Preserving Watler’s Cemetery

Watler’s Cemetery could be included in the World Monument Fund’s Watch List for 2014.

The National Trust for the Cayman Islands, which owns and cares for the property, hopes to raise funding assistance for socio-historical and archaeological research as well as technical investigation into its restoration and conservation.

The heritage gem cemetery was becoming overgrown with vegetation, so law firm Mourant Ozannes with its commitment to support the built and natural environment stepped up to help. Earlier this month, volunteers from the firm along with the Historic Programme Committee of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands and the chairman of the trust’s George Town district committee, cleared an overgrown portion of the historic site at Prospect in Grand Cayman.

The cemetery walls were heavily overgrown with beach scaveola, sea grape branches, cockspur vine and other vegetation that was undermining the structure of this important heritage site. Volunteers also weeded and raked the sand around the graves to tidy up the site.

“Watler’s Cemetery is an important part of the heritage of the Cayman Islands and is particularly notable as one of the few cemeteries in the world where each grave has a house-like structure built on top of it,” said Morven McMillan, Mourant Ozannes partner who joined the clean up operation. “We were delighted to help the National Trust clear the site so that its historical significance can be properly assessed and of course, to help restore it as a place of contemplation, as befits a final resting place of former members of this community.”

The National Trust relies heavily on volunteer support in managing its historic sites portfolio.

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