Plymouth Burial Hill is a historic cemetery or burying ground in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the burial site of several Pilgrims, early passengers on the Mayflower and first settlers of Plymouth Colony in 1620. The cemetery was founded in the 17th century and is located off Leyden Street, the first street in Plymouth.

The first Pilgrim burial ground was on nearby Cole's Hill in 1620-21. Originally, the Pilgrims constructed a fort on top of Burial Hill in 1621-22 (a reconstruction exists in nearby Plimoth Plantation). The Burial Hill fort also served as a meeting house for the colony and for First Parish Church in Plymouth until 1677. According to tradition, the first grave on Burial Hill was Pilgrim John Howland's. However, he did not die until 1672; other people claimed to be buried there died considerably earlier.

First Parish's congregation currently meets in an 1899 church building at the base of Burial Hill on the town square, near where it first met in 1621.

Cemetery Notes[]

Burial Hill is the second cemetery in Plymouth, preceded by the Coles Hill Burial Ground. The exact date as to when this ground became used as a cemetery is not known. There are no written records of the earliest burials. The earliest grave markers were made of wood, and none exist today. The site was used as a fort from 1621 until 1676. The earliest engraved headstone marks the grave of Edward Gray, who died in 1681. There are only 7 headstones that precede 1700.

The "Friends of Burial Hill" have done a tremendous amount of work to improve and preserve this site for future generations.

The "Plymouth Antiquarian Society" conduct free guided tours on the first Saturday of every month (except January).

The Earliest grave markers were of carved wood, and do not survive today. Stone Markers were likely used starting in the mid-seventeenth century. Today, the oldest known stone on Burial Hill is that of Edward Gray, 1681.

These early stone markers are valuable historic documents, and many are irreplaceable works of folk art. As you walk through Burial Hill, please remember that this is historic and sacred ground, which deserves care and respect. Many stones have a better chance of survival if they are not touched. We appreciate your cooperation.

Notable Monuments and Landmarks[]

  1. Cushman Memorial is located on Plymouth Burial Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts and is dedicated to Robert Cushman (1577-1625) and his family - people were very influential in organizing the 1620 voyage of Mayflower and its pilgrim passengers to settle Plymouth Colony. is a granite column, twenty-five feet high, and it is by far the most conspicuous monument on "Burial Hill" in Plymouth MA.
  2. Adoniram Judsom Memorial, Christian missionary to Asia who died in at sea near Burma.

Notable Burials[]

  1. Mary Allerton (1616-1699), Pilgrim, last surviving Mayflower passenger


  1. William Bradford (1590-1657), Pilgrim, Governor of Plymouth Colony
  2. William Brewster (1567-1644), Leading Church Elder of the Mayflower pilgrims


  1. John Churchill (1657-1723) -
  2. John Churchill (1691-1730) -
  3. Francis Cooke (1583-1663), Pilgrim, Mayflower Passenger


  1. Rebecca Delano (1657-1709) -
  2. Edward Doty (bef1600-1655), Mayflower passenger
  3. John Drew (1642-1721) - English immigrant, fleeing the English Civil War


  1. John Howland (1592-1672), Pilgrim, Mayflower passenger


  1. Ephraim Morton (1648-1732)
  2. Hannah Morton (1677-1715) - md Capt Benjamin Warren


  1. Thomas Prence, Colonial Governor


  1. Zabdiel Sampson, Congressman
  2. Squanto (c1585-1622) - Patuxet indian guide and interpreter (unmarked grave)


  1. James Warren, Patriot leader
  2. Mercy Otis Warren, author
  3. Richard Warren, Pilgrim, Mayflower Passenger
  4. Elizabeth Walker Warren, Pilgrim, Anne Passenger
  5. Benjamin Warren (1670-1746) - 1716 militia leader

External Links[]


Mayflower 2016a.jpg