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Thread: Merseyside Cemetery Art

  1. #1
    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Default Merseyside Cemetery Art

    Uncle has come down for the weekend to Liverpool. Was brought up in Woolton so know's the area well. He wanted to take a trip to St Mary's Hale as he was pointed to a gravestone nearly 50 years ago and had a nagging thought to convince himself whether it was true or not.

    Had a good nose around as we were looking for a grave with a Skull and Crossbones on and eventually found it!

    Lots of the information is worn away but we've come up with a name of John Hitchmough although we couldn't come across any other information.

    Does anyone know the significance of the Skull and Crossbones on a grave like this and does anyone know of another one?


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    tattooed gt-grandma quincyg's Avatar
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    how fascinating, I notice there's a heart on it too. was he poisoned perhaps?
    Proud Scouser, with a dabbling of Welsh and Irish.

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    Default Skull and Crossbones

    This is usually the emblem that adorns the burial place of a Knights Templar,nothing to do with pirates and buccaneers,but from the peculiar manner of their burial. They were buried in sepulchres "from the centre 3feet east,3feet west,3 feet between the north and south,5 feet or more perpendicular." The lower legs were removed and crossed behind the skull. The same insignia was used on the flag of Templar ships and was called the Piebald,known to later generations as the Jolly Roger. Knights Templar still exist,ask at your local Provincial Grand Lodge.
    So mote it be
    BrianD

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    St. Michaels Garston:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post
    St. Michaels Garston:

    the water in the carving really makes it stand out. I don't normally wander around graveyards, perhaps I should start.
    Proud Scouser, with a dabbling of Welsh and Irish.

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    Be very careful, I nearly lost a foot down an unknown crevase!
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    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Bah, you try and come up with a strange grave and then they're like buses

    Graveyards are amazing places for a, a bit of quiet, and b, to go back in time.

    I've been brought up on em due to my interest in churches and being in many a church choir, they were excellent for 'off ground tick'!

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    Senior Member macateb's Avatar
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    Just guessing, but perhaps its a warning that the person inside died from the plague. ie danger, don't open.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post
    Be very careful, I nearly lost a foot down an unknown crevase!
    what you do in your private time is your business!!!

    I went around Church Gardens today. that's quite open and there were people about. I'm often wary of cemeterys.

    I don't want to bump into
    Proud Scouser, with a dabbling of Welsh and Irish.

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    Heeeeheeee!
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    maybe anoerexia is not a new thing

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    Chris48
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    This grave is on the right as you use the side entrance to the church. I noticed it last year on the day of my mothers funeral who's ashes are buried at Hale Church. I asked the same question and the consensus from my elderly relatives where that the person buried would have been a victim of the plague. I have seen another similar one at Bamburgh church in the North East where Grace Darling is buried. But they were also used on stones of men who had been freemasons apparently.
    Last edited by Chris48; 04-05-2008 at 10:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris48 View Post
    This grave is on the right as you use the side entrance to the church. I noticed it last year on the day of my mothers funeral who's ashes are buried at Hale Church. I asked the same question and the consensus from my elderly relatives where that the person buried would have been a victim of the plague. I have seen another similar one at Bamburgh church in the North East where Grace Darling is buried.
    I'm no historian on the Plague so what era are we talking about? My only reason for questioning is that while I can't read the date on the graves, it is grouped around other graves which are from the 1830-1860's era.

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    Just looked this up and found

    One meaning suggests the skull and crossbones represents the mortality of man. It can also mean death and resurrection, apparently. To show we all will die. Happy happy!

    Another theory is it has connections to the Free Masons or a local regiment some addopted this sign.

    Not sure any are true but is makes interesting reading.
    Last edited by sweetcheeks; 04-05-2008 at 11:04 AM.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.

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    Chris48
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetcheeks View Post
    Just looked this up and found

    One meaning suggests the skull and crossbones represents the mortality of man. It can also mean death and resurrection, apparently. To show we all will die. Happy happy!

    Another theory is it has connections to the Free Masons or a local regiment some addopted this sign.

    Not sure any are true but is makes interesting reading.
    Yes, another theory is that it is to remind us of mans mortality.

