Bromsgrove residents await restoration of famous gravestones

Work has begun on the restoration of two famous and historic gravestones in the Worcestershire town of Bromsgrove, after a campaign by local residents resulted in a commitment to get the iconic stones back to their former impressive appearance.

The tributes belong to two local men who died in a tragic accident at Bromsgrove Railway Station in 1842, Thomas Scaife and Joseph Rutherford. Unfortunately, memorial care was not given as much attention then as it is in the present day, and the quality of materials used was often of a much poorer quality; it is for these reasons that, 170 years after their deaths, the gravestones of the two railwaymen have long since fallen into disrepair in situ at the graveyard of the nearby St John’s Church. Continue reading

Gravestone rubbing emerging as a hobby

As Halloween approaches, a lesser-known hobby is coming into the spotlight: collecting rubbings from marble headstones.

The hobby is much like the brass rubbings done in school, where you take a piece of paper and gently rub a crayon over it to show more clearly what picture or message the brass shows. The difference here is that the subject matter in question is the gravestone that marks the resting place of a loved one.

In terms of the practicalities of gravestone rubbing, the paper needs to be large enough for the detail on the entire stone to show up on the rubbing. A trick of the trade is to use masking tape to attach the paper so that no sticky residue is left on the memorial.

The rubbings can be used to permanently record the wording of the headstone, meaning that engraved wording can easily be restored when it comes to memorial care. Another good use is to trace members of a family tree or add more information to a basic one. The key thing to remember is that those who partake in this hobby always do so with the utmost respect.

Before searching through random UK gravestones for interesting headstones, it is very important to make sure that you have permission to do so; ask the vicar of the graveyard in question if you are concerned. More information on gravestone rubbing can be found on the website for official organisation The Association for Gravestone Studies.

Image Credit: Dawn Endico (flickr.com)

Mysterious gravestone re-appears in Maryland, USA

In Montgomery County in the state of Maryland, USA, marble headstones are meant to mark the resting place of loved ones in graveyards. However, there is one gravestone that seems to have a life of its own and is being found in mysterious locations across the county.

This summer, Jim May, a workman for the local sewer department, was walking in a ditch in Hillsboro and was surprised to find a grave marker. Oddly enough, the very same grave marker was found out of place 99 years ago, when they came across the headstone near St Agnes Catholic Church in Hilsboro in 1913.

The gravestone would have marked the resting place of John T. Misenheimer, who died on 24th July 1858 and was only 9 years old at the time.

It is unlikely to be the work of anything supernatural however; both the ditch and 1913 discovery were found quite close to the Lutheran cemetery which was the original home of the grave. The cemetery was being turned into an area for residential use around 1913, and all bodies were due to be moved with their accompanying gravestones. It seems that little Misenheimer’s gravestone was unfortunate enough to be separated from its accompanying body.

The local genealogical society is hoping to pair up the mysterious headstone with the graves of whoever his parents were but, due to the lack of memorial care that the gravestone has received, some of it has proved difficult to read and no conclusive parents have been found yet. Hopefully the gravestone will find a better home, or perhaps in the next 100 years it may mysteriously appear in yet another place!

Image Credit: Phelyan Sanjoin (flickr.com)

How best to photograph a gravestone

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking care of any family gravestones which have been left in your care is clearly an extremely important duty. We at AK Lander know that your relationship with the deceased does not end once a burial has taken place, and many people like to take fitting photographs of their loved ones’ memorials, in order to make sure they have another form of lasting tribute at hand. This is especially true if those in question live far away and are not able visit the graves they are responsible for looking after as often as they would like.

Perhaps the most vital thing you can remember when planning how best to capture a record of a gravestone through photographs is to demonstrate patience. Weather must be fine and light conditions appropriate in order for the perfect shot to be taken. If you do not wait for an opportune moment and instead compromise when it comes to either of these factors, your pictures will suffer accordingly. One of the most effective ways of improving the light in any memorial photo, incidentally, is to place a mirror – ideally a full-length, plastic one that is longer than the grave – close to the headstone in a way that reflects sun onto the carving.

It is also a good idea to take a number of pictures highlighting the grave from different aspects and angles. An image taking in the entire cemetery, for example, as well as ones which focus solely on your loved ones’ memorial, with another showing it centred around two or three others in the immediate vicinity, will add an important sense of context.

For more tips on memorial care and to purchase a high quality gravestone, pay a visit to AK Lander’s website or give us a call today. The priority for our experienced, expert team of professionals is to provide advice, assistance and support to our clients; going through us will guarantee that your headstone is durable, and that the service you receive is unparalleled in terms of dedication and sensitivity.

Image credit: Christopher Goodband (flickr.com)