I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
stones have been used for centuries to mark graves. Many times the stone was
laid in the floor of the cathedral or church to mark the burial spot of an
important person. An inscription was usually chiseled into the top, which was
adorned with intricate designs or a family coat of arms.
stones were made of black marble, white marble or Sussex marble, a fossilized
limestone type of rock. Alabaster was popular for cathedral floors as was
slate. Ledger stones were susceptible to wear when placed flush with a church
floor but this designation indicated someone who had found favor within the
church. Today, bronze and marble are popular for ledger tops.
gravestones lie flat on the ground. Full ledger stones cover the entire top of
the grave. Ledger stones were also fitted on top of box or chest graves, and
table or pedestal tombs.
Box and Chest Tombs
Box Tombs in Perryville Kentucky
and chest tombs were popular during the early and middle 1800s. These rectangular
boxes were usually made of local materials, usually stone or brick. Box
tombs were smaller in size than chest tombs. In England, a box tomb designated
someone of a poorer background. In the U.S., the size of the tomb did not have
a hidden meaning. If the chest tomb was placed on a large flat base, it was
known as an alter tomb. The body was not placed in either the box or chest but
was buried underneath the memorial. The ledger stone could be heavily designed
or left unadorned.
Pedestal and Table Tombs
pedestal tomb is taller than a chest tomb and can come in several shapes
including square, round, oval and three cornered.
Table Stone Marker
table tomb has a raised ledger top, which looks like a tabletop, and is
supported by four columns or legs that rest on a landing stone.
of these grave markers were popular during the first part of the Nineteenth
century. Today, ledger stones are once again in demand as cemeteries encourage
monuments to be flush to the ground making lawn maintenance easier.