Category Archives: Cemetery

Literary Epitaphs

Note that in each of these memorial photographs a token (stones, coins, pennies, a rose and a sunflower) has been left on the grave symbolizing that someone had visited and remembered.

The words on Sylvia Plath’s grave were selected by her poet husband, Ted Hughes, from one of the four great classic novels of Chinese literature, Monkey: Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en.

The complete quotation reads: “Even in the midst of fierce flames the Golden Lotus may be planted, the five elements compounded and transposed, and put to new use. When that is done, be which you please, Buddha or Immortal.”

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John Keats was only 25 years old when he died in Rome on February 23rd, 1821 with his friend Joseph Severn by his side. He is buried at the Cemitero Acattolico, Rome.

Keats expressed the wish that on his gravestone no name or date should be written, only the inscription ‘Here lies one whose name was writ in water’. Above it was to be carved a Greek lyre with four of its eight strings broken ‘to show his Classical Genius cut off by death before its maturity’ as Severn later interpreted it.

This grave contains all that was mortal, of a young English poet, who, on his death bed, in the bitterness of his heart, at the malicious power of his enemies, desired these words to be engraven on his tomb stone.
Here Lies One Whose Name Was Writ In Water
Feb 24th 1821

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Robert Frost died in 1963 when he was 88 years old and is buried in Bennington, Vermont. In 1941 he wrote a poem with eight verses titled The Lesson For Today. The last line of the poem has become one of his most famous and is recorded for eternity on his gravestone. I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.

robert frost

William Blake 1757-1827, a renowned poet, was also the grandfather of J. R. R. Tolkien. Blake died in obscurity in 1827 and was buried in an unmarked common grave in Bunhill Fields cemetery in London, England. The Blake Society raised donations from around the world to purchase a new memorial to mark his burial place.
Here lies William Blake, 1757-1827, Poet Artist Prophet
I give you the end of a golden string
Only wind it into a ball
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate
Built in Jerusalem’s hall

The following headstones are hand carved memorials artfully created by stonecarver, lettercutter and designer, Teucer Wilson. http://www.teucerwilson.co.uk/portfolio/memorials/memorialsgallery/images-memorials-meikle-jpg/

stoneletters
The winter is past flowers appear on the earth and the singing of birds is come
This is an adaptation of the Song of Solomon 2:12. “The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”

stoneletters_hills
We shall find you in the grey summer garden amid the rain-wet roses; stir of wings; stir of wings and the morning hills behind you. This is an adaptation of the poem Idyll by Siegfried Sassoon.

teucer
This hand carved slate gravestone is located in Kensall Green Cemetery, London. Felix was only a baby when he died, and the symbolism on this stone reflects this. The quotation is from William Shakespeare’s song Fear No More The Heat O’ The Sun.
Golden lads and girls all must as chimney-sweepers come to dust

The Sailers’ Graveyard

Inverkeithing, North Queensferry, Fife, Scotland

Within a small graveyard in the village of North Queensferry are the ruins of the Chapel of St. James which was already in existence when Robert the Bruce granted the chapel to Dunfermline Abbey in 1320. Abandoned after the Reformation it is believed to have been destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian troops in 1651. The surviving west wall of the nave contains a stone dated 1752.

When the North Queensferry Sailors’ Society became caretakers of the chapel and the burial ground that same year they built a wall around the area as identified on a marker on the exterior; This Is Done By / The Sailers In / North Ferrie / 17 52. This inscription may relate to the fact that some stone markers were imbedded into the chapel wall so that they would not be lost.

It is rumoured that the infamous grave robbers Burke and Hare visited, and that the graveyard is locked because skeletal bones are surfacing.

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Borsi Torchbearer

The Porte Sante cemetery is a monumental cemetery in Florence located within the fortified bastion of the basilica of San Miniato al Monte. This interesting cemetery, from which it is possible to enjoy an extraordinary view of Florence, houses some illustrious tombs including the Borsi memorial to numerous family members.

