Actual shell fragments left on gravestones in pioneer cemeteries represent the journey through death and rebirth. Shells that are not part of the gravestone were left there to signify that the deceased had not been forgotten.
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In localities near the sea, entire graves were covered with shells because this product was cheap and readily available.
Although not a common symbol the shell most often used is a scallop shell which represents the baptism of Christ. Many baptismal fonts are often built in the form of a scallop shell.
It is also a traditional symbol of the Crusades.
This large scallop shell was designed by the deceased, Ransom Cook, some years before his death.
The art form of a child cradled in a scallop shell was popular in North America during the 19th century. Sears, Roebuck and Company had a contract with a Vermont marble producer to sell the shell headstone by mail order.
The conch shell was revered by many cultures as a symbol of reincarnation and wisdom. In Buddhism, the shell’s call can awaken one from ignorance, in Chinese Buddhism it signifies a prosperous journey; and in Islam the shell represents hearing the divine word. People in the Bakongo area of Africa believe that the shell encloses the soul (Pagans also held this same belief regarding the shell as a source of life.)
I discovered this cross and markers in the older section of the New Cemetery, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. It is surrounded by hewn stone with engraved names and dates of members of the Mushet family. As the markers are relatively new they must represent broken or damaged headstones which have been removed.
The patriarch was William born in 1821. He married Robina Macfarlane who was born on August 28 1835.
William Mushet Fell Asleep April 1879 Robina Macfarlane His Wife Fell Asleep April 1911 Aged 77
George Fred Rests In India Aged 22 June 29th 1878
They celebrated the births of 9 children.
George Frederick was born on 1 May 1856 and christened on 25 May 1856. He died on 29 June1878, and is buried in Bombay (Mumbai)
John Macfarlane was born 15 November 1857
Janet Gray was born in 1858 and baptised on 16 January 1859
William was born in 1861 and christened on 1 June
Louisa Cecilia Mushet was born in 1863 and christened on 3 May
Elizabeth Jane was born in 1864 and christened 13 December. Her stone is not visible in the images
William Ernest. A second son born in 1871 was also named William. Given names followed a traditional naming pattern in Scotland by honouring members of the family. On occasion the same name was given to more than one child, if the first child had died, in order to perpetuate the name within the family. William Ernest was christened on 3 September.
David Henry Cadell was born 25 April 1874-1881 and christened on 5 July
Gerald was christened on11 February 1876. He died in 1906. His stone is not visible in the images
Thou Who Art The Hearer Of Prayer All Flesh Shall Come Unto Thee For Thine Is The Kingdom, The Power And The Glory For Ever. Amen
Willie Fell Asleep Aged 3 ¼ Years Dec 1864
David Henry Cadell Fell Asleep 1871
Janet Gray Mushet Wife Of John Morison Of Newbattle Fell Asleep 1939
Louisa Cecilia Mushet Wife Of Rutherford Morison Fell Asleep February 1904
Thanks Be To God Which Giveth Us The Victory Through Our Lord Jesus Christ
The town of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, takes its name from one of Christ’s apostles, and was an important religious centre in medieval Scotland from where the bishops wielded great influence over Church and State.
The ruins of the Cathedral, at one time Scotland’s largest building, originated from a priory founded by Bishop Robert in the 12th century and was a centre of learning. Scotland’s first university was established there.
The cemetery within the ruins of the cathedral is large, spacious, well maintained and manicured. There are numerous tombstones relating to the armed services and the men who were lost during the great wars.
Erected / By / Robert Corstorphan / In Memory Of / William Henry, His Son, / Who Was Drowned On The 1st of July / 1839 In An Attempting To Save Another / From A Watery Grave / In The 18th Year Of His Age.
Whose Death Was The Grief Of A Fond Mother, / And The Slighted Expectations / Of An Indulgent Father / The Youth Grew Up Like A Well Watered Plant / He Shot Deep, Rose High / And Bade Fair For Manhood.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is regarded worldwide as the ‘home of golf’, therefore it is not surprising that more than a few golfers are buried here.
