This guide to the symbolism in West Cemetery accompanies the Visitors Guide to the headstones and graves in West Cemetery, Darlington.

If you find this guide interesting your feedback would be very useful. Equally if you have any suggestions for additional memorials to be included please send an email to history@aboutdarlington.co.uk

Cemetery Symbolism

Angel headstone in West Cemetery DarlingtonAngel

Angels found in the cemetery are a symbol of spirituality. They guard the tomb and are thought to be messengers between God and man.

Broken column memorialBroken Column
A life cut short.

Headstone crossCross
The symbol of resurrection. The Cross often stands on three blocks which represent Christianity’s three central tenets: faith, hope and charity. The Celtic cross is a variation, with the circle representing immortality. Another variation is the Cross embedded in rocks, which signifies Christian steadfastness or, in some interpretations, the strength of the Church.

Awaiting photographClasped Hands
‘We will be reunited hereafter’ for close family members, especially husband and wife.
HIS grave symbolHIS
The Holy monogram, often carved in intertwined, calligraphic style. In Greek, it represents the first three letters of the name Jesus. In Latin it represents the initials for ‘Iesu Hominum Salvator’, Jesus, Saviour of Mankind.
Awaiting photographInverted Torch
Symbolises a life extinguished.
Memorial to Septimus HirdObelisk
From Ancient Egypt, symbolising immortality. Considered pagan by Christian orthodoxy, its popularity increased considerably after 1878 when Cleopatra’s Needle was erected on the London Embankment.

Funeral urnUrn
A classical symbol of death dating from the Romans who cremated their dead and placed the ashes in such urns. The drape, which never completely covers the urn, symbolises the spirit’s escape and resurrection. Drapery over anything also indicates sorrow and mourning.
Headstone of Edward PrattWar Memorial
Erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for the armed forces personnel who died in the two World Wars and subsequently. The white headstones are identical throughout the world and make no distinction in terms of rank, thus symbolising the equality of the sacrifice.

Awaiting photographWreath
The wreath signifies immortality or victory over death. It is often shown as a laurel wreath which goes back to classical times when the victor in a battle was given such a wreath.


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