Tombstone Symbols

In our New England cemeteries there is an abundance of interesting artwork on tombstones many of which are well preserved.

Early stones seem to have repeat examples of certain patterns while today there are some examples of beautiful landscapes etched into stone of a more personal nature.

Below is a list of some symbols found in our graveyards.

Click the symbol name to go to Images.

Anchor      Hope,  an anchor of the soul

Angel          Effigies—the soul, (flying)—Rebirth or Death Heads  Mortality, death or Flying Soul- flight of the soul from the mortal body

Cross           Salvation

Garland         Victory in death

Heavenly Hands    Handshake- farewell to earthly existence

Ivy       Memory and fidelity

Lily Of The Valley, Wilting Rosebud    Purity, Innocence, Death, often of a young child

Sun, Star         (rising)—renewed life, guiding light

Tree of Life        Eternal life

Wheat Sheaves    Divine harvest , time, often used to denote old age

Weeping Willow & Urns     Grief and sorrow, Urns-Receptacle for the bodily remains/mortality