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    More than you'll ever want to know, from "what symbols on grave stones mean"

    THE ASSOCIATION FOR GRAVESTONE STUDIES

    SYMBOLISM IN THE CARVINGS ON OLD GRAVESTONES

    What is the meaning of the designs carved on old gravestones?
    This question is often asked by both the interested layman and
    the serious student of gravestone art. A great deal of casual
    speculation and considerable scholarly research have been devoted
    to finding answers.

    Speculative interpretations of some of the more obvious designs
    can safely be made by the insightful observer. The winged
    hourglass, for example, tells us that time flies; the hourglass
    on its side, that time has stopped for the deceased; the broken
    flower or tree, that life has been cut short. Hundreds of other
    designs invite this kind of O&W, simplistic interpretation, and a
    number of lists have been prepared which suggest to the reader
    what the symbol probably means. The best of these is included in
    a handsome book of gravestone photographs by Francis Duval and Ivan
    Rigby, Early American Gravestone Art in Photographs..

    Unfortunately, not all designs on gravestones can be interpreted
    in such a neat, uncomplicated way, and attempts to do so are
    fraught with the likelihood of error. Professional scholars
    disagree sharply about the meaning of particular designs; they
    even debate the extent to which it is possible to determine their
    meaning and significance. This healthy diversity of opinion
    stimulates interest and further study.

    Because there are few simple answers, you should, if you are
    interested in the symbolism on old gravestones, approach the
    subject with an open, inquiring attitude laced with a healthy
    skepticism. Familiarize yourself with varying scholarly opinions.
    Read literature about the work of individual carvers and about
    the life of the period. Of most importance, study the stones
    themselves. With patience and perseverance you will develop a
    good background and understanding of this fascinating subject.

    The following bibliography will help you get started:

    BOOKS
    Benes, Peter, The Masks of Orthodoxy: Folk Gravestone Carving in
    Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 1689-1805
    . The University of
    Massachusetts Press, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1977. $20,
    hardcover.

    Duval, Francis Y., and Ivan B. Rigby, Early American Gravestone
    Art in Photographs
    . Dover Publications, Inc., Nev York, 1979. $6,
    soft-cover. (See the "Alphabetical List of Gravestone Motifs, p.
    132.)

    Forbes, Harriette Merrifield, Gravestones of Early New England
    and the Men Who Made Them 1653-1800
    . The Pyne Press, Princeton,
    New Jersey, 1927 reprint, soft-cover. This book, currently out of
    print, is available in libraries. (See Chapter 11, "Symbolism,"
    pp. 113-124.)

    George, Diana Hume and Malcolm A. Nelson, Epitaph and Icon: A
    Field Guide to the Old Grounds of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard,
    and Nantucket. Parnassus Imprints, Orleans, Massachusetts, 1983.
    $12.95, soft-cover.

    Gillon, Jr., Edmund Vincent, Early New England Gravestone
    Rubbings. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1966. (See the
    "Notes on the Plates," pp. xvii-xxvi.)

    Jacobs, G.Walker, Stranger Stop and Cast an Eye. A Guide to
    Gravestones and Gravestone Rubbing. The Stephen Greene Press,
    Brattleboro, Vermont, 1972. $4.95. hardcover. (See Chapter 1, "A
    Brief History of Grave Symbols and Stonecutters," pp. 17-51.)

    Ludwig, Allan I., Graven Images: New England Stonecarving and its
    Symbols, 1650-1815
    . Wesleyan University Press, Middletown,
    Connecticut, 1966. $12.50, soft-cover. (See Chapter 2,
    "Iconography." pp. 65-238.)

    Tashjian, Dickran and Ann, Memorials for Children of Change: The
    Art of New England Stonecarving
    . Wesleyan University Press,
    Middletown, Connecticut, 1973. $20, hardcover.

    Wasserman, Emily, Gravestone Designs: Rubbings and Photographs
    from Early New York and New Jersey
    . Dover Publications, Inc., New
    York, 1972. (See Introduction, pp. 1-33, and Notes on the Plates,
    pp. I-x.)

    Willsher, Betty and Doreen Hunter, Stones: 18th Century Scottish
    Gravestones
    . Taplinger Publishing Company, New York, 1979. $7.50,
    soft-cover. (Although this excellent little book is about
    Scottish rather than American stones, the symbols are the same.)

