29 November 2009

Ma. S. O. De Arguello?

So you're probably wondering just like I was. What's a Ma. S. O. de Arguello? Well after about an hour of research and several different Google searches I finally found out. Maria Soledad Ortega de Arguello. I see a lot of abbreviations for names on gravestones or in this case monuments but without the power of the internet I may have never figured this one out. Maria was the grand daughter of Sgt. Ortega of the Portola Expedition which was Spain's first attempt to explore Alta California and allegedly the first European to see the San Francisco Bay. At the age of 25 in 1822 she married Luis Antonio Arguello and married into one of the most influential families in early California History. Luis succeeded his father as governor of California and became the first native of Alta California to serve as governor under the rule of the Mexican government and the first native of California to hold that position. Luis never lived on Rancho de las Pulgas but his family moved there after his death in 1830. Rancho de las Pulgas has now become 5 cities in Northern California. It now forms the cities of San Mateo, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, Atherton and Menlo Park.

I found it interesting that Maria is buried at Santa Clara mission cemetery while Luis is buried at Mission Dolores in San Francisco. I searched through my pictures and happened to have a picture of Luis' grave from when I visited Mission Dolores for a school project on missions for my girlfriend's daughter. I had no idea at the time that I would one day be able to connect him to someone else. With most of my earlier pictures I wasn't as interested in the history behind who was buried as I was the marker itself. I now find myself saying "I need to go back there and get more information." I'm just glad I keep my photos organized enough to be able to go back and see if I have that one crucial link...

Memorial plaques for A B Pite, West Norwood cemetery London.

Victorian architect Arthur Beresford Pite is buried in West Norwood cemetery South London. His grave sustained much damage over the years; the copper inscription plaques are missing and there is a great deal of subsidence.

Pite was the architect responsible for many wonderful buildings including Burlington Arcade, Christ Church Brixton, Institute of Chartered Accountants, 30 Euston Square, All Souls School Marylebone and Holy Trinity Church Clapham. His works, most of which survive today, and years spent teaching and lecturing at The Royal College of Art have shaped the landscape and minds of many.

I have carried out much research on Pite having been the Facilities manager in his Euston Square building, which I had Grade 2 special listed due to its significant architectural importance.

On 28th November 2009 I unveiled a plaque marking the 75th anniversary of Pite’s death. Wearing traditional Victorian mourning dress I delivered a speech at the graveside about the life and works of Pite and the grave restoration project for which I am raising funds. As there are currently no visible inscriptions or identifying features on the grave, I wanted people to be able to find it easily and the name Arthur Beresford Pite architect and educator to once more be known.

25 November 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Julius Beer, Highgate cemetery, UK.

The mausoleum with a pyramid top in Highgate cemetery, London is that of Julius Beer (1836-1880.) Beer was born into poverty in Frankfurt and determined to make his fortune. He dealt on the London Stock Exchange and became proprietor of The Observer newspaper. However, being Jewish and a foreigner and having earned his wealth by commercial success rather than inheritance, he always felt ostracised by Victorian high society.

The mausoleum was built by Italian craftsmen and cost £5000 then, £2-£3 million in today's terms. At 1000ft above sea level, the mausoleum looms over most of Highgate's residents. Inside, the newly restored sculpture is of his daughter Ada. The likeness of the little girl being comforted by an angel was copied from her death mask when Ada died as a child. The ceiling is decorated with gold leaf. It took three months to restore the monument in recent years at a cost of £42K. The interior of the mausoleum is not normally open to visitors.

22 November 2009

More cemetery portraits.

Following on from Deez wonderful photos, here are a few recent ones I took in London cemeteries including a shot of a whole family which was rather sad.

20 November 2009

Freaky Friday

Not much in a cemetery freaks me out more than having a picture on your grave stone. There's something about knowing who is buried there that makes it more personal. I don't want to have a personal relationship with the person buried nor do I need to know what they looked like before death. The newer ones don't bother me as much as the older ones for some reason. It seems that the old clothes and old styles they had back then are what does it for me. Nowadays the families seem to find the worst picture possible to put on the grave of a loved one whereas back then everyone looked so stern and serious. Following are a couple examples of the ones that kind of creep me out.

This one wasn't so bad but looking at it I think it's mostly their eyes.

Ok this one freaked me out just a little. It appeared to be almost painted on.

