Dr. Perry’s Tomb

The old churchyard on the grounds of the parish church of St Helena is the final resting place for many prominent and notable residents of the parish. A notable tomb is pictured here.

We only know it to be the grave of Dr. Perry. His first name isn’t listed in church records and the official guide to the cemetery notes that Dr. Perry requested an above ground tomb because of a common fear in Beaufort around the mid 19th century. The fear that you could be buried alive.

Dr. Perry gave the following instructions to his relatives, “If I pass away, bury me with a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and a pickax. Should I wake up and find myself inside, I shall drink the wine, eat the bread and dig myself out.” We know that the Doctor passed away as a result of a yellow fever outbreak in town in 1845.

His family honored his request and placed all be asked for in his tomb. And just in case he had been buried alive, they sealed his tomb door in wood so he could break out. As time passed, his family knew he was really gone and they removed the wood and bricked up his exit.

***The story of the tomb of Dr. Perry is featured in St. Helena Parish Church visitor handout that tells the story of those interred in the churchyard.


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