In Memory Of / Allan Robertson / Who Died 1st Sept 1859 / Aged 44 Years. He Was Greatly Esteemed / For His Personal Worth / And For Many Years / Was Distinguished As The / Champion Golfer / Of Scotland.
Read more about this great golfer at http://www.worldgolfhalloffame.org/allen-robertson/
“The Brownes of Bendarroch were one of those families who lived to help other people, and the good work they did for our village can never be properly estimated…”
“When the Boy Scouts were instituted, Mary at once formed a troop and became a scoutmaster…” “Mary also set up a troop of Girl Guides after that movement started in the UK in 1910.”
The above information was gleaned from research by Helensburgh Heritage Trust director Alistair McIntyre.
To make some nook of God’s creation a little fruitfuller, better, more worthy of God – to make some human hearts a little wiser manfuller happier…it is a work for God. This original quotation by T. Carlyle is dated 1855. This grave is located in Faslane Cemetery at , Argyll & Bute, Scotland
When the World Scout Emblem was introduced in 1908 it wGarelocheadas in the shape of a fleur-de-lis arrowhead. The symbol was chosen by Robert Baden-Powell as a reminder of the arm badge of ‘reconnaissance scouts’ who served in the British Army. The addition of 2 five-pointed stars in the wings made the emblem unique to Scouting and therefore copyrighted. Each of the ten points symbolised one of ten Scout Laws.
Baden-Powell later introduced the Thanks badge with the fleur-de-lis superimposed on a swastika. It was worn in various forms until 1935 and was recognized as a badge of fellowship among Scouts all over the world. It was offered as a token of gratitude.
“I want specially to remind Scouts to keep their eyes open and never fail to spot anyone wearing this badge. It is their duty then to go up to such a person, make the scout sign, and ask if they can be of service to the wearer.” Robert Baden-Powell.
Although the swastika is synonymous with the German Nazi party and Hitler, it has been in use in many forms for 5000 years. The word is composed of two words in Sanskrit, “Su” (good) and “Asati” (to exist) which means “May good prevail.” Originally a symbol of good fortune, peace and prosperity, its true meaning was desecrated by the Nazis.
Following the two World Wars, discussion and agreement by Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom (member countries of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) on the burial of the dead created a standardized format encompassing burial sites, layout and size of the gravestones, and the legend on headstones.
Commonwealth countries built burial sites close to combat zones to preserve the link with the battlefield, whereas the United States and France created huge regional cemeteries intended to make a significant impression on people’s minds.
The graves were arranged in straight rows and designed to be perpetual and permanent. The material used in the headstones varied due to the requirement of a weather resistant substance or occurrence of earthquakes.
The standard used ensured that every grave was marked with a headstone, originally 76 centimetres (30”) tall, 38 cm (15”) wide, and 7.6cm (3.0”) thick, with upper case lettering designed by MacDonald Gill.
Each stone contained the national emblem or regimental badge, rank, name, unit, date of death and age of each casualty. In the case of burials of Victoria Cross or George Cross recipients, the regimental badge was supplemented by the Victoria Cross or George Cross emblem.
An appropriate religious symbol was included; most often a cross denoting Christianity, and sometimes a personal dedication chosen by relatives.
Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. J. F. Kennedy
Far away in a distant land, Suddenly struck by death’s strong hand A loving son, strong and brave, Lies buried in a soldier’s grave.
No one knows the silent heartache, Only those can tell Who have lost their loved ones Without saying one farewell. We pictured him safely returning, We longed to clasp his hand, But God has postponed the meeting, Till we meet in a better land.
No one knows the silent heartache,
only those that have lost can tell
Of the grief that’s borne in silence
For the one we loved so well.
And when he gets to Heaven, To Saint Peter he will tell: ‘Just another soldier reporting, Sir. I’ve served my time in Hell.’ Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
Do not ask us if we miss him, There is such a vacant place; Can we e’er forget that footstep, And that dear familiar face.
No loved one stood beside him to bid a last farewell, No word of comfort could he leave to those he loved so well. We little thought his time so short in this world to remain, Nor that from when his home he went he would never return again.
He marched away so bravely, His young head proudly held; His footsteps never faltered, His courage never failed, There on the field of battle, He calmly took his place, He fought for King and Country, And the honour of his race.