Pictures of kids are always scary to me. Any horror movie I've ever seen with a kid in it has freaked me out. The Shining, Pet Cemetery, The Grudge all little kids and all a little freaky.

I would like to give my girlfriend credit for all but one of these pictures here. It seems I don't have too many of them. We usually visit the cemetery together and when I compared our folders she has a lot more of these than I do. Matter of fact I only have that one up there that I said was painted. I think if I see a picture of someone I usually try to avoid it. I don't like my trip to be personal or to feel a personal relationship with the dead. That's not why I go. I have been learning lately that sometimes the marker tells the story itself or allows you to at least speculate what may have happened. I'll be doing a piece on that soon. These things sometimes take more time than I have to put together...Thanks for reading...

Amusing cemetery shot.

Friday laugh - I took this shot at Kensal Green cemetery in London, it wasn’t set up the pedestrian sign was pointing in that direction and really made me laugh. I entered it in The Times newspaper Sign of the Times photography competition and am delighted to say it made it to the top 20 winners of 2009.

15 November 2009

San Francisco National Cemtery at the Presidio

California was first colonized by Spain in 1542 with the discovery of the San Diego Bay. The region remained mostly unexplored for more than 200 years. Spain was known for establishing pueblos, missions and Presidios as a way of colonization. The Presidios served as military outposts which would be able to provide support in case of invasion for the pueblos and missions. They also served as trading centers as they would receive the annual supply of goods from Mexico and were also responsible for the disbursement of such goods. The first Presidios were Monterey and San Diego being established in 1769. It was in 1776 that the Presidio of San Francisco was established. It wasn't until 1850 with the discovery of gold that President Fillmore by executive order had established a military outpost at the Presidio. This was after a brief control by Mexico. By this time the Presidio had been nearly abandoned by Spain in favor of other interests. The first burial was at what was called The Post Cemetery in 1854. It wasn't until 1884 that the war department designated 9 acres as the site for the San Francisco National Cemetery. Today the cemetery spans 28 acres and over 28000 burials. It is the only cemetery within the city limits of San Francisco because in 1912 city officials passed an ordinance evicting all other cemeteries from the city limits of San Francisco (see Colma). Burials are currently denied in this cemetery unless previously reserved or if for some reason a reservation is cancelled. From the top of the hill I could see sail boats in the distance and the Golden Gate bridge on the other side. As with all military cemeteries I have seen the stones here were pretty plain and uniform as I expected. There were a few scattered stones here and there that appeared different but I had a long day already when we went to see the King Tut artifacts at the museum earlier in the day. I would have pictures of that as well if they actually allowed photography inside...as always thanks for reading.

14 November 2009

St Pancras Old Church Churchyard, London.

St Pancras Old Church dates from 11/12C and stands on oldest site of Christian worship in London (3C). Poor Pancras was the orphaned Christian son of a nobleman. He was brought up at the Court of the Emperor in Rome. At the age of 14, refusing to betray his Christian faith he was executed by decapitation on 12th May, 304 A.D. Inside there is a lot of ornamentation and an amazing 4C Altar Stone, reputed to have belonged to St Augustine. The surrounding Churchyard contains the tombs of architect Sir John Soane and Mary Wollstonecraft (although hers is just a monument now as her remains were reburied in Bournemouth.) Mary’s grave was an trysting (err hum) place for her daughter, also Mary, and her future husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, when this was a rural churchyard beside the River Fleet! It’s a very pretty churchyard and I got the feeling that I was just standing on the tip of the iceberg with so many more thousands buried below. There has been reputed grave robbing in the late 1800s, and many were disinterred and reburied during the works to the St Pancras rail extension. The tightly packed graves around the Hardy tree are very moving, like nothing I’ve ever seen anywhere else. The Hardy Tree, the plaque on the tree explains that before turning to writing full time Thomas Hardy studied architecture in London from 1862-67 under Mr. Arthur Blomfield, an architect based in Covent Garden. During the 1860s the Midland Railway line was built over part of the original St. Pancras Churchyard. Blomfield was commissioned by the Bishop of London to supervise the proper exhumation of human remains and dismantling of tombs. He passed this unenviable task to his protégé Thomas Hardy in. c.l865. Hardy would have spent many hours in St. Pancras Churchyard overseeing the careful removal of bodies and tombs from the land on which the railway was being built. The headstones around the ash tree would have been placed here about that time. A few years before Hardy's involvement, Charles Dickens made reference to Old St. Pancras Churchyard in his Tale of Two Cities (1859), as the churchyard in which Roger Cly was buried and where Gerry Cruncher was known to 'fish' (a 19C term for body snatching.)

