TREES

A common symbol on gravestones trees have different interpretations on what they represent.

  • The tree is a symbol of life; regeneration, regrowth and renewal
  • It reflects human fruition or frailty
  • Like a tree, man reaches towards Heaven
  • The tree can also represent man’s sin with reference to the Garden of Eden
  • Trees also represent knowledge, life, and time.

If a tree is felled it reflects death and mortality .

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A tree trunk denotes the brevity of life, and the number of broken branches can indicate deceased family members buried at the site.

A severed or broken branch symbolizes a life cut short.

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Each species of tree has a symbolic meaning:

  • CEDAR TREE   Consecration; Length of days; Strong faith; Success
  • CYPRESS   Death; Eternal life; Hope; Mourning; Sorrow; Roman symbol for mourning
  • DOGWOOD   Christianity; Divine sacrifice; Resurrection; Triumph of eternal life
  • EVERGREENS   Immortality
  • HAWTHORN   Hope; Merriness; Spring
  • HOLLY    Foresight
  • MULBERRY    I will not survive you
  • OLIVE TREE   Healing faith; Peace
  • OLIVE BRANCH   Forgiveness; Humanity; Peace
  • PINE    Fertility; Fidelity; Regeneration,
  • YEW   Eternal life; Immortality; Sadness
  • WILLOW   Human life

A sprouting tree represents a new beginning in the afterlife.

Sometimes the gravestone may be replaced with a ‘tree stone’ in the shape of a tree stump or log sculptured to resemble wood. This symbol is mostly used by the Woodmen of the World Fraternity.

Campbellville B Ground

When the trunk is leaning it represents mourning. Sometimes a tree stump will be shown with an ivy plant. It often relates to a premature death but can also represent immortality.

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God’s Creatures

The symbol of a fish represents faith, life and plentifulness. It is a recognized symbol of Christianity often referred to as a Jesus Fish.

Horses symbolize courage, death, and strangely, generosity. More specifically a white horse represents good and a black horse represents evil. Horseshoes were believed to be a protection against evil, and in present day are considered lucky.

The meek trait of a rabbit is recognized in the symbolism of gentleness, humility, and self-sacrifice.

rabbit

A squirrel represents religious meditation and spiritual striving.

Squirrel_MIlton Evergreen

In the world of Memento Mori, the crocodile was a symbol of evil. They were hung from the ceilings of cabinets as a reminder of the mortality of humanity.

Crocodile

The Mylne Tomb

In the historic cemetery known as Greyfriar’s Kirkyard in Edinburgh is the tomb of the Mylne family who were architects and master masons to the Kings of Scotland. Enclosed with an iron fence the memorial is attached to the east wall of a tenement building on Candlemaker Row. The tomb contains the remains of John Mylne, Robert Mylne, William Mylne and Thomas Mylne.

geograph ccl kim traynor
Creative Commons License, Kim Traynor. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2034883

The pediment at the top of the memorial hosts two cherubs flanking the heraldic shield of the Mylne family identified by a knight’s armoured helmet, and a shield containing a Patonce cross with three 5 point stars.

Directly beneath the shield is a grotesque representing a dragon. Additional examples of Memento Mori are present in winged effigies, skulls, an hourglass and crossed torches.

Greyfriars_grotesques

The main inscription written in Latin is displayed in Drapery held in the mouth of a ram:
“John Mylne, who, at the expiry of fifty-five years of this frail life, sleeps softly here, sixth Master-Mason to the King of the family of Mylne, of remarkable skill in the building art, frequently Deacon-Convener of the Trades of Edinburgh, the circumspect and faithful representative of the metropolis on several occasions in the public Parliament of the Kingdom; a man adorned with gifts of mind above his condition in life, of a remarkably handsome person, upright, sagacious, pious, universally respected.
Robert, his brother’s son, emulous of his virtues, as well as his successor in office, has, out of gratitude, erected this monument, such as it is, to his uncle. He died 24th Dec. 1667, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.

