Andrew Spray tidies up around the grave of John Witty. The man Witty’s Lagoon was named after is buried in St. Mary the Virgin church cemetery. Spray will be one of the guides offering cemetery tours Aug. 18.

Dead and buried bring Metchosin history to life

Wander through the St. Mary the Virgin church cemetery and meet the pioneers of Metchosi

Wander through the St. Mary the Virgin church cemetery and meet the pioneers of Metchosin.

St. Mary volunteers will host tours telling tales of memorable residents laid to rest on the grounds. Among them is Metchosin’s first midwife, Mary Ann Vine.

“She would walk out to Sooke to deliver a baby and one day when coming back from Sooke she saw a cougar who had just killed a deer. She scared off the cougar and packed the deer home,” said Andrew Spray, a volunteer tour guide.

Vine, who lived on Glen Rosa Farm near Matheson Lake, died in 1907 at the age of 82.

 

John Witty, the man Witty’s Lagoon is named after, is also buried there. He donated the money for the St. Mary the Virgin church and cemetery to be built. After being kicked by a horse, he died two days before the church was consecrated.

 

“The first service in the church was John Witty’s funeral,” said Spray.

The small cemetery is packed with stories and interesting facts the volunteers want to share from the graves of both First and Second World War veterans to the very first boy scout in the world, Lord Rodney who was born Nov. 2, 1891 and died Dec. 18, 1973.

“The history of Metchosin is totally tied up in here,” said volunteer Werner Faust.

Plots are still available for purchase, but only to long-time residents and church members.

“People who come to the tour may be in here one day,” said volunteer Doug Ruth.

The free cemetery tours run on Aug. 18 from 2 to 5 p.m. and are open to the public.

 

For more information contact Gaert Linnaea, heritage committee chair, at 350-381-5752 or linnaea1@telus.net.

 

Did you know?

 

 

 

n The St. Mary the Virgin church was the first church in Metchosin.

n It was the third Anglican church on Vancouver Island.

n The church opened in 1873.

n It is an official heritage site in Metchosin.