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A place to honour for history 

PAGE 19

Situated in the heart of Puerto de la Cruz, next to the headquarters of the National Police, in an area surrounded by hotels, we find a place where several generations of foreigners who settled in this tourist town were finally laid to rest.

Finding the cemetery is not easy because it lies behind a large white wall, without any identification other than a small sign which shows it is an English cemetery, having access down a small path which leads directly to it.

Today, the cemetery is a place where the colour is predominantly white, tidy and clean, which unfortunately was not always the case because over many years, it suffered from the adverse effects of neglect.

In the late 80s of the last century, there was an important restoration of this iconic space in order to preserve its history which had disgracefully been abandoned for way too long.

Recovery of the English Cemetery at Puerto de la Cruz owes much to the great effort made over many years by the Anglican church of All Saints and the contributions made by the church and its parishioners to meet the expenses of maintaining the site.

The local council of Puerto de la Cruz has also undertaken the placement of benches in this open space and realised various reforms and improvements.

In conversation with the present Chaplain of All Saints Church, the Rev Mike Smith, he pointed out the noticeable reduction in the number of people buried here as in many cases and increasingly so, English people prefer to opt for cremation.

In this regard, in 2013, only three people were buried in the English cemetery of Puerto de la Cruz, creating a pattern which has been developed in recent years; in 2012, there were only three burials and only four in 2011.

At this moment, there is no-one of Spanish nationality buried here but in the future, we can expect those of Canary nationality as many currently attend the services at All Saints.

The English Cemetery at Puerto de la Cruz can be visited daily.

Perhaps in the future, the cemetery may not be able to accommodate more burials and a new site may have to be found in Puerto. Today, we see approximately 462 graves, with a total of approximately 600 people.

This is very much a site which needs to be preserved for history as it is a substantial reflection of the history of Puerto de la Cruz and needs to count on more support from the official authorities.

 

The English Cemetery

This is where the Anglican presence first became formalised in Tenerife.

As a result of the seventeenth century trading agreements, the Dutch here had freedom of religion, which was not the case on the mainland peninsula.

By the eighteenth century, with the growth of the northern European trading community, there was a need for a non-Roman Catholic cemetery and so part of the present cemetery was ceded to trustees.

Ever since, it has been available for burials for those of any faith, or none.

It has been enlarged, and it is now administered through All Saints’ Parish Church Council.

Full interments are possible, as are the deposition of cremated remains. Records of all the burials have been kept and are available for inspection by those researching family history. There may be an administration fee for such searches.

Burials, at present, are infrequent; this does lead to difficulty in retaining a maintenance fund, but the premises are kept in good order and reasonable repair by subsidy from parish funds. A group of volunteers keeps the grounds tidy. Recently a ramp has been installed to make access easier with a wheel-chair and the whole cemetery has been replastered and repainted.

For your added interest, this is the information about the cemetery on the All Saints Church website on www.allsaintstenerife.com