St. Luke's churchyard was in existence years before the present church was built. In 1861 the first Cedar Hill congregation felt their prayers were answered when Mr. Anthony Elliott, having just returned from the Cariboo Gold Rush and hearing of the church's need, gave St. Luke's seven acres: one for the church and churchyard, with the rest for the Parson's Glebe (to augment his stipend through a cow and a few pigs).
Records show that the churchyard was soon fenced, although there was a problem keeping the fence in place. The shallowness of the soil made it difficult to anchor the fence sufficiently to withstand the wind. It was subsequently replaced by a stone wall.
The first burial in the churchyard for which we have been able to find a record, took place in 1886, although it seems most likely there must have been parishioners buried there during the previous twenty-five years. The church yard was consecrated for Christian burial only in 1892. An extra lot was added and consecrated in 1929. The cemetery was enlarged with the new piece being consecrated in 1942.
In 1933 the cemetery paths were paved and subsequently headstones laid flat. Although burials took place in the early years, recently there has only been space for the interment of ashes. During 2003 and 2004, 56 more plots for cremated remains were developed, mainly at the north end of the cemetery. To maintain safety in the cemetery, several trees were removed or trimmed in 2007, and in 2008 all asphalt paths, which had been broken by tree roots, were covered with several inches of ‘fines’.
From time to time, bequests have been received for the upkeep of the cemetery and a separate fund has been established and has been utilized in time of need. A Cemetery Committee oversees the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery. Monthly cleanups take place on Saturday mornings in the spring and summer when volunteers spend several hours working to tidy the cemetery. Watch for details on the cleanup mornings on the home page. Volunteers from the community are very welcome. We usually stop partway through the morning for refreshments and a time to chat.
The cemetery is a tranquil area where many members of earlier congregations rest in peace in the shadow of St. Luke's Church. We hope that you will enjoy visiting St. Luke's historic cemetery.
Short biographies of 194 of the over 1,000 people buried in St. Luke's cemetery may be read in Gone but not Forgotten, a History of St. Luke’s Churchyard by Pam Gaudio and Bev Ellison, published in September 2009. Copies of the book are available at a cost of $10 each by contacting the Church Office.