Wooden Markers

Wooden markers – we can’t really call them gravestones or headstones when they are made of wood – were initially used due to availability and low expense. However, the wood which deteriorated rather quickly due to weather conditions was also subject to forest fires.

Friedrich Glauser Schrefleller was a Swiss native and a celebrated writer in the German language. For most of his brief time on earth (1896-1938) he was addicted to opium, and on the evening prior to his wedding he suffered a stroke and died two days later.
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Charles Morgan Blessing, a miner, was shot in the head and robbed by Hames Barry who was hanged as a result of this crime. The murder took place in Cariboo, British Columbia, Canada.
In memory of C. M. Blessing, a native of Ohio, aged 30 years was murdered near this spot May 31 1866.

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Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Wooden_grave_markers#/media/File:BLESSING%27S_GRAVE,_CARIBOO_DISTRICT,_BRITISH_COLUMBIA.jpg

This wooden grave marker circa 1850 is located on a steep hillside near Virginia City, Nevada. The graves located there are host to people from varied social and economic status and as a result, the grave markers within the Silver Terrace Cemeteries are made from a variety of wood, metal and stone.
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A tired and worn marker situated in the old Malay Cemetery in Singapore.

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Source: https://thelongnwindingroad.wordpress.com/tag/old-malay-cemetery/

During WWI, A.I.F. Private Frank Gallagher, age 23, was killed on 23 August 1918. A wooden battalion cross was erected at the site of his death; Bray-sur-Somme. A photograph of the wooden cross has been modified by Frank’s mother by pasting a photo of Frank in uniform.

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Source: https://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/ww1/frank-gallaghers-grave-markers

Jason Hayes who died when he was 74 is buried in Barnet, Georgia.

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Source: https://vanishingnorthgeorgia.com/2016/02/20/barnett-methodist-church-circa-1876/

The Horváth family from the Almad Forest in Transylvania, are identified with a wooden marker in the Kecskemét Reformed Cemetery, Bács-Kiskun County, Hungary. The marker is engraved with the name Karolyne Horváth who died on 4 March 1930 and Dr. Karoly Horváth who was born in 1873 and died in 1943.

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Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kecskem%C3%A9ti_reform%C3%A1tus_temet%C5%91,_Horv%C3%A1th_csal%C3%A1d_s%C3%ADrja,_%27Erd%C3%A9lyb%C5%91l_j%C3%B6tt,_Erd%C3%A9lyr%C5%91l_%C3%A1lmodik%27,_Sz%C3%A9chenyiv%C3%A1ros,_2016_Hungary.jpg

The partial image of a wooden marker is worn and broken. In the centre of the marker is a circle containing a form of four Tau crosses. The Tau is one of the oldest forms of a cross, believed to have been held by Moses in the wilderness.
On the right of the photograph is a worn engraving: a circle divided into 8 sections. This could be a symbol for God or Holy Spirit.

tilted
Source: https://tiltedpixel.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/wooden-grave-marker/
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Cross Images

Although the Crux Immissa (LATIN cross) is commonly acknowledged as the type used to crucify Jesus, it is a source of debate between theologians and historians. There are many other forms of a cross.

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A GEMMATA cross may have 5 stones representing the five wounds suffered by Jesus on the cross; or 13 gems representing Christ and the twelve Apostles.

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A ship portrayed with a mast like a cross represents a place of refuge and is acknowledged as the church. The Ark of Noah is a symbol of refuge and salvation.

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The cross encompassed within a circle is often found on altar tables. It is also used in processions to represent eternity.

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The IXTHOS cross is a combination of a Latin cross and a fish symbol. The Greek word for fish is an acronym for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” and secretly identified others of the faith during dangerous times of persecution.

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This symbol represents Peter, the apostle, who was crucified head down because he did not feel worthy to die in the same position as Jesus.

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The TAU cross is one of the oldest forms of a cross and is believed to have been held by Moses in the wilderness.

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The dove on this Tau cross is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

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This cross form is created with four Tau crosses, each arm also resembling a crutch.

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Although a FORKED cross was known in the Middle Ages as a thief’s cross, it also represents the Holy Trinity and is symbolic of arms lifted in prayer.

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The ANKH, originally the Egyptian symbol for life, is shaped like the letter T surmounted by an oval or circle. It symbolizes eternal life; peace; and truth.

