Historic Cemeteries

Bermuda has many beautiful historical cemeteries accessible to all who care to venture into them. While most are owned by the Bermuda Government, many are leased by and cared for by the Bermuda National Trust, supported by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Canadian War Graves Commission.

The dignity of the Victorian memorials, the life-size military accoutrements, such as the carvings of ships, crosses and lambs, have generally been kept in good repair through the dedication of individual craftsmen, despite hurricanes and vandalism. Memories of days gone by are kept alive in the inscriptions: sailors who fell from aloft, mothers who died in childbirth, and prisoners who grew sick on the prison hulks. The cemeteries are also host to Bermuda’s wildlife, offering a refuge in a built-up environment.

For more detailed information on Bermuda’s historical cemeteries, view and download our Cemeteries Visitor Guide. View locations on Map of Properties.

Garrison Cemetery

Location: Grenadier Lane, St. George’s

Garrison CemeteryThis 1.66-acre walled cemetery on the eastern shore of St George’s was primarily a burial ground for yellow fever victims. It was part of the St George’s Garrison, the earliest establishment of the British Army in Bermuda. There are 256 memorial sites and the names of 539 individuals appear on the memorials. The majority of the deaths they record occurred during the yellow fever epidemics of 1830-1870.

The three main monuments are for the yellow fever victims of the Royal Artillery, the Royal Sappers & Miners and the Queen’s Regiment. It is presumed that this cemetery was closed about 1870 when the new military cemetery on Cemetery Hill (St George’s Military), Secretary Road was opened. Grenadier Lane, on which the cemetery is located, is named for the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. The Battalion was banished to Bermuda in 1890 and 1891 for insubordination.

Whatever the circumstances of their exile, the presence of the Grenadiers provided the chance for a year of extravagant entertainment, receptions and balls. HRH Prince George, who later became King George V, visited Bermuda during this time, a cause for even more celebration on the island.

St. George’s Military Cemetery

Location: Secretary Road, St. George’s

St. George’s Military Cemetery This beautiful graveyard overlooks Murray’s Anchorage on the North Shore and is divided into two sections side by side, of which the eastern one is mostly civil and the western one is  mostly military. Bermuda stone walls were erected to separate the two cemeteries, but some military graves ended up on the wrong side of the wall, and there are also civilian graves just inside the entrance to the military section.

In the civil part of the cemetery, the larger and higher southern section was for the Church of England and the northern lower section, below the main pathway, was designated for Roman Catholics. Markers denoting this division are visible on the main pathway and on the wall opposite the main gateway.

The entire hillside is a peaceful place away from the bustle and buzz of daily life.


Ferry Point & Ferry Reach Military Cemeteries

Location: Ferry Road, St. George’s

CrossAfter the yellow fever epidemic of 1853, the British Garrison kept about half its soldiers encamped at Ferry Point. Many of the soldiers died of yellow fever and were buried in two cemeteries located at Ferry Road in St. George’s. The smaller one, Ferry Point Military Cemetery, now stands simply as a small walled area, with no visible memorials. There is evidence that there were several headstones in the 1950s but it is believed that they were relocated to the Grenadier Lane cemetery.

Ferry Reach Military Cemetery was established later and may have been a result of both the Ferry Point Cemetery being full due to the high death rate of the 56th Regiment and a growing awareness that it was better to locate yellow fever cemeteries further away from places of habitation. It has a large cross and two other memorials to commemorate soldiers from the 2nd Battalion 2nd Queen’s Royal Regiment who died during the yellow fever epidemic of 1864.

Garrison Cemetery Prospect

Location: Greenwich Lane, Devonshire

Garrison Cemetery ProspectThis cemetery was used first by the British Army and subsequently by the Bermuda Police Service.

When the British Government was carrying out a major expansion of Bermuda’s fortifications in the 1840s, it was decided that the Garrison in St. George’s was not ideally located and a ‘flying camp’ was needed to give troops quick access to any part of the island in an emergency. The Government requisitioned large areas of Devonshire and Pembroke for Fort Prospect, Fort Hamilton and Fort Langton. Fort Prospect and the military cemetery are located on what was previously known as White Hill.

The graves date from 1866 but it is believed the land was not consecrated until 1888. The cemetery was last used by the military in 1966, and there is also a modern burial ground for police officers within the cemetery. At the rear of the cemetery, surrounded by an iron railing, lie the monument and grave of Sir Walter Kitchener, Governor of Bermuda 1908-1912, who died of appendicitis while in office.

