Showing posts with label grave markers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grave markers. Show all posts

Friday, July 10, 2020

Ledger, Box and Table-type Grave Markers

Ledger Stones

Ledger Stone in the Cathedral in Barcelona
Ledger 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.

Ledger 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.

Ledger 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
Box 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
A pedestal tomb is taller than a chest tomb and can come in several shapes including square, round, oval and three cornered.
Table Stone Marker
A 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.

All 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.
 ~ Joy

Friday, November 20, 2015

13 Grave Markers With Descriptions

It is amazing, the different shapes and styles of cemetery stones you can find in the graveyard. Here is a list of some of the most common, and some of the more unique.

Box Tomb
Box Tombs

This is a rectangular shaped above ground grave marker, sometimes constructed of brick or stone with four sides and a slab top. There is no “floor,” and the body is buried below ground. This style is very popular in the eastern and southern parts of the U.S.

White Bronze Cradle Grave
Cradle Grave Marker
Curbing, or small walls, surround the grave and usually incorporates the headstone in the design. The interior was then filled with live flowers. Many now sprout weeds since left unattended; others have been filled with concrete to keep a “clean” look about them. Despite the name, a cradle grave does not indicate that a child is buried here. Today, they are called kerbed headstones.

Flat Stone

Flat Headstones

These markers lay directly on the ground, which makes mowing easier. You will find many of these were created from cement with names and dates hand-carved into the marker during the Depression years.

Gateway Arch

Gateway Headstone
This stone is usually seen on the graves of a married couple. It is made up of two columns connected by an arch. It also known as “The Portal to Eternity.”

Grave House
Grave Houses
A grave house is a building constructed over a grave to protect it from the elements and, at one time, grave robbers. The structure resembles a tiny house with walls and a roof; many have small windows and a door. Others have tiny openings, which are known as spirit windows. 

Individualistic Markers

These began with angels and lions, guarding mausoleums and above ground markers. Today, they take a decidedly personal approach as seen by these figures and icons representing the souls of those whose graves they mark.

Ledger Stone
Ledger with Cut-Away
Flat Ledger Stone
This flat, rectangular stone is laid directly upon the ground and covers the grave completely. The top is used for inscriptions or cut out designs.

Monolith Marker
Monolith Stone
This is an upright stone placed upon a base. It is very common in the cemetery.

These four-sided towering spires were popular in the 19th century and were a part of the Egyptian Revival Movement; notice the top tapers into the shape of a pyramid. These stones usually mark the graves of those who had standing, and money, in the community.

Pulpit Gravestone
Pulpit Stone
Pulpit Tree Stone
This stone has a slanted surface and resembles a lectern. They may also look like an open book. Many people assume that the book is a bible but not necessarily; it can also represent “The Book of Life.”

There are several variations of this marker but all take their influences from the Egyptian Revival Movement of the 19th Century. The style is still considered rare in cemeteries.

Detailed Sarcophagus
This stone receptacle is placed on a pedestal and has inscriptions and designs engraved upon it. This marker was very popular from the latter part of the 19th Century up until the 1950s in the U.S.

Tree Stone
WOW Emblem

Tree Stone
These carved markers resemble tree trunks or stumps with vining ivy, severed branches, and other icons that tell a story about the person buried there. The tree stone was adopted by Modern Woodmen of America and Woodmen of the World, but a stone does not signify that someone belonged to either organization unless their emblem is on it.
Now, head out to a cemetery this weekend and see what you discover.

~ Joy

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Stone Markers of the Cemetery

Stonecutter in Stone
Stonecutting, or stonemasonry, has existed for thousands of years. From cathedrals and cities to monuments and gravestones, carvers have worked to shape something of beauty from the stone around them.


Taj Mahal
Some of the most famous stonemasonry includes the Egyptian Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, the Easter Island statues, and Stonehenge.

In the US, Vermont is known for its granite quarries and the work of its carvers can be seen in cemeteries throughout the state.
Rock of Ages Quarry

Such examples exist in Barre, Vermont, known as the “Granite Capital of the World,” and home to Rock of Ages Quarry, the largest deep hole granite quarry in the world.

Hope Cemetery Granite Stone
Granite Bi-Plane
Hope Cemetery in Barre is filled with over 10,000 tombstones and memorials, most carved from local Barre Grey granite. 