    Williams, Melvin G.. The Last Word: The Lure and Lore of Early
    New England Graveyards
    . Oldstone Enterprises, 186 Lincoln Street,
    Suite 705, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, 1973. 39 Pages, $3.25,
    soft-cover. (This booklet includes an excellent 8 page discussion
    of symbolism which divides gravestone symbols into categories.)

    PAPERS
    Foster, Stephen C., "Gravestone Carving and Artistic Intentions
    in Essex County," Old Time New England, the bulletin of the
    Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, 141
    Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Fall 1973, pp. 43-54.
    $2.50.

    Benes, Peter, editor. Puritan Gravestone Art II, the 1978
    Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife.
    Boston University Press, 1979. $7. Four papers from this
    publication:
    Ludwig, Allan I., and David D. Hall, "Aspects of Music,
    Poetry, Stonecarving and Death in Early New England," pp.
    18-24.

    Mayer, Lance R., "An Alternative to Panofskyism: New England
    Grave Stones and the European Folk Art Tradition," pp. 5-
    17.

    Tashjian, Dickran, "Puritan Attitudes Toward Iconoclasm,"
    pp. 37-45.

    Watters, David H., "A Priest to the Temple," pp. 25-36.

    +++++++

    SYMBOLS ON GRAVESTONES AND THEIR INTERPRETATIONS
    Collection from Barbara Rotundo, Laurel Gabel, Francis Duval

    ANIMALS
    Ant-Christian industry
    Bats (rare)-the underworld
    Bee-resurrection. risen Christ; chastity
    Birds-souls
    Birds, flying-flight of the soul back to God
    Butterfly-resurrection; Christian metamorphosis
    Chrysalis-Christian metamorphosis; resurrection
    Cock-vigilance; St. Peter
    Descending dove-holy ghost
    Dove-peace; innocence; purity (7 doves-holy spirit); messenger of
    God carrying soul to heaven
    Eagle-fierceness; ascension: the heavenly conveyor, national
    emblem of the United States: the military professional,
    Civil War casualties
    Eagle, winged-St. John, the Evangelist
    Egg-regeneration
    Fish-Christ; plentifulness
    Fox-cruelty; cunning
    Frog-resurrection
    Hart-the faithful thirsting for God
    Lamb-Christ; Redeemer; meekness: sacrifice; child; innocence;
    most common 19th century child's marker
    Lamb with banner-resurrection
    Lion-strength; courage; royalty; power; guardian; fallen hero
    Lion, winged-St. Mark the Evangelist
    Ox, winged-St. Luke the Evangelist
    Peacock-immortality; eternity; resurrection; incorruptibility of
    the flesh
    Pelican-feeds young with own blood; redemption through Christ
    Phoenix-immortality; baptism
    Ram-sacrifice
    Rooster-the awakening from the fall from grace; repentance
    Sheep & goats-Christians and non-believers
    Serpent-symbol of death
    Snake-sin; Satan; fall of man
    Snake, hooped-eternity
    Snake with tail in mouth-eternity; unity
    Sphinx-lion represents strength and protection; used to guard
    entrances
    Squirrel-Christian forethought; spiritual striving
    Stag-same as hart

    FIGURES
    Angel-messenger between God & man; guide
    Angel, flying-rebirth; guardian angel
    Angel, trumpeting-call to the resurrection
    Angel, weeping-grief
    Breasts-the Divine, nourishing fluid of the soul (17th century);
    the church; the ministry; the nourishment of the soul
    Child, sleeping-Victorian death motif
    Death's head, winged-mortality
    Effigies-the soul
    Effigies, crowned-personal reward of righteousness
    Effigies, winged-the flight of the soul
    Father Time-mortality, the grim reaper
    Four Evangelists-Matthew, winged man; Mark, winged lion; Luke,
    winged ox; John, winged eagle
    Hand of God, pointing downward-mortality, sudden death
    Hand of God, pointing upward-the reward of the righteous;
    confirmation of life after death
    Hands-devotion, prayer
    Handshakes-farewell to earthly existence
    Hands clasped-in death as in life, the devotion of these two is
    not destroyed
    Imps-figures, some winged, some not, doing funeral related tasks;
    mortality
    Man, winged-St. Matthew the Evangelist
    Trumpeters-heralds of the resurrection
    Woman, weeping-mourning; recalls myth of Niobe, whom the gods
    turned to stone as she wept for her slain children

