Protestant Cemetery in Penang

Georgetown Attractions

Protestant Cemetery is the oldest Christian cemetery in Penang. Not far from the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, it is also called Northam Road Cemetery and was set up in the 18th-century for British colonial administrators, traders and missionaries that arrived after Penang’s establishment in 1786.

The Protestant church’s earliest grave is that of Captain Francis Light (one of the fathers of British colonialism in Southeast Asia). Other graves include those of James Richardson Logan (editor of the Penang Gazette) and Reverend Hutchings (early leader of St. George’s Church and founder of the Penang Free School). Movie buffs will be interested to know that Thomas Leonowens is buried here: he was 31 years-old when he passed away in 1859, leaving his widow stranded in the East. He was the husband of Anna, the self-same Anna of The King & I or Anna & the King fame.

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Mature frangipani trees sweeten the air for those who want to stroll along and check out the graves at the Protestant Cemetery (some with beautiful tombstones) of noteworthy figures from Penang's early years. Some of the simple, square-ish tombstones are in a state of disrepair (Captain Light's tomb is surprisingly simple), but there are plenty that are huge and ornate affairs.

You will notice that many of those buried here died young: this is because there was a severe malaria outbreak after the clearing of the forests.

The Protestant Cemetery was the most widely used graveyard until the Western Road Cemetery was created in the late 19th century: since then the Protestant cemetery stopped accepting new burials.

To get to the Protestant Cemetery you can take Rapid Penang’s free shuttle bus service to Lebuh Muntri Station: from there walk north along Penang Road until the junction of Northam Road. The burial grounds are located on the left-hand side of the road.

Protestant Cemetery

  • Location: Northam Road (Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah), Georgetown
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