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Gleanings in Graveyards a collection of Curious Epitaphs   By:

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This ebook was transcribed by Les Bowler.

GLEANINGS IN GRAVEYARDS:

A COLLECTION OF

CURIOUS EPITAPHS.

COLLATED, COMPILED, AND EDITED BY HORATIO EDWARD NORFOLK,

HONORARY SECRETARY TO THE CHELSEA ATHENÆUM.

SECOND EDITION .

London: JOHN RUSSELL SMITH, 36, SOHO SQUARE. 1861.

LONDON PRINTED BY P. PICKTON, PERRY’S PLACE, 29, OXFORD STREET.

TO ROBERT HUNT, ESQ., F.R.S., F.S.S. H.M. KEEPER OF MINING RECORDS, ETC. ETC.

THIS LITTLE VOLUME

IS INSCRIBED

WITH EVERY FEELING OF RESPECT

AS A SMALL TRIBUTE OF GRATITUDE

FOR MANY ACTS OF KINDNESS

AT HIS HANDS,

BY

THE EDITOR.

CONTENTS.

PAGE EPITAPHS IN ENGLAND 1 WALES 107 SCOTLAND 111 MISCELLANEOUS 123

PREFACE.

(TO THE FIRST EDITION.)

Although this country may be behind many others in the poetic or classic character of its monumental inscriptions, it is certainly not so in the production of Epitaphs of a curious and absurd character. Whether it is that the British are, as a nation, witty and humorous, and that they are desirous that their peculiarities should be recorded even in the sanctuaries of their dead, or that they consider true records of the departed to be of little or no value, has yet to be shown. It is, however, remarkable that if we refer to the epitaphial records of other nations, we find that they are, as a rule, noted for their beauty, elegance, or truth, whereas of the many graveyards in Great Britain there is scarcely one that does not afford examples of humourous effusions.

The Egyptians, although they do not furnish us with many epitaphs worthy of note, do not seem to have devoted themselves to the production of frivolous inscriptions, but contented themselves with inscribing on their sarcophagi and coffins, the name, descent, and functions of the departed.

The Greeks (as Mr. Pettigrew remarks in his Chronicles of the Tombs ), “wrote their epitaphs in elegiac verse, and afterwards in prose, and the collections published by various hands are well known to, and duly appreciated by, scholars.”

The Roman tombs also afford us an example worthy of imitation, in the purity and simplicity of their inscriptions. They usually began with D. M. (Diis Manibus), followed by the name, office, and age of the deceased, and a conclusion, which informed the reader by whom or through what means the inscription was erected.

Whether the Saxons or the Danes used monumental inscriptions, either in their own or in the Latin tongue, has been doubted. The few which we have for people of the Saxon times, are probably the compositions of a later date. Three or four small slabs, however, bearing crosses and some early British female names, supposed to be those of nuns, were dug up some years ago at Hartlepool.

We are informed also, by the above quoted author, that “in this country, in early times, were inscriptions prohibited to be engraven on any tombs but those belonging to persons distinguished either by their high position, as governors of the kingdom or as military commanders, or remarkable for their wisdom and virtues... Continue reading book >>




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