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Old Non-Denominational Cemetery
Ferryland District


This old cemetery, overlooking Renews Harbour, is located on the north side of the community. Research indicates that it is very likely this cemetery was used for many years as the common burial ground for all religious affiliations. While the majority of the surviving headstones are for Irish Roman Catholics and their descendants, some headstones indicate an ongoing English presence there as well. The oldest legible stone in the cemetery is that of John Limbrey of Paington, Devon, England. John is mentioned, in the surviving Colonial Office records, as being at Renews as early as 1752 and a couple of decades later a William Limbrey is mentioned as a member of a committee tasked with setting up defenses there against French attacks. Another surname inscribed on an old headstone was Jenkins. Unfortunately we can't read that stone but in 1737 the records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury recorded that a will was probated for "John Jenkins, Harbour of Renewse, Newfoundland". The inference from the Colonial Office records is that these were merchant families who appear to be, at the very least, part time residents of Renews. These records also indicate that the Jenkins family members married into a number of families in the Renews area in the mid 18th century. Based on surviving headstones, a number of Roman Catholics families continued to use this cemetery for burials (likely existing family plots) even after the new Roman Catholic cemetery was consecrated for that faith about 1860.


Old Renews Cemetery
Courtesy of Canadian Register of Historic Places (CRHP)

Information contained in [red] provided by the transcriber or district coordinator.

1. SHANNAHAN Catherine 18 July 1867 26 Erected by Matthew Shannahan in memory of his beloved wife.
2. JACKMAN George 4 March 1874 79 Erected by Francis J. Jackman, in memory of his father
    Bridget 16 May 1876 78 Also his mother
3. CONWAY William 1 December 1853 27  
4. PHELAN Nicholas 1 May 1872 67 Erected by Ann and Margaret Phelan, in memory of their father and mother.
    Esther     [headstone sunken - date and age not visible.]
5. JACKMAN Elizabeth 22 July 1850 33 Erected by Frances (sic) Jackman in memory of his mother
6. SHEEHAN John 21 February 1861 84 Erected by Edward Sheehan, in memory of his beloved father.
    Mary 26 August 1853 (?) 75 Also his beloved mother.
  DEEGAN John 18 January 1854 77 Also his uncle. They were natives of Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. [In the 1992 transcription, John's age was recorded as 71 years, however looking at the headstone, it appears his age was 77 years.]
7. POWER George 18 December 1871 28  
8. MURPHY James 16 September 1866 67 Erected by Elizabeth Murphy in memory of her husband.
9. ???? ????     [Top of headstone illegible] ...... her beloved mother Alice, died 23 December 1871, aged 41 years
10. CONWAY Thomas 20 October 1868 78  
    Emma 8 January 1851    
11. FOWLER George 28 January 1856 16 who was lost at sea on 28 January 1856, aged 16 years (rest of headstone illegible).
12. FOLEY   1817 24 Erected by (illegible) Ann Foley (illegible)
[Number 13 skipped in 1992 transcription.]
14. JENKINS       [headstone illegible]
15. LEARY Thomas 18 November 1875 76 Erected by Margaret, in memory of her husband.
    Catherine     Also Catherine, John & Thomas, beloved children of the above.
16. JACKMAN James 12 March 185? 68  
17. FINN Richard 4 May 1874 76 Erected by Eliza Power, in memory of her beloved uncle, Richard Finn.
[Number 17 used twice in the 1992 transcription.]
17. CONWAY Rosanna 25 August 1886 35 Erected by James Conway in memory of his beloved wife Rosanna.
    Katie 2 December 1878 4 years 3 mos. Also of their children Katie, John, and Nicholas.
    John December 1878 2 years 2 mos.  
    Nicholas     who died in infancy
18. LIMBREY John 16 of Oct 1772 56 In memory of John Limbrey of Paington in Devon who departed this Life the 16 of Oct 1772. "Here I alas have Ended this Short Life / Far from my children and loveing Wife / But be not griev'd when this sad nues is given Comfort your selves with hope we meet in heaven".
[Number 19 was skipped in the 1992 transcription but I added a new entry in its place based on later photos]
19. JACKMAN Michael ? ??? 15 1850 46  
20.         [headstone illegible]
[Transcriber's note - 1992: Transcriptions of the older headstones can be found in the Gerald Pocius Collection, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore & Language Archive. The parish under Fr. Gordon Walsh in the 1980's, paid students to paint lettering on the headstones. This caused damage to some. Also, most of the headstones have been removed from their original positions and lined in a row. Although this is thought of as a Catholic cemetery, it is possible that the JENKINS and LIMBREY men were magistrates of the area.]
NOTE: Some of the unknowns below may match up with the entries above (without photos) since all visible headstones were photographed in 2009.
  UNKNOWN #1        
  UNKNOWN #2        
  UNKNOWN #3        
  UNKNOWN #4        
  UNKNOWN #5        
  UNKNOWN #6        
  UNKNOWN #7        
  UNKNOWN #8        
  UNKNOWN #9        
  UNKNOWN #10        
  UNKNOWN #11        
  UNKNOWN #12        

Transcribed by Ronald Fitzpatrick - July 18, 1992. Donated by Roberta Sullivan 2000.

Reformatted and updated by Kevin Reddigan to match 1992 transcriptions - October 2016.

Page Last Modified: Sunday October 23, 2016 (Kevin Reddigan)

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