Headstones and Monumental Masonry

OK Lets start with a few regulations, just to make things more interesting.  (yawn yawn)

Churchyards in either Rochester or Canterbury Diocese will not allow black granite, or many of the other colours headstones available. I know you will be saying there is already one there, but trust me there won’t be any new ones erected!

What’s the difference with granite headstones, well a quick walk around the local churchyard or cemetery will show you the obvious difference. The Church wants the Churchyard to resemble the Church buildings in many ways, and nice clean shiny black granite headstones, just don’t fit in.

Here is a nice clean shiny headstone, that in most cases, is allowed into Churchyards in the Rochester and Canterbury Diocese

Light grey granite

This is Karin Granite. A beautiful, and indestructible, material (well unless you whack it with something very hard) that will last and last. There are lots of very nice examples around to see, and if you call me I can meet you at a Churchyard or Cemetery to show you.

Black granite all polished

This is the very popular Black Granite headstone with base. All polished and without flower container on this occasion. You will like it or hate it. This will be finished with a gold leaf inscription, and yes it is real gold leaf. I have watched them working with it and it is so delicate they don’t even breath whilst they work with it. Probably accounts for the lack of Monumental Masons these days, they have been holding their breath for too long!

You can have a flower container, or not, depending on your personal feelings. They do go “walkies” sometimes, and this can be terribly upsetting for some people.

Some people have one in the middle, but this does have the slight disadvantage that when you put flowers in it, they can obscure the inscription. Not always a problem, but worth bearing in mind. You can have the flower container to either side, or go mad and have one each side. Headstones made from granite will last and last.

Blue pearl granite

This is Blue Pearl Granite, which I have to admit is a favourite of mine. I have not been able to find a really good picture that shows the beautiful grain, so I have added the sample.

Very pretty with gold leaf lettering. And its granite, so no maintenance except a wipe down with a damp cloth.

All polished?

Here is a boring bit for you. All polished means all faces polished to a gloss finish. Only possible with granite. You can save slightly on the cost of a stone by not having the back polished.

Red Balmoral granite

This is one of the favorite materials of the Victorian Masons. Look around the old cemetery near you and you will see that it was used, when it could be afforded, on the larger memorials.

Another granite, so pretty much indestructible in normal use. And the grain is beautiful. Gold leaf of course. Currently be quarried in Finland.

This material is also very popular for use as a kitchen worktop. No problem with hot pans on this, as it will never burn or mark. Careful with your diamond rings ladies, as that diamond will scratch the surface.


This is a beautiful material for making headstones, and as you can see here, the carving too can be fabulously detailed, and even more than this example. This is therefore a softer stone. It does not weather as well as granite because it is porous and will eventually have green or black algae staining the surface. How long that will take depends on where the stone goes. Under a tree can be very bad. Its difficult for you to clean, but it can be done in the workshop and then restored to the grave afterwards. Cleaning does remove some of the detail.

A beautiful material to carve with, provided your Mason knows his stuff. The man I use has been carving and producing Monumental masonry for decades. A true craftsman, though he is very unassuming in himself.

Slate is a beautiful material

This is the same material we use for roof tiles, and is therefore considered to be pretty good at withstanding the weather. And it carves beautifully too. Just look at this one. I wish I could do one for someone who wanted something really amazing like this.

This is a long lasting material too, so don’t discount it without seeing some. Ask me where there are some and I will show you.

Look at this beautiful carving.

Its amazing isn’t it?

White Marbel

This is the staple material for many Churchyard memorials. Its a little small, and if I try to enlarge it the quality of the picture is lost. Again a softer and more porous material than granite, but beautiful to carve as you can see here.

This is a fantastic carving, by an expert carver. A fabulous memorial.

This is a stunning memorial isn’t it. Just beautiful.

For those of you who find it difficult to sleep at night, you may wish to complete your own memorial application for the Vicar. We do it for you but there is nothing stopping you doing it yourself. This is the form for the Rochester Diocese CR1 It should just download as a word document from that link. I’m still working on the Canterbury Diocese equivalent.