Monumental Inscriptions

Monumental inscriptions, or Memorial inscriptions, are the inscribed words on tombs and memorials in churchyards and churches. Inscriptions are also found on war memorials and out-door furniture such as park benches and in non-Anglican burial grounds such as Municipal Cemeteries. The Society has concentrated on transcribing Anglican burial grounds because of their historical importance and included other memorials in the locality as appropriate and, like other Societies, records them in situ and publishes the result in booklet form. A monumental inscription is normally in three parts.

The Preamble

“In memory of” and “Here lies the body of” are examples of the preamble. The former may be used when the deceased is buried elsewhere. The latter states more precisely that a grave exists near the stone. The Society’s transcribers abbreviate the more obvious ones but do provide in the booklet a key to the abbreviations used.

The Personal Epitaph

This section normally states the name of the deceased, the date of death and age at death. This may vary as to detail.

The Supplementary Epitaph

This section contains text in verse or prose, sometimes from the Bible. Additional information about the deceased is contained here.

An inscription may refer to one or more persons such as a wife or husband or children or siblings or father or mother. Monumental inscriptions come in all varieties. Memorials for the Society of Friends (Quaker memorials), for instance, may only contain the Personal Epitaph. Similarly do plaques in Gardens of Remembrance where the deceased has been cremated elsewhere and the ashes have been either buried or scattered

Further Information

Monumental Inscriptions: Historical background

Hertfordshire Antiquarians

Monument Types

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