The memorial to Averardo Borsi and his daughter Laura is adorned with the statue of a naked prone man holding a flaming torch in his right hand with his left fist clenched.

flickr_werner
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409813706

The torch is symbolic of the darkness of death and the light in the world to come. A winged cherub looks down on the grave located in the section reserved for non-Catholics in the cemetery. The family were not religious, and as Averardi and Laura died without the sacrament they were denied a Christian burial.

flickr_Michael Hamburg2
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409813706

Averardo was married to Verdiana Fabbri known as Diana. They had three children; Laura born on 31 December 1886, Giosue born on 10 June 1888 and Gino born on 10 December 1891.

Averardo died on 10 December 1910 due chiefly to grief over a family tragedy which involved the honour of his daughter. In 1908, Laura had given birth to a son named Dino following a relationship with Gabriele Maria D’Annunzio (known as Gabriellino), an Italian actor, director and screenwriter. Laura, who was a brilliant and promising actress, died on 18 July 1912 due to complications from what was most likely food poisoning after eating raw oysters. Her infant son, who was never recognized by his father, died in March 1913.

flickr_Michael Hamburg
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael_hamburg/7409822710/

Giosue Borsi was born on 10 June 1888. He was a journalist for his father’s newspaper and a famed poet. As an Italian Lieutenant in WW1 known for his valor, he was killed in action on 10 Nov 1915. On the centenary of his birth to recognize his life and his sacrifice, a plaque was placed in the memorial chapel of Piazza di Montenero, Livorno, Italy.

Gino served as a Corporal with the 2nd Artillery Regiment. In 1916 he married Chiti Lilia (1893 – 1973) with whom he had three daughters: Giulia born in 1920; Lauretta who was born in 1921 died in Florence on October 26, 1927 after an excruciating illness; and Laura born in 1928 – it was the tradition at the time that if the first child died, a second child was given the same name in order to perpetuate the name within the family. Gino died in Florence in 1976.

Epitaphs on the memorial record the lives of

Averardo Borsi 1858-1910 and his wife Diana 1865-1942

Laura Borsi1886-1912 and her son Dino Borsi 1908-1913

Gino 1891-1976 and his wife Lilia 1893-1973, and his daughter Lauretta Borsi 1921-1927

flickr_chris holt

Will The Real Mother Goose Please Arise

In the United States, the Granary Burial Ground in Boston contains a slate gravestone dedicated to Mother Goose. It is located at the rear of the cemetery off one of the main paths. A pile of pennies at the headstone are left in recognition by visitors. The inscription reads:
Here lyes ye body of / Mary Goose wife to / Isaac Goose; aged 42 / years decd October / ye 19th 1690 / Here lies also susana / goose ye 3d aged 15 ms / died august 11th 1687

Translation from Olde English:
Here lies the body of / Mary Goose wife to / Isaac Goose; aged 42 / years deceased October / the 19th 1690 / here lies also Susana / Goose the 3rd aged 15 months / died august 11th 1687.

Isaac Goose was a wealthy landowner in Boston who married Mary Balston. She died at the young age of 42 in 1690 after bearing ten children. After Mary’s death, Isaac married Elizabeth Foster of Charlestown in 1693. She had six children before dying in 1758.

One of those children also named Elizabeth married a printer/publisher named Thomas Fleet who was responsible for publishing a collection of stories in a book entitled Songs for the Nursery. Although commonly believed that this book is the basis of Mother Goose nursery rhyme fame, French texts from as early as 1626 reference stories from Contes de ma Mère l’Oye (Tales of My Mother Goose).

findagrave_Kieran Smith

In London, England there is an information board at the entrance to the graveyard of St. Olaves which identifies the grave of Mother Goose interred on 14th September 1586. The burial register records the name as mother Goose (no first name recorded) therefore possibly a mother with the last name of Goose.

