Lightning Strike

On 3rd June 1777, several neighbours congregated around a metal fence to see a horse which a preacher in Framingham was interested in purchasing. Peter Parker was riding the horse when a cloud appeared releasing several raindrops. John Cloyes left the metal fence, and as he took the reins a lightning bolt struck the horse and everyone present. John was struck and then crushed when the horse collapsed on top of him.

John Cloyes and Abraham Rice are buried side by side at the Church Hill Cemetery (Old Burying Ground) in Framingham, MA. The gravestone bears the image of a winged skull representing death and mortality. This symbol was popular during the 18th century and reflected the Puritan religious influence.


In Memory Of Mr.
John Cloyes
Who Being Struck With Lightning
Died June The 3rd Anno Do
1777 In The 43 Year Of
His Age

O may you all both far and near
Who of this dispensation here
Now harken to the call of Heaven
And take the warning God has given
Surprising death to you soon may
Come in some unexpected way
I Pray that all make it their care
For sudden death now to prepare.



In Memory Of Cornt (Cornet is a commissioned officer of the British Calvary)
Abraham Rice
Who Departed This Life
In A Sudden & Awful
Manner & As We Trust Enterd
A Better June The 3rd Anno Do
1777 In The 81st Year Of
His Age

My trembling heart with grief overflows
While I record the death of those
Who died by thunder sent from Heaven
In seventeen hundred and seventy seven
Let’s all prepare for judgments day
As we may be called out of time
And in a sudden and awful way
Whilst in our youth and in our prime




As expected a skeleton is symbolic of death, decay, life’s brevity and mortality. It is represented in many forms.

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Under the sod, and the dew, awaiting judgment day.

A skeleton is also used to represent the Angel of Death or the Grim Reaper (previously blogged)

Bisteghi Monument

Raffaele Bisteghi was an affluent author and playwright who lived in 19th century Italy. He left instructions in his will to purchase a tomb in his memory.


The marble monument which was designed by Sculptor Enrico Barbieri took 6 years to complete, 1885-1891. The vignette features Raffaele Bisteghi on his deathbed, with an angel at his bedside, and his wife her hands joined in prayer.


The Bisteghi Monument is located in the Gallery of Angels at the Monumental Certosa di Bologna, Italy. The Certosa is a former monastery which was founded in 1334 and suppressed in 1797. In 1801 it became the city’s Monumental Cemetery.



The dictionary defines an effigy as a representation of a specific person in the form of a three-dimensional sculpture. In modern times the effigy is often seen in the form of a photograph printed on porcelain and embedded into the headstone.


However; before this medium was available, images of the dead were carved into stone in the form of a medallion (a circular device bearing a portrait or relief moulding). Symbolic of the soul, it was a perpetual remembrance of the departed.

I shall be satisfied when awake with thy likeness.


Here Damon lies, whose songs did sometime grace
The murmuring Esk, may roses shade the place. Words from a sonnet by Chaucer

How bright these glorious spirits shine


How treasured are the memories of the past


The love that we shared is everlasting and true


Together we find strength in sweet memories of you.

Tears In Stone

Statistically women live longer than men, and that may be the reason why we see so many statues of women weeping at the graveside. As expected, the pose is symbolic of mourning, loneliness and sorrow.

The posture of a weeping woman also recalls the Greek myth of Niobe who wept endlessly for her 14 children slain in revenge for an insult. When she pleaded with the Gods to end her pain they turned her to stone.

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The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares. Henri Nouwen – 1932 – 1996 


The fairest flower that nature shews,
Sustains the sharpest doom,
His life was like a morning rose
That withers in its bloom.
Weep not mother for John is at rest
His sins forgot and in Heaven blest.


My time is short: the longer my rest
God called me heare because he thought it best
So weep not; drie up your tears
Heare must i lie till Christ Apears. 1802


Weep not for me I go to my Father where I will meet you all again. 1877


Father thou art gone to rest
We will not weep for thee
For thou are now where oft on earth
Thy spirit longed to be.- 1888