The History of Headstones | Lodge Bros Stonemasons
The History of Headstones

Headstones, gravestones, or tombstones are traditional markers for the living to remember their dearly departed loved ones. But where did headstones come from in the first place? Keep reading to learn more about the history of headstones with Melbourne’s best.

What Is the Meaning Behind Gravestones?

What does headstone mean? As a word, “headstone” is straightforward to understand what it means; it’s a slab that we place to mark where a deceased person’s head is when they are buried.

Gravestones can symbolise many things, depending on who it is celebrating. Family or friends who bury their loved ones decide what a headstone will feature (unless the buried person left a note specifying what they want on their headstone). Usually, they include inscriptions of the person’s name, birth date, and death date.

You can include other information on the headstone as a tribute to the deceased. Perhaps they had strong principles they lived by, which you can summarise in a sentence. Stonemasons are in charge of inscribing that information on the stone slab to be placed on a grave.

When Are Headstones Placed on Graves?

Depending on the complexity of a headstone’s design, it may take between three and four weeks until a grave can have a headstone. This process may take longer if there are issues with the cemetery approving the headstone that the deceased’s loved ones have settled on creating.

Consider getting stonemasons who can coordinate with you and the cemetery when burying your dead loved one. With experts handling the process, you can focus on grieving while resting assured that your dearly departed will have the memorial tribute they deserve. Get in contact with Lodge Bros to discuss your loved one’s headstone and burial plans.

Where Did Headstones Originate?

Where do headstones come from? Common headstones that are upright have European and American roots. Churchyards back then would have headstones to serve the same purpose as they have today, which is to mark where someone is buried.

However, these upright grave markers have only become common in churchyards and cemeteries by the mid-1600s. There have been grave markers that date as far back as the 30th century B.C.

Even Ancient Egypt celebrated the deceased by raising obelisks. Note that obelisks also served as commemorations for events and honour gods, so they were not exclusively used as tributes to individuals.

When Were Headstones First Used?

When did headstones start? Observable history suggests that people have been marking the deceased since 3,000 B.C. Roman and Celtic cultures have this practice to their credit, although there is similar evidence suggesting that humans have been creating burial places since prehistoric times.

Regardless of where they originally came from and when they truly started, headstones remain important tributes to the dead. These markers remind the living of the deceased person’s legacy. Even if they are grand statues or simple stone slabs, they carry the essence of the person it represents.

Who Owns Headstones in the Cemetery

Whoever’s name is on the Right of Burial is the legal owner of the headstone. This person also has the right to place other accessories on the memorial plot.

Which Direction Do Headstones Face?

Have you wondered which way gravestones face? You might have noticed that they face one direction, leaving you asking: why do all headstones face the same way? Well, there could be religious connotations regarding the direction that a headstone faces, but, historically, it mostly involves a buried husband’s position.

Which Way Do Headstones Face?

Do all headstones face east, west, north, or south? It all depends on the cemetery. Cemeteries have different rules when it comes to burying the dead. Some will bury wives on the plot’s north side and have their husbands on the south side. 

In short, there is no single answer to this. It just depends on the design of the cemetery and the specific wishes of loved ones. 

Are Headstones Religious?

Headstones can have religious associations, although they do not need to. The religious component of it mainly lies in the symbolic significance of what direction they’re facing. 

Likewise, the buried couple’s feet will face east, which many Christians associate with the second coming of Christ. Scripture teaches that Jesus will come from the east. As such, the dead buried with their feet eastward will greet Him properly as they, too, will rise from the dead.

Similarly, Muslims bury their dead facing northeast. They believe that this design allows their dead to face Mecca when they look over their right shoulder. Mecca is the holiest city in Islam located in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, graves with headstones facing west, the buried husband will be on the buried wife’s left side. This design has religious significance for Jewish people. By having their dead face the west, they will be ready to head toward Israel.

What Does the Headstone Mean?

Regardless of their religious differences, the common factor between graves facing a certain direction is the undying faith a person has despite passing away. As such, you might want to honour your departed loved one with a meaningful grave marker highlighting their religious convictions in their life.

More generally, though, headstones are used as a permanent fixture to honor the memory of the deceased person. It is as though to say, “Though they have passed, their memory will live on.” 

Lodge Bros are the stonemasons you need to fulfill that desire for the best memorial headstones and plaques. Our wide range of designs and finishes ensure that you give your loved ones an ideal tribute that represents the life they lived. Discuss your plan with us today.

Lodge Bros

Lodge Bros is among the leading stonemasons in Melbourne, Australia. We have been operating since the 1920s, with the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne being one of our completed projects. We have since moved to Thornbury, but remain steadfast in our endeavors to produce high-quality headstones and plaques for everyone in the country.

Memorial Headstones and Plaques

Lodge Bros offers a wide range of headstones and memorials for citizens across the country. We hold ourselves to the highest-quality standards to ensure you have the best tribute to offer your dearly departed loved ones. Whether you need a grand tribute or a simple headstone for your loved one’s grave, we can customise a marker that celebrates the life they lived.

Our stonemasons are ready to craft monuments and structures that meet your eye for design while complying with Australian standards. We can include accessories, such as:

  • Granite Vases: Add an elegant finish to your loved one’s memorial in your cemetery of choice with our custom granite vases. These are fine additions to secure the flowers you bring them when you visit to stay in place.
  • Lamp Houses: Illuminate your departed loved one’s memorial site with a stylish lamp house. We can customise your lamp house to match the gravestone design to ensure it remains as stylish as it is functional.
  • Candle Boxes: Keep traditions alive with a customised candle box for your loved one’s space in the cemetery. Many people keep these boxes alight to guide their loved one’s souls safely back home.
  • Crypt Shutters: Shelter your departed loved one’s body from the elements with our custom crypt shutters. Be sure to coordinate with the cemetery if they have space for crypts.
  • Inscriptions: Summarize the glorious life your loved one lived with our expert epitaph makers. We have the right tools to inscribe your loved one’s gravestone with significant information and words of wisdom relevant to your deceased loved one.
  • Statues and Monuments: Celebrate your departed loved one’s life with a grand tribute in the form of a stone-carved statue or monument. We can also create a coloured or monochromatic ceramic photo to accompany this tribute.

Lodge Bro Services

Over the years of superior stonemasonry across Australia, we have developed our services to include:

  • Memorial Creation: Honour your loved ones with a customised headstone or plaque.
  • Grave Restoration: Clean up your loved one’s grave the right way with professional stonemasons to return headstones or monuments to their original state.
  • Monument Renovation: Allow our experts to improve your departed loved one’s existing gravesite with our custom memorial accessories.

Even with our many services, our goal remains the same: to give your deceased friends and family the tribute they deserve. Get in touch with us to discuss your goals. We understand how overseeing a memorial for your loved one is difficult. Rest assured that our experts are empathetic and ready to guide you through the process.

How to Find a Headstone Mason

Finding a headstone mason in Australia is simple with Lodge Bros being among the country’s premier stonemasons, extending our services beyond headstones to creating statues and monuments to celebrate a family’s deceased loved one.

Fill out our enquiry form to connect with our professional headstone masons online. Operators are also standing by once you call our Melbourne stonemasons at (03) 9497 2400.

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