12 November 2009

On the subject of crows

On the subject of crows, here is a shot I took at Brompton cemetery in London. TThere was one crow on nearly every cross!

That Thing Thursday

This weeks thing happens to be an upside down crow. As I happened upon it at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery it appeared to be stuck on a branch struggling to free itself. Being in no mood to climb a tree I stood there and watched for a couple minutes as it tried to free itself. When it finally broke free it swooped right above my head as if to say "Hey jerk can't you put down the camera for a second and help me out?". I often see crows in cemeteries and a few times I've followed them as they randomly travel from grave to grave just to see if it brings me anywhere interesting. So far, unless I'm missing some sort of message from beyond my following them hasn't led me anywhere. I did do a little research today to see what the crow symbolizes. So I began looking into Bird Mythology and have uncovered several different beliefs.

A number of Native American Tribes believed that the crow was able to see past, present and future all at once with it's far seeing eye.

The Greeks believed that the crow was a sign of impending death and therefore saw it as unlucky. They were sacred to Athena but she still would not permit them to land on the roof of the Acropolis.

In China a 3 legged crow is said to live in the sun with his 3 legs representing morning, noon and night.

Medieval Christians believed that the crow was a sign of the devil due to it's scavenging as well as a symbol of fidelity because they thought that when the crow's partner died that it would never seek a new mate.

I could not find any information on what if anything an upside down crow symbolizes. I can tell you that if you encounter one that's high in a tree that you either attempt to help it by climbing the tree or it'll buzz by your head on it's way down. That's only if it can figure out how to free itself before you become bored watching it hang there...

11 November 2009

Cemetery Explorers has received the Kreativ Blogger Award

Normally this post would be dedicated to Wordless Wednesday but in this case I'll make an exception. Linda over at Flipside has bestowed upon us the Kreativ Blogger Award. I would like to thank the authors contributing to Cemetery Explorers who helped make this possible. They are Becky R, Terri O'Connell and our newest contributor Jeane Trend-Hill. Thanks ladies for making this site better with your articles, insights and photography. Thanks to the readers for continuing to read and view these articles.

As a rule of receiving this award I'm required to list 7 things about myself and then pass it on to 7 other bloggers. So here goes...

1. I very much dislike Italian food although I am coming around to liking Pizza again.
2. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original) is my favorite movie of all time and I really don't like chocolate ( I know, I know)
3. I'm addicted to my laptop.
4. I'd addicted to Photoshop
5. I love a good beer
6. I think there are more women that visit cemeteries than men.
7. I like anything old. Books, pictures, buildings and of course Cemeteries

Now it's time to pass this on to 7 other bloggers...in no particular order

1. Dead Man Talking - Blogging a Dead Horse which is very well written
2. AQ - Aq the Professional - Only for those with a sick and twisted sense of humor (NSFW)
3. Cheryl - Heritage Happens - Very good researcher
4. Tina - Campo Santo Holy Ground - Showing me new places in California
5. Teri - Researching our Ancestors - Interesting insight
6. Becky - Kinnexions - I've been following her on her trip
7. Carol - Reflections from the Fence - Who would have thought being in an Rv would be so fun?

Also if my authors would like to contribute 7 things about themselves it would be cool to add to this. Also if you have any other blogs you'd like added let me know. These are just my personal choices and in no way reflect the views of the other authors...Thanks again...

Jeane Trend-Hill's 7 Things

1. I can fly a helicopter.
2. I love architecture especially Gothic, Victorian, Art Deco and Noveau.
3. I collect Victorian mourning jewellery, cards and funerary.
4. I have an irrational fear of spiders (even tiny ones.)
5. I have a menagerie of crazy animals and birds.
6. I have ten tattoos.
7. I really like cheese.

Terri O'Connell's 7 Things

So here are my 7 things:

1. I love tracing my family history.
2. I love to take pictures.
3. I love to explore the local cemeteries looking for the resting places of notable, historical people.
4. I am an animal lover, we have 3 cats and a dog.
5. I love a good road trip!
6. I am a Disney addict.
7. I have 3 kids ranging from 13 to 20!

