Wanchai Roman Catholic Burial Ground [1841-1889]

Submitted by annelisec on Thu, 09/23/2010 - 12:57
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists
Date completed
Date closed / demolished

WAN CHAI - Protestant Burial Ground - opened 1841

last graves removed 1889 -  near St Francis Chapel above Queens Road East. 183 died in 1841


Photos that show this Place




Are you aware of any photographs showing the old Wanchai burial ground?

There is a large stone retaining wall at the back of dominion park off Queens Road East, which I imagine might have been the cemetery boundary?

Star street/ Moon street etc now stand on the plateau above.

Mount Carmel Church had an interesting display of some old photographs in the lobby last year, showing the parishioners, and original church located near St.Francis yard area I believe, from the turn of the century.

Also there is an old bell located in the lobby of the church, which I suspect might have been the original church bell...

It would be nice to build up an idea of how that very historic part of Hong Kong looked at that time.

Thank you for your many interesting posts and contributions by the way.



I've changed the title of this Place to show it was the Roman Catholic burial ground, at the location where Annelise has put the marker above.

There was also a Protestant burial ground a little further west (see http://gwulo.com/node/14135).

Both can be seen on an 1889 map of the "City of Victoria" (Plate 3-2, Mapping Hong Kong).

Regards, David

The land was granted in March 1843 adjacent to the Protestant Cemetery. It was enlarged in 1845/46 as it was full. By 1848 it was again full so land was granted for the present St Michaels cemetery  and the graves in Wanchai were moved there.   

As people had six months to object, it seems likely that the actual closure & removal was not until at least April 1890. It is also unclear if the below just refers to the Protestant cemetery or if the distinction between the Protestant and Catholic cemetery disappeared after closure


THE HONGKONG Government   Gazette. No. 49. SATURDAY, 2ND NOVEMBER, 1889. VOL. XXXV.




Removal of Old Cemetery

The old colonial Cemetery at Wan-tsai, in the above Colony, having become surrounded by a dense population of Chinese of the poorer classes,it is found difficult to keep it in a condition of decency and cleanliness; It is therefore notified that it is proposed reverently and decently to remove all monuments and tombstones in such Cemetery , as well as remains which may be found there, to the existing colonial cemetery in the Happy Valley, where such remains will be reinterred.


The monuments will be repaired and grouped round a plain  memorial stone on which it will be stated from what part of the Colony they have been removed.


Survivors, friends, or relatives who may desire to make any objection to this removal are requested to address the Colonial Secretary of Hongkong within six months from this date.


A list of the remaining monuments is appended.


By Command, A LISTER, Acting Colonial Secretary, 25th October. 1889.


Rank, Name & Date of Death


1. John Ambrose Mercer, Esq: 23rd August, 1843

2. Alexander Scott, Esq: 24th August, 1841

3. Mr. John Slade: 2nd August, 1843

4. William Brodie,Master in the Royal Navy, late Commander H.M. Troopship Rattlesnake: 17th June, 1841.

5. J. Hume, of U.S.S. Constellation: 14th September, 1842

6. Aug Fred Sunger: 13th October, 1841

7 Lieut Oliver Charles Anketell, 37th Madras Native Infantry: 1? July, 1841

8. G. W. York, of Bangor, Maine, U.S.A, Seaman U.S.S. Constellation: 16th September, 1842

9. Julia, daughter of the Hon. John Walter Hulm: 20th October, 1844

10. William …. Inscription illegible

11. Lieut. Levin Handy USS Constellation: 14th September, 1842

12. Sarah Elizabeth, wife of Peter Margussen: 2nd August, 1844

13. John Irvine, Assistant Commissary General: 1st February, 1844

14. Major Charles Gregory: 30th November 1842

15. Henrietta, wife of the Rev. J. Lewis Shuck, of Virginia, U.S.A: 27th November, 1844

16. Frederick Joseph Ball: 2nd August, 1843

17. Mills Bridgeman Ball, (Macao): 2nd August, 1844

18. Lucy Hendricks, wife of Dyer Ball: 6th June, 1844

19. Richard M Isbell, Assistant Surgeon, HMS Agincourt: 11th January, 1843

20. Theodosia, Wife of Rev. W. Dean: xx March, 1843

21. Robert Morrison Brown: 13th January, 1844

22. Lieut. Benjamin Fox, R,.N., late First Lieut. HMS. Nimrod, Canton, killed at Canton 25th May, 1841

23. Capt A Frederick Beavan, 39th Regt M.N.I: 18th October, 1842

24. Lieut Francis Beavan: 6th November, 1842

25. John Theophilus Boileau, Assistant Surgeon, Bengal Establishment: 21st November, 1842

26. Capt. Henry Harriot, 39th Regt: 15th December, 1842

27. Major James Uniacke, (Chiu Kiang-foo), Senior Officer of R. M,also Lieut. William Atcherley, (Yong-tso Kiang), also Lieut. C. Hewet, R.M., (Woo Sing): 21st July, 1842

28. 1st Lieut. Ralph Milbanke, H.M. Sloop Childers: 28th August, 1843

29. Capt. William Currie of the British ship Leander: 10th November, 1844

30. John Abray Hobson: 15th April, 1843.

31. Major Eldred Pottinger, C.B: 15th November, 1843

32. Francis R Foote: XX XXX, 1842

33. Capt. A. H. S. Young, 55th Regt: 13th July, 1843

33. Lientl-Adj. J. R. Margrath: 8th July, 1843

33. also Capt. T. de Havelland: 6th September, 1843

33. also Ensign J. Campbell, 55th. Regt: 1st February, 1843

33. also Ensign J. H. C. Rogers, 55th Regt: 23rd December 1841

34. Thomas Hancorn. Master H.M.S. Menden: 10th September, 1843

35. Right Honourable Edward Pelham Clinton, Lieut. R.N., H.M.S. Harlequim: 12th May, 1842

36. William Graham, Assistant Surgeon, Bengal Establishment: 6th November, 1843

37. Illegible

38. Vere Paulet Harris: 16th November, 1843

39. Thomas Jackson Scills, Esq: 31st July, 1844

40. John Tallmon: 6th June, 1844

41 Lieut. Henry Dallas, 91st Regt: 26th July, 1844

42. J. Stewart Garnett, Esq., Merchant of Liverpool: 6th September, 1844

43. Capt. John Robert Cotton: 5th January 1845

44. Mr. Ed. Pratt: 27th January, 1845

45 Col.-Sergt. Henry Welch, 98th Regt: 4th November, 1844

46. Capt. Thomas Maitland Edwards, 98th Regt: 4th November, 1844

47. William Knight, Esq: XX XXXX, XXXX

48. Alexander Badenseh:  XX August, XXXX




I agree with the timeline given by Herostratus i.e. 1843-1848.
It couldn't begin earlier than 1842 before the first Catholic priest Fr. Joset who came to Hong Kong in 1842. It was Fr. Joset who asked the government to grant the catholics a piece of land for burial use. In 1848, the burial ground moved to Wong Nei Chung and in 1869 the Canossian sisters began to occupy the old burial ground to build schools, sanctuary, nursery, orphange and what not.

I believe the 1889 notice for removal was for the Protestant Cemetery. Hong Kong Electric bought that piece of land in about 1884 and started building a power station there in 1889. The dates matches exactly.

Below is a mid-1800s map showing the two burial grounds

Mid 1800s Wanchai Map
Mid 1800s Wanchai Map, by Ashley Cheng