Category Archives: Graves

Cemetery of Horns

In the Kopet Dag mountains that separate Turkmenistan from Iran is an isolated village called Nokhur which is famous for its cemetery, and although a hospitable people, the Nokhuris do not allow visitors to enter the hallowed ground.

Although there is a variety of grave markers, (stones and vertical wooden posts) almost all of the markers are adorned with the horns of mountain goats or Urial mountain sheep. The Nokhuris tribe believe that mountain goats are sacred animals that have the ability to fight off evil spirits and ensure the soul a safe passage to Heaven. When someone dies, a relative kills a goat and mounts the horns above the grave.

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Source: http://katieaune.com/nokhur-turkmenistan/

The wooden posts are decorated with horizontal and crisscross markings engraved to show the deceased the steps or paths to Heaven.

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Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/nokhur-cemetery
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Source: https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/nokhur-cemetery

Many posts are wrapped in several rows of vibrantly coloured fabric; and as Nokhur is famous for silk weaving and the fabric is valued, this ritual may be a sign of respect.

Houses in the village also seek protection from evil spirits by hanging the skulls from goats or sheep on sticks outside.

 

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Two Roads

This gravestone is located in the churchyard of Saint Mary the Virgin in Nonington, Kent, England. The deceased, John Payn, was 22 years old when he died in 1872. On 2 April 1871 the national census recorded John as a journeyman grocer unemployed through ill-health. Poor lad died on 22 October the following year and was buried three days later.

John’s father, Richard Payn, died when John was only 11 years old. His mother, Mary Ann Saffery remarried the following year and the family, including brothers Thomas and Frederick and a sister named Fanny, lived with their stepfather, William Kingsford.

Rev. Sholto Douglas Campbell-Douglas, M.A. was appointed to the vicarage of Nonington in 1871 and resigned in 1872 when he was promoted to All Saints in Derby. He therefore only knew John for less than two years. With no information regarding the relationship between John Payn and the Reverend Douglas it’s unclear why he would erect such a lavish stone in his honour.

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Creative Commons License, Nick Smith. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Interesting_stone_in_Nonington_churchyard_-_geograph.org.uk_-_402785.jpg

Erected by the Rev. Sholto D.C. Douglas, Vicar.
To the memory of John Payn.
Born April 7th 1850. Died October 22nd 1872
“He being dead yet speaketh”

The TWO ROADS.

THE BROAD

Its Gate is wide – Matt. vii. 13.
Its way is dark – Prov. ii. 13.
Its paths are false – Prov. xiv. 12.
It is crowded by those
Who forsake God – Isaiah i. 4
Who do iniquity – Isaiah Lix. 3
Who serve the Devil – John viii. 44
It leads to Misery – Rom. ii. 9
Death – Rom. vi. 21
Judgment – Matt. xii. 36
Its End is HELL where
there shall be wailing and
gnashing of teeth. – Matt. xiii. 42

THE NARROW

Its Gate is strait – Matt. vii. 14
Its way is light – John viii. 12
Its paths are truth – Psa. xxv. 10
It is trod by those
Who forsake sin – 1 Peter iii. 10. 21
Who do the will of God – Matt. vii. 21
Who serve the Lord Christ – Col. iii. 24
It leads to Happiness – Psa. Lxiv. 10
Life – Matt. vii. 14
Eternal glory – 1 Peter. v. 10
Its END is HEAVEN where
there is fullness of joy and
pleasures for evermore – Psa. xvi. 11

READER!

Mark on this side you have
DEATH!
DAMNATION!
SATAN!
And on this side you find
LIFE!
SALVATION!
GOD!

Along which of these two Roads are you hastening? for in one or other you most certainly are. Are you on the way to GOD and HEAVEN, or SATAN and HELL. A mistake if continued to the end will be fatal: “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.” MARK viii. 36.

JESUS CHRIST SAYS, “I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER BUT BY ME. JOHN xiv 6. “HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME HATH EVERLASTING LIFE.” JOHN vi 47. “HIM THAT COMETH UNTO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT.” JOHN vi 37. “I CAME NOT TO CALL THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT SINNERS TO REPENTANCE.” Mark ii 17. “THE SON OF MAN IS COME TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH IS LOST.” Luke xix 10.

Where will you spend eternity?

A Tale On Stone

St. Andrew’s cemetery in Peebles, Scotland, offers a variety of centuries-old gravestones. A tower within the grounds is the only remaining part of St. Andrew’s church which was destroyed in the 16th century.

The hourglass is a classic symbol measuring time until the sand runs out, and as such, is the perfect allegory for life and death controlled by the hands of God.
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The skull and crossed bones is symbolic of crucifixion, death, and mortality. These symbols were commonly used together.

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The effigy of a face embraced with wings is a symbol of the deceased soul in flight.
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Forget them. No we never will
We loved them here we love them still
Nor, love them less although they are gone
From us to their eternal home.   1887

The image below shows two trumpeting cherubs heralding the soul’s entrance into Heaven. The circle signifies eternal life with no beginning and no end. The skull represents death, and the words Memento Mori is a Latin phrase meaning, Remember that you have to die.
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The open compass on the top of the stone denotes a Masonic affiliation. The urn or casket is a container of the soul. The drapes and bouquets of flowers are symbolic of grief and mourning. The skull signifies death and the winged effigy represents the deceased soul in flight. This legend is resolved with the phrase Memento Mori.
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Another stone with multiple symbols relates a similar story with additional symbols. Two snakes intertwined around a rod are held by God’s hands, and a dove is situated between the snake heads. This symbol represents resurrection and peace.

The Latin phrase, Fugit Hora meaning the hour flees is aptly set above the wings, and Memento Mori is also aptly set between the skull and hourglass.
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Two hands holding a figure of the deceased represent God.
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These images containing a cross behind a circle symbolize eternity and God’s endless love through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The first two images show a Patée cross identified by the narrowing of the arms towards the center.

The image below shows the circle of eternity with a Latin cross.
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A cairn is a heap of stones used as a marker for the dead. The scroll represents the scriptures and symbolizes honor and commemoration.
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The draped urn is a symbol of mourning.
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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.

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

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.”