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Cemetery inscriptions explained

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Carvings and inscriptions on gravestones explained

Mainly Church of Ireland

  • Anchors and Ships--- Hope or Seafaring profession
  • Arches---Victory in Death
  • Arrows---Mortality
  • Bouquets/flowers---condolences, grief, sorrow
  • Broken Column---Loss of head of family
  • Broken Ring---Family circle severed
  • Buds/Rosebud---Morning of life or renewal of life
  • Bugles---Resurrection and the military
  • Butterfly---Short-lived; early death
  • Candle being Snuffed---Time, mortality
  • Hand of God Chopping---Sudden death
  • Cherub---Angelic
  • Corn---Ripe old age
  • Cross---Emblem of faith
  • Crossed Swords---High-ranking military person
  • Darts--Mortality
  • Doves---The Soul, purity, innocence, affection, gentleness
  • Father Time---Mortality, The Grim Reaper
  • Flowers---Brevity of early existence, sorrow
  • Flying Birds---Flight of the soul
  • Fruits---Eternal plenty
  • Full-Blown Rose---Prime of life
  • Garlands---Victory in death
  • Imps---Mortality
  • Hands of God Chopping---Sudden Death
  • Handshakes---Farewell to earthly existence
  • Harp---Praise to the Maker
  • Hearts---Soul in bliss or love of Christ
  • Horns---The Resurrection
  • Hourglass---Swiftness of time
  • Hourglass w/Wings of Time---Time flying; short life
  • Ivy---Friendship and immortality
  • Lamb---Innocence
  • Laurel---Fame or victory
  • Lily or Lily of Valley---Emblem of innocence and purity
  • Morning Glory---Beginning of life
  • Oak Leaves & Acorn---Maturity, ripe old age
  • Open Book/Bible---Deceased teacher, minister, etc.
  • Palm Branch---Signifies victory and rejoicing
  • Picks and Shovels---Mortality
  • Poppy---Sleep
  • Portals---Passageway to eternal journey
  • Roses---Brevity of earthly existence
  • Sheaf of Wheat---Ripe for harvest, divine harvest time
  • Shells---Pilgrimage of life
  • Stars & Stripes Around Eagle---Eternal vigilance, liberty
  • Suns---The Resurrection
  • Thistles---Remembrance
  • Tombs---Mortality
  • Torch Inverted---Life extinct
  • Trees---Life
  • Tree Stump w/Ivy---Head of family; immortality
  • Trumpeters--- Heralds of the resurrection
  • Urn with Blaze---Undying friendship
  • Urn with /wreath or crepe---mourning
  • Weeping Willow---Emblem of sorrow
  • Willows---Eternal sorrow
  • Winged Effigies---Flight of the soul

Links and resources

start_page/3steps-matches.png Irish Portal