Nearly 300-Year-Old Cemetery in West Caln is Bursting with History, Making it a Chester County ‘Hidden Gem’ 


St. John’s Episcopal Church
Although an unlikely destination spot for a weekend outing, St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Caln is bursting with history.

St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Caln has a historic cemetery, making it a hidden gem in Chester County, writes Bill Rettew for The Daily Local News

The church was founded in 1729, along the main road from Philadelphia to Lancaster. There are over 3,500 tombstones in the graveyard, with one of the earliest stones belonging to George Boyd, dating back to 1731.  

During renovations, sixty stones were dug up and set straight with a new foundation. All upright stones have been thoroughly cleaned. 

Kings Highway, which sits outside the front of the church, used to be a Native American trail. The road was once called “Old Peter’s Road,” after Peter Bezellon, a trader and interpreter who is now buried there.

While the church was founded in 1729, it was rebuilt as a stone building (as it currently stands today) in 1835 by Edward Buchanan, the brother of Pennsylvania’s only president. 

Veterans of the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, and Spanish-American War are all buried in the cemetery at St. John’s. 

In 2029, the church will be celebrating its 300th anniversary. A small group is spearheading a 3- to 5-year project to conserve the historical cemetery.  

Read more about the historic charm of St. John’s Episcopal Church at The Daily Local News


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