    LATIN PHRASES
    Fugit hora-"hours are fleeting", "time flies"
    IHS-monogram or symbol representing the Greek contraction of
    "Jesus": sometimes regarded as an abbreviation of the Latin
    phrase meaning "Jesus, Savior of Men"
    INRI-often seen on a banner of latin cross: "Iesus Nazarenus Rex
    Iudaeorum". Latin for Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews
    (John 12:19-22)
    Memento mori-"remember death"
    Tempus erat-"time is gone"; "time has run out"
    XP-Chi Rho-first two Greek letters of the word "Christ"

    THINGS
    Alpha & Omega-first and last letters of the Greek alphabet
    symbolizing the beginning & end of all things, see
    Revelation 22:13
    Anchor-hope, life eternal; may signify seafaring profession
    Anvil-martyrdom
    Arch-triumph, victory in death
    Ark-church; salvation
    Ark of Noah (rare)-refuge, salvation
    Armor-protection from evil
    Arrow-martyrdom, mortality
    Arrow, quiver of-warlike
    Banner-victory; triumph
    Battle-axe-martyrdom
    Bells-call to worship
    Bibles-resurrection through the scripture; the clergy
    Book-Bible; wisdom
    Books, stacked-knowledge
    Branch, severed-mortality
    Bugles-resurrection; the military profession
    Candle being snuffed-time, mortality
    Candle flame-life
    Candlestick-Christ; devotion
    Celtic cross-circle on it symbolizes eternity
    Circle-eternity; or earth
    Clock, (rare)-passage of time, mortality
    Clouds-the divine abode
    Coats of arms and crests-lineage, status
    Coffins-mortality
    Column, broken-sorrow; broken life
    Columns, doors-heavenly entrance
    Crescent moon-Virgin
    Cross-salvation
    Cross with rays of rising sun-glory
    Cross with winding sheet-descent from cross
    Crown-reward of faithful, victory, triumph, glory; righteousness;
    resurrection
    Crown on cross-sovereignty of Christ
    Crozier-bishop
    Cup-Eucharist
    Darts-mortality, dart of death
    Drapery over anything-sorrow; mourning
    Field artillery (rare)-the military profession
    Finger-pointing to heaven
    Flame-eternity
    Fleur-de-lis-Virgin; Trinity
    Flyfot-swastika
    Garlan
    Portals-passageways to the eternal journey
    Portraits-stylized likenesses of the deceased
    Pyramid-symbolic of death
    Rock-steadfastness of Christ; stability
    Rosary-devotion to Mary
    Scales-weighing of souls; justice
    Scroll-the law; Scriptures
    Scythe-time, the divine harvest
    Shell-pilgrimage: baptism of Christ
    Shell, scallop-pilgrim; pilgrim's journey; resurrection
    Ship-the Church
    Ships' profiles-the seafaring profession
    Shrine-wisdom; knowledge
    Skeletons-mortality, Death
    Skull-death; sin
    Skull, winged-flight of the soul from mortal man
    Skulls and crossbones-mortality
    Star-birth-life; Christ
    Star, five pointed-Star of Bethlehem; star of Jacob; divine
    guidance and protection
    Star, six pointed-the Father, Creation, heavenly wisdom
    Sun-God or Son
    Sun, setting-death
    Sun, rising-resurrection; renewed life
    Suns, moons and stars-the reward of the resurrection
    Sword-martyrdom; courage; warfare
    Swords, crossed-high ranking military person
    Three points, three leaves, three of any thing-Trinity
    Tombs-mortality
    Torch-zeal; enlightenment
    Torch, inverted-extinction of life; death; mourning
    Torch, upright-immortality, liberty, upright life, the scholastic
    world, the betrayal of Christ
    Trumpet-day of judgment; resurrection
    Urn-soul; mortality
    Urn, draped-death, sorrow
    Winged wheel-holy spirit
    Yoke-burden-bearing; service; patience