19th Century Stone Carvers
Stone Masons
By the close of the 19th Century, skilled sculptures from around the world were coming to the US to become a part of the growing stonemasonry industry.

Although gravestones can be crafted from just about any material, there are three types of natural rock that can be carved and used for markers - igneous rock, metamorphic rock, and sedimentary rock.

Granite is an igneous intrusive rock consisting of mica, quartz and feldspar, usually ranging from pink to grey in color. It is a hard stone and one of the most difficult to carve requiring skill to sculpt by hand.

Alexander MacDonald
Kensal Green Cemetery
Alexander MacDonald of Aberdeen, Scotland carved the first polished granite tombstone using his invention of steam-powered cutting and dressing tools.  The stone was erected at Kensal Green Cemetery near London, England in 1833.

Queen Victoria & Prince Albert
Royal Mausoleum
During the next 50 years, MacDonald perfected his carving techniques on granite. The most prestigious granite monument was the Royal Mausoleum in England, located on the grounds of Frogmore, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are buried. MacDonald’s techniques were later discarded when better machinery became available in the 1880s.

Metamorphic Rocks

Metamorphic rocks make up a large part of the earth’s surface and include marble, slate and quartzite. Gravestones are usually fashioned from marble and slate.

Marble is a recrystallized form of limestone and 
Carrera Quary
Block of Marble
is easy to carve. Marble can range in color from blue/black to white depending on what part of the world it comes from. Italy is known for its Carrera marble- a white or bluish gray color. Sweden produces a green marble, while Tuscan marble can range from red to yellow with violet in it. Pure white marble can be found in Greece and near Marble, Colorado in the US.

Marble Soldier
Older Marble
Marble monuments and gravestones became popular during the early part of the 19th Century. Unfortunately, acid rain can cause damage to the stones over time, making the inscriptions difficult to read.

Slate is the finest grained metamorphic rock. Although very strong, it has a tendency to split. Slate is usually gray in color, but can also be purple, green or a combination of the two.

Slate Gravestone
Slate was commonly used for monuments and gravestones, and when carved carefully a slate marker can have very sharp details.

Slate Quarry
Slate quarries could be found in the US in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and New York, sometimes referred to as Slate Valley.

St Peter's Cathedral

Sedimentary Quarry
Sedimentary stone can be limestone or sandstone. Most of the world’s most famous buildings have been built with these rocks including St Peter’s Cathedral, and the Roman Arena in Italy, the cliff dwellings in Colorado, and practically the entire town of Hot Springs, South Dakota.

Limestone comes from all over the world, but Lawrence County Indiana is known as having the highest quality quarried limestone in the US.

National Cathedral
Indiana limestone was also used for bridges, statues, memorials and buildings, most notably the Empire State Building, the National Cathedral, Biltmore Estates and the United States Holocaust Museum.

Older Limestone Marker
Older Limestone Grave Marker
During the 19th and 20th centuries, limestone monuments, mausoleums and gravestones were very popular, but after the discovery of the effect of acid rain on the stone, limestone is not used nearly as much.

Limestone Marker for a Carver
WW I Soldier in Limestone
For some excellent examples of limestone grave markers a visit to Green Hill Cemetery in Bedford Indiana is in order. Hundreds of carvings, statues, sculptures and engravings exist in minute detail, thanks to limestone’s ability to weather well

Federal Reserve Bank in Sandstone

Sandstone Quarry
Sandstone can also be found worldwide, usually around bodies of water or desert areas with sand. Composed of sand-sized minerals and rock grains, it has been used to build palaces and buildings; Ohio sandstone was used in the construction of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Sandstone Grave Marker
Sandstone is resistive to the elements but easy to carve making it a favorite of carvers for gravestones during the 17th to 19th Centuries.

Lettered Fieldstone
Fieldstone with Initials and Date
Fieldstone is just that, stone found in a nearby field or woods that is used to mark a grave. These were some of our earliest grave markers. In later times, those who could not afford to purchase a gravestone used fieldstone. Many times the deceased’s name and date of death was carved into the rock, but due to the elements and time, most inscriptions are difficult to red, if they remain at all.

Stone markers are just another reason wandering through a cemetery can be such an adventure, and a delight. Especially when you hope to "leave no stone unturned."

~ Joy