Headstone inscriptions, fonts and illustrations

Once you have decided on a material, a shape and a finish for your headstone, you can move on to considering what you would like it to say. At this stage, you will choose the actual wording of the inscription, a style and colour of lettering, a font, and whether you would like any added illustration or emblem.

You will find examples of some of the options at our branches in Essex and Suffolk, but you are also welcome to request a brochure to read at home by completing the form at the foot of this page.


The inscription you choose is up to you, although there are a number of conventions that people tend to follow. Most will include a full name, date of birth, date of death and, often a form of written tribute or remembrance. This might be a verse from the bible or other religious writing, a line or two of poetry, a heartfelt sentiment, or a very brief description of the person, their work or their role in the family.

There are some limitations which might be imposed by churches and burial authorities, which might also relate to the size of the chosen memorial, which can dictate how many letters can be used. Memorials and inscriptions are very personal, but we are always pleased to offer help and advice if needed.

Additional Inscriptions

If you already have a headstone for one family member and have arranged for the burial of a second or third in the same burial plot, our stonemasons can add a further inscription, provided there is still space on the headstone.

If there is not sufficient room to add a new inscription, we can still offer a solution. We are able to reface the stone, removing the top 3mm or so, depending on the depth of the original inscription. This will remove the original inscription, which we will record carefully so that it can be recreated using slightly less surface area. Refacing provides a fresh surface on which we can then engrave both the original and additional inscriptions together, in new lettering of your choice.

It does not need to be a headstone that we installed initially. Please talk to one of our advisers about this.

The following sample inscriptions and verses are offered to help and inspire you when choosing the wording for the memorial.


There are a number of design choices related to fonts. For example, some fonts, such as Vivaldi, are quite complex. These can be more  challenging when used in memorials, but can be very effective.

Combining UPPER and lower case characters can also be helpful in creating a less formal appearance.

You might prefer the lettering of your chosen inscription to be hand carved or cut by computer. Hand carved letters are deeply cut into softer stones and, when left uncoloured, can create beautiful shadows within the letters. Letters generated by computer offer a much wider choice of font and lettering style.

Your memorial adviser will guide you through your choices to find a style of lettering which will help to create the effect that you are looking for.


Adding an illustration or a border is one way to make your chosen headstone unique and individual to the person you wish to remember.

Most images or designs can be etched onto granite or carved onto softer stone, such as white marble or nabresina. Our experienced craftsmen can produce almost any design of your choice; perhaps a design that reflects the person’s interests or hobby.

Please note: In a churchyard, you will be limited as to your choice of design. Churchyards will usually permit either a cross, a single spray of flowers or a dove. Cemeteries will often allow more choice. We will help you to choose something meaningful and suitable for your setting.

You will wish to select a design in a style and proportion that will complement your choice of stone. We will assist you with your decision, helping you to narrow down your choices to the most appropriate.


Keeping the image of the person who has gone can be very important, especially when you visit their grave or interment site to recall and feel a special connection with them. For this reason, for use in cemeteries, we now offer the inclusion of a photographic reproduction on some headstones as a design option. We can replicate your favourite photo and add it to the design of the gravestone, to serve as a visual reminder for all time.

Please note: Photographs are not permitted on headstones in churchyards, but are often allowed in cemeteries. We will be happy to advise you.

QR codes

Working in partnership with our colleagues at QR Memories, we also offer the opportunity to add a QR code, which can be scanned by visitors to a grave to link them with a commemorative website or social media page. This is opens up the possibility of linking to an online gallery of photographs, memories and reminiscences, giving you greater scope to express the values, personality and achievements of the deceased. A QR code can be cut into granite or metal and placed unobtrusively onto the memorial. Special permission must be obtained for a QR code to be added to a headstone in a churchyard. Please ask your memorial adviser about this.

A QR code can also be etched onto a crystal block as a beautiful keepsake. This can be used to remember the person who has died, even if there is no memorial to visit. As a bespoke option, the crystal blocks can hold any 3D image of your choice – from a symbol to a word, or words, of remembrance. The blocks are also available to hold a tea light.

View our brochures online here

For more information about headstone materials, finishes and shapes, please click here.

Request a brochure

If you would like a copy of our brochure, please complete the form below:

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