St. Paul's Churchyard, or the Lower Burial Ground, Kingston

" St. Paul's Church was built in 1845 in Kingston's original burying ground which dated back to 1784. The Reverend Doctor John Stuart, M.A., and many of Kingston's pioneer citizens had been laid to rest there before the church was built." (Historic Kingston, No. 4, October 1955, p. 40)

A transcription of the stones was published in 1937, and more recently updated several times. Kingston Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society have a publication for sale: St. Paul’s Anglican Churchyard, (Interments 1791-1828; Inscriptions [on memorial tablets within the church building] 1801-63), 22 pp, ISBN 1-55075-242-1, $5.00 plus postage and handling - see their form for ordering instructions.

See below for repaired wall in 2010!!
photos taken October 3, 2009 by Fraser Carr UE

On 27 May 2008 a number of citizens concerned about the deterioration of the Lower Burial Ground in the heart of the city gathered and decided to establish a non-profit corporation to be known as The Lower Burial Ground Restoration Society. Many of those involved work in heritage preservation and conservation. “Letters Patent” were received on 7 November 2008 for the Society with 5 Officers and an Advisory Committee of 12.

An “Easement” to the property was granted to the Society to carry out its work, by the Bishop and Synod Council of the Diocese of Ontario, 30 January 2009. A Historical Confirmation of the importance of the Burial Ground as a heritage site was prepared by two historians who are members of the Society, Professor Brian Osborne and B Gen(Ret’d) Bill Patterson. It endorses the Lower Burial Ground (1783) as the oldest in Ontario and probably the oldest English Protestant burial ground west of Montreal.

Initial funds were raised by memberships, donations and a Victorian Tea.

The first project was to restore the oldest, still existing, monument, the Forsyth, erected in 1813, situated near the church, on the west side. Roney Engineering Limited was consulted and the Upper Canada Stone House Group was hired to do the stone masonry, in accordance with Department of Culture and Heritage Guidelines. A budget of $20,000.00 was drawn up based on quotes from the Engineer and the Stone Masons. The project was monitored by the chief archaeologist of the Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation, under a “Heritage Permit” from the City of Kingston, Culture & Heritage Department. The major funding for this project came from the United Way of Kingston, FL&A, Healthy Community Fund. Work began in April 2009 and was completed in the week of May 18, 2009.

The next project for the Society is to restore/rebuild the perimeter stone wall situated at the western edge of the Lower Burial Ground along Montreal Street. This wall is the oldest existing structure in Kingston, built by a noted stonemason F.X. Rocheleau in 1799/1800. Once again consultation has been carried out with Roney Engineering, Upper Canada Stone House Group and the Archaeological Foundation as well as applying to the City of Kingston for the requisite permits. Because of the sensitivity of this heritage site as a cemetery, the archaeologists will carry out a two-stage assessment. The Ministry of Culture and the Registrar of Cemeteries will also be monitoring the process.

This project will be accomplished in the same methodical, careful manner as the first one. We applied for a Trillium Grant and were turned down. Now we need to start a public campaign, “Friends of the Wall”. We need your help.

Cheques payable to The Lower Burial Ground Restoration can be sent to Doug Thompson, 207-115 Barrett Ct., Kingston, K7L 5H6. A charitable receipt that may be used for income tax purposes will be issued by St. Paul's Church.

Thanks to the hard work of many, and some successful fundraising, the wall has been repaired. But further funds are still required to pay the bills, so your donations will still be appreciated.

Doug and Marianne Thompson in front of restored wall. Photo courtesy of Marianne Thompson


page last updated November 1, 2015