Dom Maguire (Funeral Director) gives expert video advice on: Who makes the headstone?; What should I write on the headstone? and more...
What is a memorial service?
A memorial service is something which is peticular to the south of England. Generally speaking the funeral in the south of England is only attended by immediate family or close invited friends. Sometime after the funeral if the person is particularly well known or has a high public profile, a memorial service will be arranged at which all and sundry can come along to pay their last respects. Whereas, north of Watford Gap the tendency would be that friends and family will all gather at the time of the funeral and have just the one ceremony. The leave-taking on the day of the funeral is sufficient rather than a memorial service.
Should I make a memorial donation?
Generally the family will indicate, either by word or mouth or perhaps as the result of an indication in a newspaper announcement, that rather than flowers, they would request that a memorial donation be sent through a particular charity or perhaps some form of medical research. In which case, they will indicate the name of that fund and the address. Normally speaking, you would issue a memorial donation cheque to those charities or that form of research, with a small note saying you are the sender and generally speaking, that will be acknowledged to you and in turn, the family will be notified with a list of all those who have donated via a memorial donation to the memory of the person who has died.
What types of memorials are used?
The type of memorial used is normally dictated by the way in which the deceased person has been laid to rest. If they have been cremated, there is the option at the crematory to have the deceased name entered in the memorial book in the hall of rememberance on the day on which they died, so that each year, the page is turned and on the anniversary of the death, the name of that person is inscribed in that book. You can, if you so wish, perhaps purchase a rose with a plaque indicating the name of the deceased and the date of their death. If the person has been interred in a cemetery, then the normal custom would be to purchase and have erected at the grave a headstone, which will normally indicate the name of the deceased, their age, and the date on which they died.
What is a headstone?
A headstone is a form of permanent memorial or marker of a grave in a cemetary, which indicates the name of the person or persons buried in that grave, also the dates of their deaths and, perhaps, their ages.
Who makes the headstone?
Headstones are made by monumental masons. They will have the rough stone and they will use machinery and saws and polishers to trace out and to manufacture, usually to the family's specifications, the type and style of headstone that's required.
What is a headstone made of?
A headstone is usually made from stone, various types of stone. Granite, marble being the two main types. Sometimes people may have just a simple wooden plaque or a wooden cross, but generally made from stone.
How much does a headstone cost?
There are a large variation in the types and styles of headstones. You could purchase a headstone for as little as 15 pounds: just a small, simple plaque with the minimum amount of inscription. Or you can have something really elaborate, costing tens of thousands.
What should I write on the headstone?
Normally, if the person who has been buried in the grave is the first person in the grave, the headstone will usually start with some form of affectionate inscription--"in loving memory of" or "affectionate remembrance of"--and then the name of the deceased along with the date of their death and perhaps their age. Very often it is the custom to also indicate that that person has left behind perhaps a partner, children who mourned the passing of that person very deeply. We have certainly noticed an increase in recent years of the number of photographs now being attached to the headstone. Sometimes a family may also wish to indicate that the person perhaps served in the armed services. The crest of a particular regiment or perhaps the Navy or the R.A.F may also be inscribed on the headstone. It's not unusal to have something that reflects a hobby or an interest of the deceased on the headstone. These types of actions are becoming increasingly common on headstones.
Are there restrictions on memorial plaques?
There are restrictions on memorial plaques and headstones. The churches, who own a number of cemeteries throughout the country, have fairly strict rules and regulations as to the type and style of stone that can be erected in their cemetery. They also go as far as, sometimes, dictating the wording - not so much as to what will be allowed on the stone, but what will not be allowed.Other cemeteries which are owned by municipal authorities also have fairly stringent guidelines, in relation to the size and type of stone that can be erected. This is for a number of reasons. Perhaps health and safety, because what's now happening is that many large stones, which were erected many years ago, are now the cause of some concern, and possibly a danger to the well-being and security of people who are visiting in cemeteries. There are cemeteries which are classed as lawn cemeteries and no form of memorial above ground level is allowed. A simple flat tablet, lying level with the lawn, is the only thing that the authority will permit.