The hourglass and the sundial are symbols of time, and as such are often found within the cemetery. However, the perfect allegory for life and death is the clock identifying the passage of time. The clock face is a rare image and appears to have been most common in the late 1700s.
Here lies interred the body of / Mrs. Abigail Williams / the Relict of the / Rev M. John Williams of / this place. She died June y / 21st 1754 in the 82d / year of her age
Here lies the body of / Mrs. Abigail Paine / Relict widow of / Mr. Samuel Paine. / She died Jan y 13th / 1752 in the 80th / year of her age.
The design of these two gravestones is identical. Note the Memento Mori of crossbones and a pick and shovel. The numbers on the clock face are Roman Numerals. The hands are most often set in a vertical line pointing to 12 and 6. The meaning for this is unknown although a possible explanation is that it represents a dividing line between the earthly life and the heavenly life.
*Relict is an old English term for widow
* Y is an abbreviation of ‘the’
A more recent gravestone still indicates to 12 and 6 o’clock but the numbers are not Roman Numerals, and in the image below according to the engraving, it would appear to have been an actual working clock. My Father’s Clock Placed Here At My Request.
Another modern clock uses Roman Numerals yet it is set to a specific time, perhaps the time of death? You Shared My Dreams For The Future / You Shared My Past / You Were My First Love / And You Are My Last / We Met, Loved And Will Again / Whither Thou Goest I Will Go.