These images of metal markers in the shape of the maple leaf are located in Victorian Lawn Cemetery in St. Catharines, ON, Canada. The marker contains the official badge of the Canadian Legion and motto, “Memoriam eorum retinebimus”, We Will Remember Them.
The markers are also holders for Canadian flags in commemoration of St. Catharine’s war veterans.
Just back from Scotland where I discovered this ancient graveyard on the outskirts of Edinburgh: Old Pentland Cemetery, Damhead, Midlothian.
This cemetery was once home to a 13th century church which served the parish. A small watch house (a guard house to prevent grave robbing) inside the gates contains two stones known as the Arnold stones discovered in 1856 by Thomas Arnold. Chiselled into the stones are a Fleury cross, a calvary cross base and a sword. The cemetery is owned by the Gibsone Trust.
Within the only mausoleum on the grounds is a plaque with two angels flanking the Gibsone family crest and a dedication inscribed: Sacred to the memory of the late Sir John Gibsone of Pentland Bart who died March 1781 aged 48? Years. He was endowed with every virtue which became the Christian, the Gentleman, and the Scholar and died universally respected and lamented.
He married May 1774, Henrietta, eldest daughter of James Watson of Saughton and Lady Helen Hope who died 8th of March 1803 aged 63 years. This is erected by their only child Mrs. Helen Gibsone of Pentland.
Also in memory of Mrs. Helen Gibsone of Pentland only daughter and heiress of the above Sir John Gibsone who died 24th October 1843 In her 69th year.
And in loving remembrance of Jack Gibsone, Laird of Pentland, who died 30th December 1992, aged 84 years, a true gentle man.
Many of the inscriptions on the headstones have been eroded due to the weather or completely obliterated.
Erected to the memory of Andrew Finlayson late Mason at Loudon Burn who died the 8th October 1811, aged 55 years.
Also lies here Anne Finlayson his mother who died the 16th March 1755, aged 61 years and Andrew Finlayson his father who died 12 of November 1787 , aged 50 years.
Here lies Robert Umpherston tenant in Pentland who died March 2nd 1624 aged 31.
Here lies the dust of McJohn McNeil preacher of the gospel at Loanhead who died Dec 1702? in the 66 year of his age. A ? adherent to the covenanted testimony of the Church of Scotland in principle in practice and ? witness against ………..
The corps of Charles Brown who departed this …1661…..
Here lies Archibald Grieve preacher of the gospel licensed by the Reformed Presbytery at Peebles , June the 7th and who died at Pentland much lamented Oct 3rd 1760, aged 26 years. How soon this rising star did disappear He fell the church did mourn and friends did dear.
Apparently women did not outlive their husbands in the 17th and 18th centuries as evidenced by the following markers.
Here lies James Pennycook shepherd and tenant in Leaps who died in Pentland Oct 14, 1761, aged 83 years.
Also his first spouse Janet Baillie who died Oct 1710. And Marion Hodge his next spouse who died April 13th, 1732, aged 46 years.
Also two of his children Isobel and Elisabeth who died in their infancy.
Likewise his grandchild James Grinton who died March 1755 in the 8th year of his age.
1793 Here lies interred the body of John Waterston who died June 16, 1792, aged 79 years. He was first married to Katharine Lumsdain by whom he had two children James & Janet Waterston, and afterwards to Jean Graham who died without issue. This stone was erected by James Waterston his son. 8 feet square of ground belongs to this stone
This stone was erected by James Barrowman Smith Reid Combs to the memory of Isabell Fowler his spouse who died Dec 15, 1788, aged 43 years.
Also Margaret Carens his second spouse who died March 18, 1806 aged 47 years.
Also four of his children who died young.
Also two of his grandchildren Isabell Simpson who died March 5 1810, aged 7 years and Jean Barrowman who died August 17, 18??…
In memory of Isabella Thomson wife of Charles Robertson, Bilston Inn died 6th February 188? Aged 43 years and of the above Charles Robertson died at Silverburn 7th April 1906 aged 69 years.
Also his son Hugh Lamond died 12th April 1919 aged 34 years and his granddaughter Alison died 7th October 1897 aged 10 months.