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John Mylne’s character is described in a smaller shield:
Great artisan, grave senator, John Mylne,
Renown’d for learning, prudence, parts, and skill,
Who in his life Vitruvius’ art had shown,
Adorning others’ monuments: his own
Can have no other beauty, than his name,
His memory and everlasting fame.
Rare man he was, who could unite, in one,
Highest and lowest occupation;
To sit with statesmen, councillour to kings,
To work, with tradesmen, in mechanick things;
Majestick man, for person, witt, and grace;
This generation cannot fill his place.

cartoucheTwo Corinthian columns are inscribed with dedication.
The left column commemorates Robert Mylne:
Sacred to the Memorie of Robert Mylne of Balfargie,
Master Mason to severall Kings of Scotland;
and Survieor to this Citie,
who, duringe ane active life of honest fame,
Builded amonge manie extensive warks
Mylne’s Court, Mylne’s Square, and
the Abbie of Halie rud house,
Leaving by ane Worthie Wife,
Eight Sonnes and Six Daughters,
All Placed in the World with Credit to himself,
and consecrated this Monument,
To the Honour of his Ancestrie.
Died Decr. 10th, 1710; aged 77.”

Edinburgh places and people

The column on the right:
To the Memory of Thomas Mylne Eldest son of William
Mylne a Deacon of the Masons in Edinburgh
Who Died 5th March1763
To the Memory of William Mylne Master Mason
Eldest son of Robert Mylne of Balfargie
Who Died 9th March 1728.

A cartouche at the base of the stone is inscribed:
Reader, John Mylne, who maketh the fourth John,
and, by descent, from father unto son,
Sixth master mason to a royal race
Of seven successive Kings, sleeps in this place.

 

 

A Crypt In The Basement

137 tombstones representing a small portion of the original graveyard on the Green have been preserved in the basement of the Center Church-on-the-Green in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

When the church was built over part of the town’s burial ground in 1813, the foundations included a crypt built to protect the gravestones which were left intact.

The graves include headstones of Reverend James Pierpont, one of the founders of Yale; Benedict Arnold’s first wife and President Rutherford Hayes’ family.

atlas
Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-crypt-at-center-church-on-the-green

Capture

stones
Source: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/connecticut/underground-ct/
tombs
Source: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/connecticut/underground-ct/
alling
Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-crypt-at-center-church-on-the-green

In Memory of Mr Nathan Alling who died Octobr 24th, 1774, in his 79th year Mrs Hannah Alling his wife died Octobr 26th 1771 in her 68th year

rosewell
Source: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/connecticut/underground-ct/

Here lyeth the Body of Mrs Lydia Rosewell Relict of Mr Richard Rosewell who dyed December ye 9th 1731 in ye 66th year of her age
Note: Relict means widow. Ye is a form of the word, ‘the’

water seepage
Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-crypt-at-center-church-on-the-green

In memory of Mrs Elizabeth Woodward Daughter of John Woodward Esqr who departed this (water damage has eroded inscription) Aged 55 years

To prevent further destruction of the stones from water seepage through the concrete floor, the concrete was removed and a brick floor laid which allows moisture to escape between the bricks.

Tours of the church and crypt are available from April – October: Saturdays 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

 

Circus Tragedy

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Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/circus-train-wreck-victims-memorial

On Monday November 22, 1915, the Con T. Kennedy Circus Carnival having completed a successful engagement during ‘Harvest Festival’ week at the Atlanta Exposition in Columbus departed the area on a traveling circus train with 28 cars. A Central of Georgia passenger train headed to Macon was also departing Columbus, and instructions were sent to the engineer to wait at Muscogee Junction.

Failure to comply with this order resulted in both trains colliding head-on at 30 miles an hour near a bend at Bull Creek, six and a half miles east of Columbus. The engines of both trains were demolished but did not derail. Other cars telescoped resulting in a catastrophic fire. Although passengers on the Central of Georgia were unharmed, a total of 24 people died on the train carrying the circus crew.

Fred S. Kempf and his wife Blanche who operated a sideshow miniature mechanical city called Kempf’s Model City were trapped inside their sleeping compartment. They managed to pass their young daughter through a window to friends who were working to extricate them. Tragically the unfortunate parents burned to death, and four year old Hazel was left an orphan. “I saw those poor fellows pinned in their sleeping wagons and they could not get out,” reported many at the site.

