The Dutch Cemetery
The Dutch connection of Fort Kochi does not end with the above mentioned two churches. Down the road from St Francis Church, that runs parallel to the beach, stands the Dutch Cemetery. The cemetery, which was consecrated in 1724, is believed to be the oldest in the country.
The cemetery, built in the style of the Dutch architecture of the time, is surrounded by walls and the year 1724 is engraved on the entrance pillar. The epitaphs and tombs, numbering 104, carry the authentic records of hundreds of people of Dutch and British nationality.
Many of the tombs are made of granite and red laterite and have no cross. There are big as well as small tombstones and the inscriptions on the epitaphs are in the old Dutch script.
The cemetery is now managed by the Church of South India (CSI). The St. Francis CSI Church of Fort Kochi maintains a record of the people buried here. According to T W Venn, who published the book St Francis Church, Cochin, the last person who was laid to rest in this cemetery was Captain Joseph Ethelbert Winckler. His burial took place in 1913.
Though the cemetery is kept closed most of the time, it is opened on request by visitors.