Christ Church Burial Grounds

 When we stand in the graveyard at Christ Church we can see a row of four small tombstones with a cross on top. On closer examination we see by the fading inscriptions on the stones that they tell a story of the early days in Lakefield in the late 1800's when life was harsh. These four tombstones mark the graves of four young children. The Christ Church Community Museum records show:

  • Catharine Annie Bowker, age 2 years, born in Lowestoff, England died of scarlet fever and was buried in the church yard January 20, 1875, G. I. Everest officiating.

 

  • Catherine Esther Bowker, age 2 years, born in Lakefield, cause of death, teething. She was buried August 3, 1877, E. H. Mussen officiating.

 

  • Thomas William Bowker, age 7 months, born in Lakefield, cause of death dysentery. Buried August 24, 1879 with C. R. Bell officiating

Reginald Maclean Bowker, age 6 months, Gentleman's child, born in Lakefield, cause of death, teething. Buried April 11, 1881. C. R. Bell officiating.

Until April 2010 the crosses on top of three of these tombstones had been broken off. These crosses were found in a cupboard in the old church when a group from CCCM was cleaning. The group became determined to have them put back on the tombstones and were able to get Campbell Monuments of Belleville to fasten them securely to the tombstones.

The first burial in this graveyard took place in 1855, and the last in 1886. Many of the district's early residents are buried in this graveyard. Samuel Strickland, members of his family, and settlers with names such as LeFevre, Lillicrap, Warren, Casement, Bolton, Bowker, Caddy, Dench, and Hill are buried. Christ Church records show there were 108 burials in the graveyard with only 40 locations known today. A list of burials is kept in the CCCM museum.

Through age, neglect, and vandalism, many of the tombstones reached a state of poor repair. However, through the work of the CCCM committee, restoration of the tombstones was completed.

The CCCM volunteer committee comprised of individuals from the community oversees the upkeep of the graveyard and the 1853 stone church. Funds for these activities come from donations and from fundraising activities.

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