In addition to the loss of human life, two carloads of animals were burned alive.

A funeral cortege travelled from the First Baptist Church to Riverdale Cemetery where the dead were interred. A memorial headstone in the form of a circus tent was erected by the circus community to commemorate the event.

Erected by the / Con T. Kennedy Shows / In memory of their comrades / Who lost their lives / In a railroad wreck near Columbus GA / Nov 22 1915.

We’ll not forget thee, we who stay / To work a little longer here, / Thy name, thy faith, thy love shall be / On memory’s tablet, bright and clear, / And when o’er-wearied by the toil of life, / Our heavy limbs shall be, / We’ll come, and one by one lie down / Upon dear Mother-earth with thee.

COATS OF ARMS AND CRESTS

The crests and coat of arms that are found in cemeteries were originally flags or emblems for families in the higher social classes of Europe. They were a symbol of status and lineage. Many other crests or shields have a connection to the military or fraternities such as Woodmen of the World already blogged.

Dalkeith_St Nicholas_medallion

CASTLE or TURRET Facta Non Verba means ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’.

Castle

The motto of the MONCRIEFFE family is Sur esperance which means ‘In Hope’. Spes Durat Avorum means ‘Let The Hopes Of Our Forefathers Endure’.

clan Moncrieffe

The motto of the family MUNROE is Dread God. The crest contains an eagle perching within a buckled belt.

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Creative Commons License, Joe Mabel. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Evergreen_Washelli_-_Clan_Munro_crest_on_gravestone.jpg

The crest of the MACNAB family is comprised of a thistle wrapped in a belt with the clan motto, Timor Omnis Abesto which means ‘Let Fear Be Far From All’.

Aux More Majorum is a Latin phrase used by Legionnaires, it is translated as ‘In The Manner Of Our Elders’.

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The Waldensian movement is a Protestant church in Italy. The symbol is a lighted candle flanked by 3 stars and a crown in the centre. The motto Lux lucet in tenebris translates as ‘The Light That Shines In The Darkness’.

Waldensian

 

12th Century Church

This historic Church of Scotland is located on the High Street in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. It is believed that a chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas has existed there since the early 12th Century.

High St East_St. Nicholas 1

In 1406, Sir James Douglas built and founded a Collegiate Church in the same location. The church and graveyard were located in the centre of town on the north side of the High Street ensuring that no individual living within the parish of Dalkeith was required to walk further than three miles to worship.

The ruined apse and chancel (areas containing the altar and the choir) contained two recumbent stone effigies marking the burial locations of Sir James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton, and his wife Joanna, daughter of King James I.

Considered monuments of idolatry by the Reformation, the apse was abandoned and sealed from the rest of the church by a wall in 1592. Some parts of the building were allowed to fall into decay following the Reformation and eventually the roof collapsed. The old section of the church remains without a roof.

High St N_St Nicholas

In 1650 Oliver Cromwell and his troops crossed the border into Scotland with the intention of capturing the city of Edinburgh and set up headquarters in the parish church. Soldiers broke open the poor box, set fire to furniture and used the space to stable their horses. The sacristy (a room where vestments and other things of worship are kept) was used as a prison.

In the early 18th century, the sacristy which had continued to be used as a jail became a burial vault for the Buccleuch family (Scottish peerage and local landowners).

High St East_St. Nicholas_vault

The church was greatly altered in 1854, and the walls of the original church were embedded within the present building. A fire which destroyed the steeple in 1885 caused two 300 years old bells to crash to the ground.

The church was restored once more in the 1930s, and in 1979 the church was renamed St. Nicholas Buccleuch.

In 2005, the 21st Earl of Morton unveiled the newly-repaired Morton Monument. The 16th century figures had been carefully restored and looked magnificent. Morton said at the ceremony: “I think this has been a great achievement for all the people concerned in putting this together. It is a great achievement for the people of Dalkeith.”

The Alms Collection House, adjacent to the main gate, is thought to be the only building of its kind: built specifically for the purpose of collecting alms.

almshouse

The attached graveyard was blogged previously, see https://wordsonstone.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/st-nicholas-churchyard/

 

 

 

Mors Ianua Vitae: Death is the gate of life