Somerset Island Military Cemetery

Location: Mangrove Bay Road, Somerset

Somerset Island Military CemeterySomerset Island Military Cemetery lies on the north side of Somerset Island in Sandys Parish, on the right of the main road when traveling from Somerset Village to Dockyard, just before reaching Watford Bridge. The so-called ‘new military cemetery at Somerset’ was consecrated in 1905.

There are only 21 visible graves but records indicate that many more people are buried at this site. The cemetery is a tranquil 2.24-acre spot looking out to Mangrove Bay. The earliest remaining memorial is dated 1904 and the most recent 1918. Of the 21 visible graves, 13 of the headstones are Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstones commemorating soldiers who died in service during the First World War, 1914-1918.

The Bermuda National Trust erected a small wall around the cemetery in 1986 which helps to mark the area. Nearby there is a monument to the memory of soldiers from the 4th Battalion British West Indies Regiment, who died in Bermuda of pneumonia in 1916; it used to be next to a small chapel which has since been demolished.

Convict Cemetery

Location: Cochrane Road, Ireland Island South

Convict CemeteryThis small cemetery was hidden behind a row of former Dockyard employee houses. A tranquil spot on the northern shore, it has nine visible graves of which only five have inscriptions. The graves all date from 1843 to 1846 and two of the men whose names are still visible are known to have been convicts at the time of their death. The first convicts were brought to Bermuda from England in 1824 on HMS Antelope and the cemetery dates from about this time, but there is no evidence that it was ever consecrated.

We know that by 1898 the cemetery was no longer used because cartographer Lieutenant A. J. Savage marked it ‘disused’ on his survey map of that year. Of the 9,000 convicts sent here, 2,000 died. There are only 13 marked graves in total; four are named and nine unnamed.

Royal Naval Cemetery

Location: Malabar Road, Ireland Island

MalabarThis large naval cemetery of 2.73 acres at the side of the road leading into Dockyard, was known as the Glade. Ireland Island was bought by the Admiralty in 1809 and the cemetery consecrated in 1812. The first burial ground was a narrow strip which is now the central portion of the cemetery; it was enlarged several times, notably after three yellow fever epidemics in 1837, 1843 and 1853. As the cemetery filled up, the categories of people who could be buried there were reduced, starting with the exclusion of convicts in 1849. By 1853 only Royal Naval personnel and residents of Ireland Island could be interred there.

The cemetery lies in a depression, with the earliest graves at the lower centre, and the later graves on the rising ground around them. Five admirals are buried here, as well as children and sailors. The oldest gravestone now legible is that of Sergeant John Kitchener, late Royal Marines, who died in 1816, with its cautionary verse urging the onlooker to prepare to meet his God.

Several of the older headstones have poetic inscriptions, some personal and others supplied by stonemasons as far afield as Nova Scotia and England. In contrast are the Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstones which stand out in their stark simplicity. The cemetery contains the graves of servicemen from the Second World War, when Bermuda was a transit point in the Battle of the Atlantic, and memorials to some of those who were buried at sea. Overlooking the whole cemetery is the Oration Stand, a reproduction of the original structure from which the funeral oration, or formal speech at a funeral, was given.

Watford Cemetery

Location: Malabar Road, Watford Island, Sandys

Watford CemeteryThis is a small cemetery created on Watford Island in 1887 as a graveyard for soldiers and their families. Earlier in the century the whole island had been used as a burial ground for convicts brought to Bermuda to build Dockyard between 1824 and 1863. They lived in rotting hulks of ships moored just offshore, in crowded and filthy conditions; the mortality rate from dysentery and yellow fever was high.

Convicts were buried in the Glade, Ireland Island until 1849 when it seemed to be filling up. Then Watford Island was used to bury dead convicts and convict officers. In 1855 it was reported that the island had received 458 bodies and was almost full. For the remaining years of convict labour those who died were buried on Long Island. Perhaps because their graves were usually marked with wooden crosses, tablets commemorating individual convicts are rare. In 1925 the remaining few memorials were taken from other parts of the island and placed together along the north-eastern wall of the military cemetery.

On 5 November 2004 the remains of five men, found exposed after Hurricane Fabian, were reburied in a single grave within the walled cemetery. The military memorials date from 1888 to 1899, with the addition in 1980 of the Queen’s Regiment monument of 1866, relocated from Boaz Island. The burials included several children and four young Grenadier guardsmen who died in 1890 or 1891 during the 2nd Battalion’s year-long stay.

Long Island Cemeteries

Location: Long Island, Great Sound OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Long Island CemeteryThe Long Island Cemeteries in the  Great Sound are three of the few historic cemeteries owned outright by the Trust, having been donated by Government in 1980. The earliest is a small enclosure on the west side with two graves of men from HMS Forth which date from 1817.