Mary Meldrum his 2nd wife died 5th February 1921 aged 77
Also Colour Sergeant Alexander Robertson 98th Regiment and Catherine Robertson his sister who lie buried in St. Cuthberts Churchyard.
Father Time also known as the Grim Reaper, the master of death and harvester of souls, symbolizes mortality. He is usually represented with a long beard and long hair carrying a scythe, and often with wings on his back. Hourglass symbols are also associated with him.
The scythe represents the Divine harvest and the hourglass denotes that the sands of time bring us closer to death. As the scythe cuts the harvest, so life is ended by Father Time.
The sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion, protector of the dead, it is historically connected to the pyramid, the ultimate in tombs.
There are two types of sphinx; most famously the Egyptian sphinx modeled after the Great Sphinx at Giza which represents a male. The head is dressed with a neme, the striped headcloth worn by pharaohs in ancient Egypt.
Occasionally a false beard is displayed. As beards were associated with the gods, Pharaohs wore false beards for ceremonies to express their importance and divine ranking.
In March 1865 Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Jacob Bigelow proposed that the Mount Auburn Cemetery commission “a public monument in memory of the heroes who have fallen in the present war for the preservation of the Union.” When the trustees postponed making a decision he commissioned the Irish-born sculptor, Martin Milmore, to create a Sphinx to be cut from a single block of Hallowell granite, 15 feet long and about 8 feet high.
The Sphinx was chosen as it represented the strength of a lion and the beauty and benevolence of a woman. The inscription was composed by Dr. Bigelow “American Union Preserved; African Slavery Destroyed; By the Uprising of a Great People; By the Blood of Fallen Heroes.”
The Brunswig tomb in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana was built to commemorate Lucien Napoleon Brunswig’s wife, Annie Mercer Brunswig and their son Lucien Mercer Brunswig (1882-1892) who died within a month of each other. His testament instructed his family to bury him inside the tomb with his wife and child. Brunswig is also interred with his two daughters, Henrietta Rosalie Brunswig (1879-1963), and Annie Brunswig Wellborn (1881-1982) and her husband.
In Greek tradition, the sphinx was in the form of a female who was often bare-breasted and is therefore associated with maternal love.
Many neo-Egyptian designs in modern cemeteries feature the Greek variety which is often portrayed with the wings of a bird.
Within the Hildburghausen Cemetery in Germany a winged Sphinx sits atop the headstone belonging to the 19th century Egyptologist, Doctor Friedrich Carl Ludwig Sickler.
A pyramid marks the Schoenhofen Tomb in the Graceland Cemetery, Chicago. The entry door with a snake coiled on the handle is flanked by a sphinx and an angel. It is the final resting place of Peter Schoenhofen, a Chicago brewer.
The Drake Mausoleum contains members of the family and extended relatives. Originally at Laurel Hill Cemetery it was moved to West Laurel Hill, Philadelphia where it is guarded by a winged Sphinx at each corner of the roof. Thomas Drake Martinez Cardeza and his mother Mrs. Charlotte Drake Martinez Cardeza were surviving passengers of the Titanic shipwreck in 1912. Charlotte was a rich philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to the poor.
If you go looking for a bell in the cemetery the easiest discovery will be a gravestone engraved with the surname Bell. However, if you are looking for the symbol of a bell unrelated to the surname it will be a long search. A bell is one of the rarest symbols found on headstones and quite simply represents mourning.
The Dead Bell in the Middle Ages was believed to frighten away evil spirits.
When someone died the bell ringer passed through the streets of villages, towns or cities ringing the bell slowly and repeatedly while announcing the name of the recently deceased person and details of the funeral. The solemn ringing of the bell led mourners from the home of the deceased to the church where the funeral was held.
In 16th century Britain land for burial was sparse. Coffins were dug up and bones taken to the bone-house so that the grave could be reused. Upon opening the coffins, it was noticed that several had scratch marks on the inside. The realization that people were being buried whilst still alive led to the practice of tying a string on the wrist of the corpse which was attached to a bell above ground while a sentry sat in the cemetery overnight.