10 November 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

This was taken at Holy Cross Cemetery in Antioch, CA. It is one of 2 statues I've seen there depicting St. Catherine of Siena at Holy Cross. The other was in a previous post. From the age of 6, Catherine began having visions of angels as clearly as you and I see regular people. By the time she was 16 she became a Dominican Tertiary (A Dominican Tertiary is a lay member of the Dominican Order in the Roman Catholic Church. Such members seek a life of Christian perfection and penance while continuing the normal pursuits of the laity.) She continued to have visions of Christ, Mary and the Saints and was considered one of the most brilliant theological minds of her time. The letters of St. Catherine and a treatise called "The Dialogue" are widely considered some of the most brilliant writings of the Catholic Church. She lived from 1347 - 1380. She is known for receiving the stigmata which only became visible after her death. Her body was discovered in 1430 incorrupt. She appeared as she did the day she died. There are several religious accounts of this happening to other Saints in the Catholic church as well. (See incorruptibles)

09 November 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
1929 - 1994

Taken on our recent trip to Arlington National Cemetery, October 2009.

07 November 2009

The City Rock Cemetery, Nottingham.

The city Rock Cemetery is unlike most cemeteries I have visited. It’s unusual in that it’s built out of sandstone rock and looks very much like an old style Necropolis with caves. Catacombs were built into a larger cave but they were never used.

The Cemetery was laid out by Edwin Patchitt for the Church Cemetery Company and was opened in 1856. It lies north of the centre of Nottingham. The Cemetery, built on old sandpits, slopes gradually northwards towards the Forest with a deep natural hollow, known as St Ann's Valley in the north-east corner of the site. The entrance to the Cemetery is off the corner of Forest Road East and Mansfield Road between large stone gate piers and ornamental iron gates. The main processional path, cobbled by the entrance, leads north-westwards with, standing west of the entrance, a small brick and render lodge (c1865) with a slate roof and gable and porch bargeboards. The main path leads westwards with midway along the path a spur leading to the site of the Mortuary Chapel (demolished 1965.) A cottage adjoining one of the three windmills which formally stood on the site of the Cemetery was used as a temporary Chapel after the opening of the Cemetery and was subsequently demolished.

A Mortuary Chapel, designed by E W Godwin, was built in 1878-79 and opened in August 1879. The Cruciform Chapel with a central tower and pyramidal spire stood 210 metres from the south-eastern lodge of a spur off the main processional path. The layout of the Cemetery is determined by the sandstone rocks and old sandpits on which the Cemetery was created. It has four main areas: the terrace to the south with a straight promenade to the site of the Chapel; the section in the centre and north-west which is terraced and has ashlar retaining walls; the catacomb range in St Ann's Valley in the east and the north-west corner which uses natural caves, cliffs and outcrops.

The main processional path along the top terrace runs east past a War Memorial (c1920, listed grade II) designed by Sir Richard Blomfield (1856-1942) built of Portland stone. Midway along the path a spur leads north to the site of the former Mortuary Chapel the main route continuing on the raised area of graves. The latter terrace has a number of fine Edwardian figure sculpture tombs. Another path runs northwards from the lodge to sandstone caves. This area has the most impressive Victorian monuments, several of which are set in rock. From the caves the path continues along a sunken path to a long ramp flanked by brick walls, part of the walls being contiguous with Forest Park. The ramp leads to St Ann's Valley, a natural hollow made larger and strengthened for the building of catacombs and the long ramped entrance (1851-56, the remaining walls and stairway listed grade II). This earthmoving together with the formation of the mounds and terraces elsewhere in the cemetery was done by the unemployed poor in the late 1850s.The exposed bedrock of the Valley supports buttressed Gothic arches. Immediately at the bottom of the ramp are lines of paupers' graves with stone slabs recording the names of the number of adults and children in each grave. South of the graves are the more scattered individual graves. A few ornamental trees are planted in the centre of the space. A tunnel links the Valley with the western part of the Cemetery.

05 November 2009

That Thing Thursday

For this week's "That Thing" I'd like to talk a little about those things I don't want at my grave site. I'm not saying these things don't work for other people but I'd like it known before I die that these are not things that I'd like. As a matter of fact I'd like to go on record and say that I'll most likely haunt whoever allows these things to happen. I'm honestly still undecided as to how my death will go. Will it be a normal burial where family will eventually stop coming? Or will it be what I've said it's going to be for a long time now? I've always thought I wanted to be cremated and have my brother climb the tallest hill in my hometown on a pair of roller skates to spread my ashes. This is the kind of thing my brother and I do to each other. So anyway let me assume for this post that I'll be buried like normal.

