The first St. Matthew’s Church stood here. It was in that early building that the Colonial Clock (now in the Old County Courthouse) was first installed. The grassy area near Churton street contains early graves whose gravestones have vanished. The cemetery contains the graves of some of Hillsborough’s most noted individuals and families. Family names such as Richards, Graham, Berry, Phillips, Nash, Brown, Hooker, Webb-long, and Hooper-Hogg-Norwood are engraved on the 184 original markers.
Records date to 1757, but local lore indicates that the area was used as an informal graveyard since before 1754 when the town of Hillsborough was established.
(from cemetery brochure) The cemetery consists of two parts with different histories. The eastern half, now dotted with a few scattered tombstones, was the original burial ground. In August 2016, the Hillsborough Cemetery Committee undertook a ground-penetrating radar survey that located more than 100 possible unmarked graves. The more crowded western half consists of 11 private cemeteries as well as individual tombs. Walls of fieldstone, brick or hedgerows were added to delineate the plots, as well as to protect them from stray pigs and cows. The private graveyards had their own fencing. Today, the cemetery is nearly encircled by stone walls dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries.