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Symbols on Headstones

We often see symbols depicted on the front of headstones, many of which have a meaning. We have compiled a list of symbols and their common meanings to help you.


Angels are regularly seen on headstones and symbolise God and spirituality. Commonly these Angels are Michael, who has a sword and Gabriel, who is shown with a horn.


Books can depict that the headstone, grave or tombstone is a document holding information on the life of the deceased. An open book is often seen as a biography of ones life and a closed book depicts the ending of the story of the deceased.


A butterfly is often associated with the resurrection and rebirth of Christ.


Candles often represent spirit or the soul in a religious context. The Christian faith associate candles with Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. In Catholic burials candles are often left by the grave to represent the ongoing prayers for the deceased.


A key symbol of Christianity, symbolises faith, hope and charity.


A popular symbol used on headstones represents peace and also the Holy Spirit.


Hearts often display love and affection from the living to the deceased, 2 joint hearts can represent marriage.

The Scroll

A scroll depicts the life and times of the deceased as if it unfolded from the rolled ends with the past and future not on display. If a hand it holding the scroll this can depict the life being held by Angels.

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