Rule #1 - No scary statues. If someone is coming to visit me I don't want them scared away by a creepy statue. I want them to remember me and not have nightmares about a scary statue they saw on the one time a year they'll probably visit me. And yes I have used this picture in a previous post.

Rule #2 - Don't over do it. I see many people leaving things behind at grave sites that were most likely things that people enjoyed when they were alive. I imagine if this happened to me there would be things like bottles of Tapatio (my favorite hot sauce), bacon and maybe a laptop. My mom always gives me things that she like and not necessarily what I like. I don't have room on my grave for a Santa Claus dressed as a cowboy mom...sorry. I sometimes draw conclusions when looking at graves. I concluded that the person in this grave must have been religious and also liked roosters and bears.

Rule #3 - Please do not use any type of wood. I don't want it around my grave or used as a marker. Wood deteriorates to the point most of the markers can't be read. I'm not sure why many people use wood in the first place. The only conclusion I can draw is that it was the most inexpensive way to mark a loved one's grave. This is why I'm still leaning toward cremation. I don't feel it's necessary to burden my family with a large bill because I'm dead. Keep me in your thoughts and don't feel like you have to spend your weekend at my grave site.

Rule#4 - Please don't plant any large shrubs, trees or bushes on my grave unless you intend to maintain them. Many times I see a grave such as the one pictured. The family plants a shrub or plant of some kind to make the grave more appealing yet actually ends up doing the opposite. This bush was so overgrown I couldn't even tell who was buried here. Who knows maybe that was the intent.

Rule #5 - I'm not going to post a picture of anyone for this last rule because I don't feel it's necessary to illustrate my point. I know everyone has seen at least one or two of these. No pictures of me on my grave marker. Why do families always insist on picking the worst possible picture to have embedded on someone's marker? I've seen all kinds of things from women with curlers in their hair, a lady in a hot tub in a not so flattering bathing suit, a guy with a horrible mangy beard, pictures of people with beer and cigarettes in their hands which is probably what killed them in the first place and a host of other not so flattering pictures.

After laying out all these rules I think I'm still sticking to the idea of my brother climbing the hill on roller skates with my ashes in hand. I've also requested that nobody keep a part of my ashes in their home. I do not want to be bound by the constaints of my ashes watching their boring TV shows, hearing them argue and bicker amongst themselves over who gets all my stuff (it's not like I've amassed some great fortune anyway), or having my spirit earthbound. I want to fly around and see what kind of trouble I can get into. So if anything should happen to me these are my current wishes. If they change in any way I'll be sure to let everyone know. Thanks for reading.

03 November 2009

Oakview Memorial Antioch, CA - Gaetano E. Seeno

Directly across from the Holy Cross Cemetery in Antioch, CA is the Oak Hill Memorial Cemetery. While visiting the earliest marker I saw was 1876, however it’s possible the cemetery was established around the time Holy Cross was established which was in 1862. Oakview is currently home to approximately 20 acres of interments. The cemetery manager could provide no information on how old the cemetery was or exactly how many burials it contained. He could tell us that toilet bowl cleaner and a pumice stone was the best way to remove calcium deposits from a granite stone. My girlfriend decided that day she was going to clean her grandmother’s stone and I in turn decided that I would peruse the cemetery as she did so. There are many area pioneers buried here but the one that interested me the most was that of G.E. Seeno. Seeno is a popular name in my hometown so I decided to do a little research as to his accomplishments. With the help of a friend who runs the Pittsburg, CA Facebook page as well as some of the volunteers at the Pittsburg Historical Society. I was able to find the following information on G.E. Seeno.

Gaetono Erasmo Seeno – 4/30/1885 – 10/30/1951

Nicknamed Tonno, Gaetano Erasmo Seeno (G.E. Seeno) was born in Isolla Delle Femmine Sicily in 1885. In 1899 at the age of 14 he came to Pittsburg and joined his father Erasmo who was by trade a stone mason and operated a blacksmith and plumbing business in what was then called New York of the Pacific. Then after coal was discovered in the hills the city was renamed Black Diamond. It wasn’t until 1906 with the opening of Columbia Geneva Steel that voters decided to name the city Pittsburg. It was around this time, and coinciding with the San Francisco earthquake that G.E. Seeno would team with his brother to assist in the reconstruction of San Francisco.