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CHI-RHO is an ancient Christian symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ: χριστος – Chi (X) and Rho (P)

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This Chi Rho cross also displays letters of the Greek alphabet: Alpha (the first) and Omega (the last) are symbols representing the beginning and the end of all life.

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ST. ANDREW’S cross was named after the disciple Andrew who was crucified on a cross of this shape. It came into use during the Middle Ages.

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In the Greek language, the first letter of the word Jesus is I; and the first letter of Christ is X. When these symbols are combined this cross represents Jesus Christ.

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The SHEPHERD’s cross has a crooked apex and represents the Christian faith and Jesus’ role as the Good Shepherd.

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The MALTESE Cross has four arms of equal length ending in a “V” shape which creates eight points representing the Beatitudes.

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IHS

The Greek spelling of the name Jesus ‘IHCOYC’ is abbreviated as IHC; when translated into Latin as ‘IHSOUS’ the abbreviation is IHS.

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Both versions can be found although the latter abbreviation is the most common when engraved on gravestones. It is a symbol of the Holy Name of Jesus.

IHS is also an abbreviation of the Latin Phrase in hoc signo meaning, in this sign and is most often used when part of the anagram of the Latin phrase, In Hoc Signo Vinces meaning, in this sign you shall conquer. It is most often seen on family crests, military memorials and symbols of the Knights Templar.

 

 

Epitaph

The Auld Kirkyard in Alloway, Scotland, is the resting place of William Burns who died in 1784. He was the father of Robert Burns, Scotland’s nation’s Bard and world renowned poet.

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The gravestone is engraved with the standard information regarding birth and death. However, on the back of the headstone is an epitaph written by Robert Burns for his father. The last line is from a poem called The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith.

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O YE, whose cheek the tear of pity stains,
Draw near with pious reverence and attend!
Here lie the loving husband’s dear remains,
The tender father, and the generous friend:
The pitying heart that felt for human wo!
The dauntless heart that fear’d no human pride!
The friend of man, to vice alone a foe,
“For ev’n his failings lean’d to virtues side.”

Cramped Quarters

There are many cemeteries in which limited space has been well appropriated.

How terrible it is to love something that death can touch.

For 300 years during the 15th and 18th centuries there was only one burial ground in Prague, the Czech Republic, in which the Jewish faithful were permitted to bury their dead. The cemetery was small and vacant plots soon disappeared. As Jewish law prohibits the destruction of graves or the removal of gravestones, soil was layered over existing plots causing the cemetery to rise above street level. The original gravestone was erected beside the new headstone which explains how and why the gravestones are packed so closely together. Approximately 12,000 headstones sit atop twelve layers of graves beneath.

In 19th century London an expansion of the railway system required the exhumation and removal of gravestones in St. Pancras Cemetery. Thomas Hardy, an apprentice architect, was assigned the task of reburying them. Hundreds of gravestones were placed in a circular pattern around an ash tree now known as the Hardy Tree.

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Source: flickr/Paul Hudson

The Levelled Churchyard”, an early poem by Thomas Hardy
O passenger, pray list and catch
Our sighs and piteous groans,
Half stifled in this jumbled patch
Of wrenched memorial stones!
We late-lamented, resting here,
Are mixed to human jam,
And each to each exclaims in fear,
‘I know not which I am!’

telegraph
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/hs2/10870103/If-we-cant-rest-in-peace-handle-with-care.html

 

Remah Cemetery

The Remah Cemetery established in 1552 is located in Kazimierz, an historic Jewish neighbourhood in Krakow, Poland. Bodies were no longer buried there after 1800 and the cemetery was more or less abandoned.

The cemetery is named after Rabbi Moses Isserles whose tombstone is one of the few that remained intact after destruction by the Nazis.

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During the German occupation of Poland, the Nazis destroyed the cemetery tearing down the walls and hauling away tombstones to be used as paving stones in the work/death camps, or selling them for profit.

The cemetery has undergone a series of post-war restorations. As is common in contemporary Poland, all tombstones unearthed as paving stones have been returned and re-erected, although they represent a small fraction of the monuments that once stood in the cemetery.

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A wall within the cemetery backing onto Szeroka Street was created with some of the broken headstones. It is known as the Wailing Wall.

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Mors Ianua Vitae: Death is the gate of life