Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Bristol Tombstones, Graveyards and Monumental Inscriptions

Gravestones, grave markers tombstones, headstones, memorial tablets and plaques – they all come under the heading of monumental inscriptions. All are tangible evidence of our ancestors. Some bear no more than a name and the date of death. Others have more to offer.

Death is King

Date of birth is frequent as is relationship to another person, such as wife of, relict or widow of, or son/daughter of. Often, as several people are buried in the same grave, there will be a whole string of connected people listed, some with different surnames, so you can work out quite a good family tree from the information. The actual house or farm where they lived may be inscribed or the military rank they held or their occupation. All extra pieces to fill in the often blank picture of our ancestors.

Westbury on trym

People of importance and wealth are often commemorated inside the church and in fact many were actually buried inside the church in tombs or vaults and in the crypt (known as the crowde). Stones set in the floor have been worn by centuries of feet passing over them and may therefore be much less legible than those on the walls. The inscriptions on old tombs in the graveyard have suffered far worse in many cases. The weather has affected even Victorian gravestones, especially those made of the local stone where the entire front may have crumbled and sheared away, leaving no trace of what was carved there. So much depends on the prevailing wind or how sheltered they are.

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