In January of 1911 he married Rosa Di Maggio which combined two of the most prominent families in the area. Her parents owned and operated a grocery store and later a macaroni factory. They had four children Helen, Edith, Alverra and a son Albert. Albert became Seeno’s associate in the contracting business. Together they started one of the most lucrative contracting firms in the area. Albert D. Seeno became one of the largest builders in the area along with his sons, created many of the local shopping centers and residential housing tracts on the south-end of Railroad Avenue.

In 1938 G.E. Seeno was elected to city council where he was responsible for negotiating contracts with public works which were instrumental in bringing affordable water rates to Pittsburg residents. He was also instrumental in securing money from federal funds that were granted during WWII for the construction of the Pittsburg Community Hospital.

Overall I believe G.E. Seeno was able to live the American dream. He came from Italy as a bright eyed kid with the belief that the things he wanted to accomplish would require hard work and perseverance. He began a legacy that has lasted through generations of Seeno family members and in his wake he left behind a number of landmarks for Pittsburg residents to enjoy. He is given construction credit for the Masonic Temple, The Buchanan Building which was one of the first major stores in Pittsburg, The Continente and Liberty Hotels, The Ford Garage Building, the Public Loan Building and the Lepori Building.

Sadly G.E. passed in 1951 leaving behind his wife and four children to mourn his death. He is buried at Oakview Memorial along with his wife Rosa Di Maggio Seeno, Daugther Alvera Seeno and her husband Morris D. Carey.

Tombstone Tuesday

(Please Click for Larger Picture)
Ok so this is a picture I took at nearby Holy Cross Cemetery in Antioch, CA. We had been receiving a fair amount of rain at the time. There was a rare break in the rain so we decided to go look at the cemetery. At first I was angry the cemetery was so muddy. I just started taking random shots of the water puddles because I liked the reflections here and there. This was the only usable pic of the reflection. It has been enhanced for color and clarity.

01 November 2009

Grave Symbolism

I am often asked about the symbols on graves and what they mean, here are some of the common ones:

Anchor. Hope or at rest, an early Christian symbol.
Angel. The agent of God often pointing heavenwards also guardian of the dead. An angel has no navel. An angel holding up two fingers donates a member of the clergy buried beneath.
Bed. A deathbed sometimes only illustrated by a pillow.
Book. Symbolises faith.
Chair. Commonly known as a vacant chair left by the deceased. Usually a young woman.
Column. A broken column signifies mortality, the support of life being broken, most commonly used for a male and the death of the head of the family.
Crown. Sovereignty of the Lord.
Dove. The Holy Spirit or peace.
Feather. Wings and the assent to heaven.
Gates. The entrance into heaven.
Hands. When clasped this is a symbol of farewell.
Heart. The symbol for deepest heartfelt emotions.
Horse. Strength, courage or the swiftness of the passage of time.
Hourglass. The traditional symbol of Father Time who also carries a scythe.
Lamb. Usually found on the grave of a child, Agnus-Dei, the lamb of God.
Lamp. Immortality, knowledge of God.
Laurel. Fame. Often of a literary or artistic figure.
Lion. Courage, strength and the resurrection.
Obelisk. Eternal life from the Egyptian sun-worshipping symbol.
Phoenix. Christ's resurrection.
Rocks. The church or Christen steadfastness.
Rose. Associated with the Virgin Mary or paradise.
Scythe. Passage of time and death.
Ship. The Christian church symbolically carrying the faithful through the world.
Skull. Mortality.
Snake. With its tail in its mouth symbolises eternity.
Star. The symbol of divine guidance.
Water. A hand pouring water from a flagon may occur on Jewish tombs of the Levites whose duty in the synagogue is to pour water upon the hands of the priests.
Torch. Immortality, upturned means a life extinguished.
Urn. Draped and empty symbolises death.
Wheat. Fruitfulness harvested.
Willow. Grief and mourning.
Yew. On account of it's dark colour and its association with churchyards.

If there are any others you wish to know the meaning of please don’t hesitate to ask. I have also written an A-Z photo guide book on the subject.


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