CEMETERY

St John the Divine: Cemetery HistoryCemeteries are considered by many to be treasuries of art and architecture, of history and repositories of religious meaning and every persons’ spirituality.

No account of St. John’s would be complete without mention of its ancient burial grounds where for almost a century and a half the families of London Township have laid their loved ones to rest.

The land for St. John’s Cemetery was donated and dedicated in 1832 by the Fraleigh family. It continues to be under the direction and control of the Diocese of Huron, but is open to all denominations within the surrounding community.

There is a rich heritage within the bounds of the Cemetery going back many family generations to the early settlers that came to the Township of London.St John the Divine: Fraleigh Headstone

St. John’s Cemetery operates under the guidance of a Board of Managers.

Given the rise in cremation as the preferred choice of disposition, in 2002 the Board made the decision to build a columbarium, an attractive concrete/marble structure that contains niches (compartments to hold urns) as an alternative means of disposition for the remains of one’s loved ones. Each niche is tastefully decorated with a bronze plaque.

St John the Divine: Cemetery 1Traditionally, burials were handled in one of three ways: in a private owned family plot, in the local churchyard or in municipal cemeteries. Cemeteries were maintained by volunteers and were small in scale, although large in number.

In 1832, the initial plot for St. John’s cemetery was donated by the Fraleigh family. A memorial stone records the death of Elizabeth Fraleigh (1832) and her husband John (1849) as well as the names of five children who died between the ages of 16 and 24 years of age. Nearby are the gravestones of William and Elizabeth Geary, as well as those of settlers whose descendants are still active in this community today.

A walk through the cemetery reveals the names of many of the original members and staunch Township of London Mapsupporters in the early congregation of St. John the Divine Church, as well as many of London Township’s other original settlers.

Some stones leave a glimpse of the heartache suffered in many families, when infant mortality was high and tuberculosis took a heavy toll among younger people. Thus, the marker of Frederick Fitzgerald and his wife, Mary Ann, has a poignant added line, “also their three infant children”.

Sometimes, grief found expression in verse. Over the grave of a mother who died in childbirth at 21, in 1857, are the lines:

“If love or care death could prevent,
My life would not so soon be spent.
In giving birth I lost my breath,
Nothing certain in this life but death.”

A verse above the grave of William Stephenson, who died in 1875 in unknown circumstances, combines warning and plea for compassion:

“Mortals be ready for your call
And think how sudden was my fall,
Pity those I’ve left behind
And to the fatherless be kind.”

St John the Divine: Cemetery 2Local and national history were combined in the life of Crowell Willson, “member of the Canadian Parliament at the time of Confederation.”

A walk through the older parts of our cemetery brings one in touch with people who lived in very different times, but shared many of the same dreams and sorrows we experience today.

For an overview of those interred at St. John’s Cemetery please visit
The Cemetery Directory 

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UPCOMING EVENTS

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October 2017

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  • Choir Practise
  • BAS Sunday Service
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  • Ladies Friendship Group
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  • Choir Practise
  • BAS Sunday Service
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  • Choir Practise
  • Community Breakfast
  • BAS Sunday Service
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  • Choir Practise
  • BAS Sunday Service
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  • Parish Council Meeting
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  • Choir Practise
  • BAS Sunday Service
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