A little grave humour: Harold, the Oakdale gravedigger, upon hearing a bell, went to go see if it was children pretending to be spirits. Sometimes it was also the wind. This time it wasn’t either. A voice from below begged, pleaded to be unburied. “You Sarah O’Bannon?” Yes! the voice assured. “You were born on September 17, 1827?” “Yes!” “The gravestone here says you died on February 19?” “No I’m alive, it was a mistake! Dig me up, set me free!” “Sorry about this, ma’am,” Harold said, stepping on the bell to silence it and plugging up the copper tube with dirt. “But this is August. Whatever you is down there, you ain’t alive no more, and you ain’t comin’ up.”
The Bell of Hope was a gift from London’s St. Mary-le-Bow, which is the sister church to St. Paul’s Chapel in Manhattan. Installed in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Chapel in September 2002, the Bell of Hope is rung at a ceremony every year on September 11th. It has also been rung after the bombings in Madrid, 2004; London, 2005; Mumbai, 2008; Moscow, 2010; and the Boston Marathon, 2013; and for the shootings at Virginia Tech, 2007 and in Norway, 2011.
The bell is inscribed: “To the Greater Glory of God And in Recognition of The Enduring Links Between The City of London And The City of New York” “Forged in adversity—11.September.2001”
The La Cambe German Cemetery in Normandy, France where there are 21,222 burials with 207 belonging to unknown soldiers. A peace garden with 1,200 maple-trees is adjacent to the cemetery.
Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in
In the historic cemetery known as Greyfriar’s Kirkyard in Edinburgh is the tomb of the Mylne family who were architects and master masons to the Kings of Scotland. Enclosed with an iron fence the memorial is attached to the east wall of a tenement building on Candlemaker Row. The tomb contains the remains of John Mylne, Robert Mylne, William Mylne and Thomas Mylne.
The pediment at the top of the memorial hosts two cherubs flanking the heraldic shield of the Mylne family identified by a knight’s armoured helmet, and a shield containing a Patonce cross with three 5 point stars.
Directly beneath the shield is a grotesque representing a dragon. Additional examples of Memento Mori are present in winged effigies, skulls, an hourglass and crossed torches.
The main inscription written in Latin is displayed in Drapery held in the mouth of a ram: “John Mylne, who, at the expiry of fifty-five years of this frail life, sleeps softly here, sixth Master-Mason to the King of the family of Mylne, of remarkable skill in the building art, frequently Deacon-Convener of the Trades of Edinburgh, the circumspect and faithful representative of the metropolis on several occasions in the public Parliament of the Kingdom; a man adorned with gifts of mind above his condition in life, of a remarkably handsome person, upright, sagacious, pious, universally respected.
Robert, his brother’s son, emulous of his virtues, as well as his successor in office, has, out of gratitude, erected this monument, such as it is, to his uncle. He died 24th Dec. 1667, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.
John Mylne’s character is described in a smaller shield: Great artisan, grave senator, John Mylne,
Renown’d for learning, prudence, parts, and skill,
Who in his life Vitruvius’ art had shown,
Adorning others’ monuments: his own
Can have no other beauty, than his name,
His memory and everlasting fame.
Rare man he was, who could unite, in one,
Highest and lowest occupation;
To sit with statesmen, councillour to kings,
To work, with tradesmen, in mechanick things;
Majestick man, for person, witt, and grace;
This generation cannot fill his place.
Two Corinthian columns are inscribed with dedication.
The left column commemorates Robert Mylne: Sacred to the Memorie of Robert Mylne of Balfargie, Master Mason to severall Kings of Scotland; and Survieor to this Citie, who, duringe ane active life of honest fame, Builded amonge manie extensive warks Mylne’s Court, Mylne’s Square, and the Abbie of Halie rud house, Leaving by ane Worthie Wife, Eight Sonnes and Six Daughters, All Placed in the World with Credit to himself, and consecrated this Monument, To the Honour of his Ancestrie. Died Decr. 10th, 1710; aged 77.”
The column on the right: To the Memory of Thomas Mylne Eldest son of William Mylne a Deacon of the Masons in Edinburgh Who Died 5th March1763 To the Memory of William Mylne Master Mason Eldest son of Robert Mylne of Balfargie Who Died 9th March 1728.
A cartouche at the base of the stone is inscribed: Reader, John Mylne, who maketh the fourth John,
and, by descent, from father unto son,
Sixth master mason to a royal race
Of seven successive Kings, sleeps in this place.