    TREES AND PLANTS
    Almond-favor from God; Virgin birth
    Apple-sin; Eve
    Bellflower-gratitude
    Bouquets-condolences, grief
    Buds-renewal of life
    Cedar-strong faith; length of days; success
    Cypress-sorrow; death; eternal life, Roman symbol for mourning
    Easter lily-modern flower symbolic of resurrection
    Evergreens-immortality
    Flower-brevity of earthly existence, sorrow; certain flowers may
    symbolize emotions, particular aspirations, attitudes, both
    religious and secular
    Flower, broken-premature death
    Fruit-eternal plenty
    Fruit and vine-Jesus Christ; the Christian church
    Gourds-the coming to be and passing away of all earthly matters
    Ivy-abiding memory, friendship, fidelity
    Laurel-victory, triumph, glory
    Lily, lilies-resurrection, purity
    Lotus-Egyptian water lily and ornament
    Oak-supernatural power and strength; eternity
    Olive-peace; healing faith
    Palm-spiritual victory over death; martyrdom; reward of the
    righteous; peace; a plant whose leaves resemble a hand
    Pineapple-hospitality
    Pomegranate-immortality; resurrection; unity; nourishment of the
    soul
    Poppy-symbolic of sleep, therefore, death
    Roses-condolonce, sorrow; the brevity of earthly existence; of
    English descent--the Tudor rose
    Sheaves of wheat-time, the divine harvest
    Strawberry-righteousness; humility
    Thistle-of Scottish descent; the inevitability of death,
    remembrance
    Tree-faith; life; the Tree of Life
    Tree, felled-mortality
    Tree trunk, broken-premature death
    Vine-Christian church; Christ; wine, the symbolic blood of Jesus;
    the sacraments
    Wheat sheaves-the divine harvest
    Willow, weeping-grief; death (carried at Masonic funerals);
    earthly sorrow, the symbolic tree of human sadness, Nature's
    lament
    Wreath-victory in death, indestructible crown worn by triumphant
    Christian; eternity
    Wreath worn by skull-victory of death over life
    Yew-immortality
    Christopher T. George
    Editor, Ripperologist
    Editor, Loch Raven Review
    http://christophertgeorge.blogspot.com/
    Chris on Flickr and on MySpace

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    tattooed gt-grandma quincyg's Avatar
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    nipped into St Austin's grave yard today on Aigburth Rd. I'd stopped to take photos of the old bollards and thought I'd be brave and go in as it was only small and quite open to the main road.

    there were some interestingly shaped stones and even a white WW1 one, this inscription caught my eye


    I thought of starting an interesting grave stones thread, but maybe that's a bit morbid?
    Proud Scouser, with a dabbling of Welsh and Irish.

    bore yourself silly at my Flickr page...anorak central!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post
    Be very careful, I nearly lost a foot down an unknown crevase!
    Who do you think you are with one foot in the grave, Victor Meldrew?


    [QUOTE=quincyg;i'd stopped to take photos of the old bollards[/quote]

    That's no way either to talk about the private parts of the dead!

    www.inacityliving.piczo.com/

    Updated weekly with old and new pics.

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    tattooed gt-grandma quincyg's Avatar
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    ahem, yes I could have phrased that better,
    Proud Scouser, with a dabbling of Welsh and Irish.

    bore yourself silly at my Flickr page...anorak central!

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quincyg View Post
    nipped into St Austin's grave yard today on Aigburth Rd. I'd stopped to take photos of the old bollards and thought I'd be brave and go in as it was only small and quite open to the main road.

    there were some interestingly shaped stones and even a white WW1 one, this inscription caught my eye


    I thought of starting an interesting grave stones thread, but maybe that's a bit morbid?
    Thank you, quincy. You will note that I have retitled the thread. Indeed, I encourage you to take more photographs of the unusual and interesting gravestones and sculpture in Merseyside cemeteries. It should all prove very interesting. Many thanks in advance for your help!!!

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
    Editor, Ripperologist
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    http://christophertgeorge.blogspot.com/
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    tattooed gt-grandma quincyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    Thank you, quincy. You will note that I have retitled the thread. Indeed, I encourage you to take more photographs of the unusual and interesting gravestones and sculpture in Merseyside cemeteries. It should all prove very interesting. Many thanks in advance for your help!!!

    Chris
    okie dokie,
    Proud Scouser, with a dabbling of Welsh and Irish.

    bore yourself silly at my Flickr page...anorak central!

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