Category Archives: Graves

Sword Symbolism

The Sword is symbolic of courage; justice; martyrdom; military or warfare.


Rest my son in thy far off grave.
You died for your country like a hero brave.

In the days when the sword was a principle weapon of battle they were often regarded as magical objects with supernatural properties. Warrior tombs feature swords as a mark of the dead’s profession or as a sign that the deceased was cut down in battle. A broken sword represents a life cut short.

Crossed swords commemorate a high ranking military person; or a life lost in battle. They are often seen on the gravestones of veterans, especially officers.

Windsor - Sword side of monument

  • An inverted sword is symbolic of death in battle; a relinquishment of power; or victory.
  • A sword within its sheath represents temperance.
  • Archangels sometimes carry swords as a symbol of God’s Judgement in the life to come.
  • A superstition predicts death if a sword falls from its scabbard.
  • An oath made on a sword was as binding as one made on a Bible.

Triller Family

The Triller family was originally from Warren County, New Jersey, USA, and the family name was Driller. William Driller and his wife Mary (Maria) had 10 children. Sarah who was the 7th child and 5th daughter was born on 5 Dec 1790 in Knowlton Township, Warren Co. Her gravestone is located in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Note that in the early 19th century, the years, months and days were recorded on gravestones. Her burial there in 1856 may be explained by the adventures of her elder brother, Philip, who is listed in the “Annals of the Forty”, No. 9 (1958), pp. 24-25.


Philip Triller was born about 1754 and was the son of William and Maria Triller. He married Mary Catherine Young and they lived in Knowlton township, Warren County, New Jersey, where their children were born and baptized in the first German and English congregation in that township.

In 1805 Philip and his wife and children left New Jersey and journeyed to Canada, where his wife’s sisters and her brother had previously settled. They travelled with three wagons, two four-horse teams and one two-horse team. The roads were so rough that it sometimes took six horses to draw one wagon over the mountainous country. They stopped at The Forty (Grimsby) and stayed near Green’s mills for a year before moving to Trafalgar Township, Halton County.

In that time Philip, with his sons and son-in-law, sawed a great quantity of lumber for building purposes, and this was floated by raft along the shore of Lake Ontario to the Twelve Mile Creek in Halton near Bronte.

Philip owned 1000 acres of land between Burlington and Bronte, and it is said built the first mills on The Sixteen. He and his wife, Catherine, lie buried in an old Burying Ground on the shore of Lake Ontario near Bronte.

Dust To Dust

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:19

These images show nature absorbing our bodies back into the earth, slowly eradicating the markers that record our existence.


Lord, plant my feel on higher ground.IMG_0036

While they lie in peaceful sleep
Their memory we will always keep.


Time passes, memories last.


Flowers In Remembrance

Flower buds signify a renewal of life and many types of flowers are engraved on headstones. The symbolism behind the Carnation, Daffodil, Daisy, Passion Flower, Poppy, Sunflower and Tulip has been researched in a previous post.

The less commonly used flowers are identified below.

  • Acacia represents the immortality of the soul
  • Acanthus is one of the most common cemetery motifs associated with the Heavenly garden.
  • A Bellflower is symbolic of gratitude
  • A Buttercup represents cheerfulness
  • The Cinquefoil is symbolic of a beloved daughter or maternal affection
  • The Crocus represents youthful gladness
  • The flower, Forget-Me-Not,  represents remembrance
  • The  Honeysuckle is symbolic of devoted affection and generosity
  • The  Lalla is indicative of beauty and marriage
  • The Lotus represents perfect beauty; purity; resurrection and spiritual revelation.
  • A Pansy symbolizes humility; meditation; remembrance
  • The Violet is a symbol of humility.

And lastly, a flower that seems to cover every aspect of life, the Morning Glory: birth; the brevity of life; departure; farewell; love; mortality; mourning; resurrection and youth. It is also a symbol of beauty.

Like budding Rose or flower of May
Grown up, cut down & wither’d in a day
Early she left this Stage in morning dress
Her hands were clasped upon her breast.

We kissed her loving brow
And in our aching hearts we know
We have no violet now.   1909


Title in Dispute

In Kilmuir cemetery on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, is a grave referred to on the internet as the Crusader’s Grave; yet there is no evidence to suggest that the deceased was a Crusader. Affirming this statement is the medieval custom of crossing the legs on the statue of the deceased if he had fought in the Holy Land.

In fact, the carved effigy that appears to be wearing chain mail may actually be a kilt and representative of a clan chief. The grave has been identified as containing the remains of Angus Martin, or Aonghas na Geoithe (Angus of the Wind) who earned his nickname by insisting on going to sea whatever the weather.



Loss and Grief

Death and grief are felt in the same way throughout the world regardless of religion or race. We are unified only in birth and death.

The statuary in cemeteries is matched only by the words on stone. This verse is from All Saints Churchyard in Newtown Lindford, England:
Weep not
Dear Friends, but be content
For I to you was only lent.
In love I lived; in peace I died.
You asked my life but God denied.
Farewell, dear friends, and cease to weep.
In Christ I dwell; in Christ I sleep.


Rock of Ages

A woman clinging to the cross is a symbol of faith. It is often accompanied by the verse Rock Of Ages Cleft For Me signifying that a person’s only hope when lost in a sea of sin is to cling to Christ’s cross.

Behold the pilgrim as he lies with glory in his view,
To Heaven he lifts his longing eyes and bids the world adieu.  1886

A woman holding a cross represents faith.
Such are as faithful in love shall abide with him.