In a quiet, sleepy churchyard in the village of Whitchurch near Symonds Yat West, there is an unexpected reference to one of Canada’s early founders. John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Canada — not to mention founder of Toronto — is commemorated on a plaque near the family mausoleum of his beloved wife, Elizabeth Gwillim. Elizabeth came from a prominent local land-owning family. They occupied a grand house, Old Court, now a hotel. They were great supporters of St. Dubricius Church.
There is a second, familial Canadian connection here: Elizabeth’s father, Lieutenant Thomas Gwillim, served under General Wolfe at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham! Tragically he died before his daughter was born, so he was never to know that she would occupy a prominent position in the new British colony of Upper Canada!