…And decades later, the men and women who served are still remembered and accorded the same burial.
Often you will find headstones that commemorate entire families like this one in St. Nicholas Churchyard, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. It belongs to the Buchan family who lived in the village of Easthouses. The patriarch was James Buchan, a farmer, who died in 1843. His son died in 1841,and his daughter died in 1847 just 5 days before his wife. The stone also mentions the death of seven infant children and two adult sons. A possible nephew, James Buchan Dobie and his wife and two sons are also mentioned on the stone.
My dere: children: Think on God; And His Commandments: An he will Think on yo: Observ your youth: dont lose no time. Least God should take you in your prime: Serve God above: And on this world fix not your lov.
Also in this churchyard is a stone dedicated to the Hogg family. John Hogg departed this life in 1798. He rests with 7 of his children ‘three sons and four daughters who all died in childhood’.
Mrs. Jean Fraser, wife of William Hogg, died in 1841 and was ‘deeply lamented by her family, who felt for her the sincerest affection.’ She is interred with two sons who died in childhood, her husband and an adult son who died at age 63 and is remembered as ‘a dutiful son and affection brother. His loss is deeply lamented by his sorrowing sisters also their eldest daughter’ who died 4 years later.
In Copps Hill Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts is the gravestone of Erasmus and Persis Stevens. Erasmus was the ‘issue’ of Erasmus and Elizabeth who died in 1670. Erasmus Jr. died in 1750 at age 64.
A flat stone in Milton Evergreen Cemetery, Ontario, Canada remembers the Clements family. The names of John Clements, his wife Jane Barr and their son John are inscribed on the stone. His brothers, Joseph and Samuel who were born in Tyrone, Ireland, emigrated to Canada in 1823 where they sleep in eternal peace.
Fillial affection stronger than the grave from time’s obliterating hand to save Erects this humble monument of stones Over a father and mother’s bones. Far from their native land here mouldering lie As one in life, now in one cemetery In heaven their children hope that bless’d abode To meet their spirits with a risen God.
Did you notice that none of the gravestones are marked with Memento Mori?
A Soviet funeral monument in the Roman style encased in glass, Novodevichiy Cemetery, Moscow
Martyrs Monument, Valley Cemetery, Stirling, Scotland
In the late 17th century two sisters, Margaret and Agnes Wilson from Wigtown, were arrested for refusing to renounce the Covenanter faith which was in opposition to Royal control over the church. A plea from their father released Agnes; however, Margaret aged 18 refused to swear an oath declaring James VII as head of the church. She was chained to a stake in the tides of the Solway Firth and drowned on 11th May 1685.
A glass tomb memorial commissioned by William Drummond in 1859 was designed by Handyside Ritchie and cast by George Smith & Co. Sun Foundry Glasgow. The cupola which was added in 1867 is capped with a crown resting on a pillow. The tomb contains marble statuary of the sisters and an angel. Margaret, with a look of determination on her face, is seated with a bible in her left hand. Agnes, the younger sister is leaning against her as she looks down at the bible. An angel holding a wreath overlooks the pair, and a lamb is seated at their feet (a symbol of martyrdom).
An engraved plaque is located on the stone pedestal. Margaret / Virgin Martyr Of The Ocean Wave / With Her Like-Minded Sister / Agnes. Love, Many Waters Cannot Quench God Saves / His Chaste Impearled One In Covenant True / O Scotia’s Daughter Earnest Scan The Page / And Prize This Flower Of Grace Blood-Bought For You. Psalm IX:XIX
There are four symbols above the legend: the letters nr, a Sun Cross, the Greek letter Omega, and waves or water.
The octagonal stone base has several engravings. Revelation 22:13-21 is engraved on the stone at the front of the pedestal and is a reference to Christ as “the First and the Last.”
A second biblical reference is Isaiah 17:12-14 which refers to the roar of the seas and mighty waters.
A third panel is engraved with the words Glory To God
Individual glass panes beneath the cupola display the words, It Is / Christ / In Us / Lord / Jesus / King / Judge / Saviour