In 1854, the Royal Naval Cemetery at Ireland Island was reaching capacity, and Long Island became the main burial ground for yellow fever victims. In 1855 it was decided that it would also be used to inter convicts. The earliest extant headstone referring to yellow fever is dated 1856, and there are many graves commemorating yellow fever victims in 1864, including marines and workers from Boaz Island. Two doctors, ‘poor Gallagher and Richards’ who died trying to help the victims, are also thought to be buried here, although there is a memorial at the Royal Naval Cemetery to these two men.

The third cemetery was later used for Boer prisoners of war who died while they were held captive in Bermuda on other islands in the Great Sound in the very early part of the 20th century. The hospital which served these internees was on Ports Island. Their graves are marked only by a number corresponding to the main obelisk in the centre of the graveyard.

There are 40 names on the obelisk which was erected by the survivors while they were awaiting repatriation. In 1903 the 56th Regiment built a stone wall to enclose the graveyard, and it was dedicated at that time by the Bishop of Newfoundland and Bermuda. Over the years the care of these island cemeteries has been supported by Long Island neighbours David Lines and Jim Butterfield.

To plan a visit, please email palmetto@bnt.bm

Hayward Family Burial Ground

Location: 4 Hayward Drive, St. David’s NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

HaywardThis small family graveyard lies at the back of Bay House. The gift of Howard Smith, the graveyard is surrounded by an old wall and contains a few raised tombs and some attractive inscribed plaques in memory of members of the Hayward family. Two of the graves are thought to be those of Martha Hayward and her husband Lieutenant William Lang. Lang served with the 46th Regiment of Foot under Lord Cornwallis in the American Revolution. Bermuda legend has it that when he was stationed in Bermuda he had business with Anthony Hayward and when he went to visit him he was struck by the beauty of Hayward’s daughter Martha. It was love at first sight and without her father’s knowledge they married in St. George’s at St. Peter’s Church, returning later to her home to seek forgiveness. Lang is credited with bringing the first peach seeds from Madeira and there is a large peach tree growing over the western side of the graveyard to this day.

Jennings Land Burial Ground

Location: Jennings Road, Smith’s NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

JenningsA small ancient burial ground overlooking the North Shore near Flatts, Jennings Land Burial Ground was given to the Historical Monuments Trust in 1953 by three daughters of farmer Thaddeus Trott who owned 78 acres of land in the area. The deeds refer to the burial ground as belonging to the family ‘Jennyns’. The Jennings family was prominent in Bermuda in the 17th century and the Norwood survey of 1663 shows the land on which the tombs stand as belonging to Richard Jennings. The burial ground today has two unmarked stone graves and it is not known which members of the family were buried in them. In 1955, the Monuments Trust carried out a restoration of the site. They cleared the land, restored the graves and erected a rustic fence. We have no way of knowing how faithful the grave restoration was to the original monuments. Today both graves have rather primitive headstones, one almost cruciform and the other semi-circular. It is believed there had been more grave markers and tombs during an earlier period; one eye-witness described an open vault visible in 1939. This area stands as a relic of the days when burial grounds were on family land.

Ports Island Cemetery

Location: Ports Island, Great Sound  NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Ports Island CemeteryThis small cemetery lies on the northeastern part of Ports Island in the Great Sound. The island was bought by the Admiralty Board in 1809 at the same time as the purchase of Ireland Island and was used to house the sick from 1816 until 1818 when the Royal Naval Hospital was built at the Dockyard.

In 1834 the island was designated a Naval Quarantine Station where ships arriving in Bermuda were directed if there was sickness among the crew, as in the case of HMS Pearl which arrived with yellow fever on board in 1837. Convalescing convicts were sent there in 1843, and in 1852 L’Armide, a French hospital ship, came up from the West Indies with yellow fever. Of the 46 people who landed on the island, 11 died and are buried here.

In 1853 another outbreak of the disease hit soldiers of the Royal Artillery and the 56th Regiment. Those who died are buried at Ports Island, along with the sergeant who had nursed them and several of his family. Further yellow fever deaths occurred in 1856, 1863, 1864 and 1869. In 1873 HMS Doris brought 40 cases of typhoid from Barbados.

From 1901 until 1903 the island was the location of a prison hospital ‘under canvas’ for the Boer War prisoners, although those who died were buried in the Boer Cemetery on Long Island. The island was also used to incarcerate German prisoners of war during the First World War.

Five graves or monuments are still visible. One commemorates the dead of the Artillery and 56th Regiment, one commemorates the crew of the Armide and one is the grave of an eight year old boy.