The Cemetery

Some Highlights: Did You Know?

Information About St. Stephen Cemetery - Parish of Central Saanich ** Submissions welcomed by Lynda Clifford.

Did you know?

There is a lovely peaceful cemetery surrounding St. Stephen Church, enclosed with a white picket fence. It is a quiet and peaceful place and many enjoy the stroll throughout the year.

The cemetery is just a few years younger than the Church which was built in 1862. The cemetery has pioneers from the Mt. Newton Valley buried here, and the good news is there is still room, plot reservations can be made by contacting either church office.

Did you know?

We have an Archivist who has been entering many details about who is resting here, photos of monuments, details of who and why and when.

With the pioneer families there is a lot of history in this small cemetery and this has been collected and stored safely and we will continue this.

Did you know?

You can plan your own funeral, memorial or celebration of life service.

The Incumbent, currently the Rev. Lon Towstego, would be happy to sit down with you and help you plan the service, choosing your favourite scripture readings, hymns and other special things you would like to have included. The time you spend now will help your loved ones in the future. Our Incumbent will explain what further costs will occur at the time of death, so that you feel fully informed. Our Incumbent can also explain the differences that arise between full burial and interment of ashes.

Long-term giving plans can also be discussed and decided in advance, which will mean your choices can be discussed and written down for you to keep.

Did you know?

You can reserve a full burial or interment space in the cemetery. Yes, just by contacting the office at either church someone will be in touch with you to help direct you through the process. There are rates for members of the Parish of Central Saanich and for non-members. We don’t call it buying but rather reserving a space.

How do I choose a plot?

We have a new custodian for the cemetery now and he will be able to guide you around the cemetery and point out available plots.

He will look after collecting the fee, and you will be given a receipt, and your name will then be entered into the data base as having reserved a plot.

How do you manage to charge so much less than the private cemetery?

We are not in the business to make a profit, and we are governed by the Consumer Protection Services (CPS) department, who make sure we abide by the regulations.  This is meant to protect you. We have a board which consists of Wardens and interested parishioners from both churches and there are bylaws which are reviewed by CPS and they visit on site. The rates must be available and posted. We are required to have a fund that will provide perpetual care for the cemetery. We pay a groundskeeper to look after the grass cutting and tree management and other related duties. So this does mean that we do need an income to take good care of the Holy ground here, so some of the funds are used for ongoing care and maintenance. There are other costs for example office time and materials. A budget is provided annually as are the financial reports made available at our AGM.

How can we be good stewards of this land we have in our care?

This cemetery has been in used since 1862, and to think as you walk around, the care that has been given to this Holy ground over the years shows the compassion we, and those before us, have had. It is a very special place, where we lay our loves ones to rest and prepare for the future in our own lives. It is important to us that this peaceful place in the Mt Newton Valley is looked after now and that the perpetual care is continued for years to come.

It is always possible to donate to the grounds care in the cemetery, for which you will receive a receipt. It is also possible to donate to the perpetual care of the site of a loved one, if this is your choice. We do enjoy the flowers in the spring and do not do the first grass cutting until the flowers have died off, to protect them so we see them again next year.

St Stephen’s Anglican Church held its first service and dedication on June 3rd, 1862 and recorded its first marriage on August 10th, 1863. The first known funeral took place in 1869.

On January 20th, 1883 George Hill, Bishop of Columbia, was deeded the Church lands by way of a Certificate in Trust deed.

The addition of a white painted picket fence round the cemetery which was completed early that year. The newly fenced cemetery was used for its first interment in 1883 according to the burial register.

Mary Anne Stritchens died in her tenth month and was buried on October 8th. This of course was not the first funeral outside the little church.

The first known date of a burial was that of another member of the pioneer Thomson family. Young William aged nine was laid to rest in 1869.

The burials have expanded from that first in 1869 to well over five hundred in the 1990′s.

The original burials were scattered in an area directly in front of the church entrance.

The pathways inside the churchyard were realigned from a north south attitude when the entrance was in the south boundary, to an east west attitude when a new entrance to the churchyard was established in the west boundary in the early 1880′s.


Following Is A Series of Stories From St. Stephen's Cemetery: (written by David Scarth and Ruth MacKay). They also appear in the ConneXion, for the dates indicated.

  1. Our Military Imposter (by David Scarth); For the May, 2014 edition of the ConneXion, click here.
  2. Where Lies Fred Reynolds: Victoria's most eligible Bachelor?; For the August, 2014 edition of the ConneXion, click here.
  3. Our Black Pioneers; For the November, 2014 edition of the ConneXion, click here.
  4. Who was Jacob the Pauper?; For the December, 2014 edition of the ConneXion, click here.
  5. There are strange things done .... ;For the March, 2015 edition of the ConneXion, click here(This Story is dedicated to the memory of Lilian Gillan Dyer, 1913 - 2014) 
  6. Behind every great Man .... ;For the June, 2015 edition of the ConneXion, click here.
  7. A Rose by any other Name .... ; For the September, 2015 edition of the ConneXion, click here.
  8. A Fatal Accident at South Saanich ... ; For the December, 2015 edition of the ConneXion, click here.
  9. William Avons and the Pesthouse Saga ...For the March, 2016 edition of the ConneXion, click here.
  10. A Deed Most Foul on Mount Forsaken .... ; For the June, 2016 edition of the ConneXion, click here.
  11. The Rev Wm. Gregory Family at St. Stephen’s: 1884-1890 ....; for the March, 2017 edition of the ConneXion, click here.
  12. The Michell Family of Keating Valley ...; for the June, 2017 edition of the ConneXion, click here.

 To return to the History of the churches, click here.

Digitized Cemetery Records! 

Under the direction of David Scarth, the research has now been completed for the 1862 - 1982 Cemetery Database, with thanks to Angela Dyck and the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of BC and its Archives.