mature cultivated deciduous trees around the perimeters of the cemetery, the natural topography includes a combination of low-growing wild plants and historically popular cultivated groundcover plants.

Source: Town council meeting minutes, Town of Bonavista, 2006/08/14

Character-Defining Elements

Those landscape elements related to the cemetery’s function, age and cultural landscape value including:

-siting in historic area of town;
-preponderance of marble, sandstone, limestone and fieldstone materials of period gravemarkers;
-preponderance of tablet and column forms of the inscribed period gravemarkers;
-unsculpted, uninscribed fieldstone period gravemarkers;
-white painted, wooden picket fencing at front (Church Street) boundary;
-natural plant groundcover;
-and mature trees.



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)


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 Bonavista, PO Box 279, Bonavista, NL, A0C 1B0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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