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Ruminants

The Loyal Order of Moose (L.O.O.M.) is a fraternal charity organization whose motto is Purity, Aid, and Progress.

B.P.O.E.W. is the acronym for Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World. This charitable service organization has over one million members in the United States. Headstones will often be decorated with elaborate B.P.O.E. symbols.

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The symbol of an elk is also adopted by the Independent Order of Foresters (I.O.F.) Originally created for mutual aid and protection (voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit) in 14th century England. It is a mutual organization caring for the sick.

Foresters

St. Kessog Churchyard

The town of Luss is situated on Loch Lomond in Scotland. There is evidence that a Church has been here since the year 510 AD; however, the current building was constructed in 1875.

The graveyard is located close to the edge of the loch, and is full of interesting and very old moss covered gravestones including 15 listed ancient monuments.

In some instances the sculptor was mindful of space and used what nowadays we would refer to as ‘justified text’.

Luss (11)
Here lies the corpse of John Gay carpenter in Luss who died Feb 21 1761 aged 64 and also Cathrine Balfour his spouse who died Nov 16 1741 aged 38. This burial place appointed for Robert Gay son to John Gay and Agnes Macfarlan his spouse and his heirs.

The legends on the headstones are engraved using Olde English words and images of Memento Mori are visible on many of the stones.

Luss (13)
Eternity is represented by the circle and the crossbones symbolize death. The Greek style columns with a flat top denote a life cut short.

The following transcriptions are related to the image below showing a cross in the forefront and a gravestone in the background.

Luss (9)

His wife Caroline Anna Wyllie died 18th Jan 1914 Sacred to the loved memory of Andrew Wyllie for 12 years factor, on the luss estates died 1st February 1880 aged 46. No more death, neither sorrow. Rev 21,4

Sacred to the loved memory of Andrew Wyllie, for 12 years Factor of the Luss Estates. Died 1st February 1880, aged 46. “No more death, neither sorrow.” Rev 21:4

Luss (5)

Interred here the remains of John Macauslan late tenant in Wester Bannachra who died 3 January 1795 aged 69 years. Also John Macausland late farmer illegible Roseneath who died 11th Oct 1843 Aged 73 years.

colquhoun

In memory of James 11th Baronet of Colquhoun and Luss, born February 7th 1804, John Boyd born April 23rd 1829, James Spottiswood born March 1st 1832, Angus Macdonald born June 15th 1839, Thomas Anderson born June 25th 1856 who were all drowned together in Loch Lomond on December 18th 1873. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee. Isaiah XIII

Historic Note: On 18 December 1873, with three of his gamekeepers and a stable boy, Sir James sailed to the island of Inch Lonaig to hunt red deer with the intent of providing Christmas fare for his tenants and friends. On his return a sudden storm swamped the heavily loaded boat and all on board perished. They drowned in Loch Lomond within earshot of Rossdhu, the home of the Chiefs of Clan Colquhoun. Sadly, the cries for help were believed to be joyous boating cheers.

 

 

Debunked Valley of Genitalia

The cemetery of Khalid Nabi in north east Iran is a national heritage site protected by the Iranian government. It contains over 600 standing stones from the 17-19th centuries with forms that resemble human genitalia.

Capture

Type 1 is a cylindrical column type with a cap-like top which is considered a representation of a male phallic symbol. David Stronach, a Scottish archeologist of ancient Iran and Iraq, disputes this popular notion and interprets the stones to be depictions of men with helmets and in some cases with clearly visible turbans.

Wikipedia_Kipala_type1
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Nabi_Cemetery. Creative Commons License, Kipala

Type 2 stones with rectangular sections and two opposed high-set lobes supposedly represent the female reproductive organs. Stronach interprets these as human shapes with arms in akimbo position as visible in two elaborately carved stones on the site which clearly show the human shape.

Wikipedia_Kipala_type2
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Nabi_Cemetery. Creative Commons License, Kipala

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