Headstone materials, finishes and shapes

We provide a wide selection of materials, shapes and finishes to allow you to create a truly individual lasting tribute.

Headstone materials

There are many different materials available for headstones. These include granite, limestone and marble. How these appear as a headstone will also depend on the treatment of the stone, which can produce a glossy or matte appearance. Some of these are suitable for use in churchyards, and there is an even wider selection for creating memorials for cemeteries.

You can see examples of some of these in our branches in Essex and Suffolk. We are also happy to send you a brochure, which you can request by filling in the form at the bottom of this page.

Our memorial advisers are happy to advise you on the regulations that apply in each case, carefully explaining your options for each setting.

Headstone finishes

Once you have chosen your material, there are a number of possible finishes which will affect the
overall look.


Polishing stone produces a highly polished, glossy surface, which is highly reflective. In a polished finish, all the areas and surfaces of the
memorial will be highly polished. This finish is suitable for cemeteries only and is not accepted in most churchyards.

Part Polished:

The polishing process here is exactly the same as in a polished headstone, but the polished or honed area of the memorial is restricted to the face of the memorial and the top section of the base. All other surfaces may be pitched, sawn, sanded, blasted or rubbed as appropriate to the individual memorial. A part polished approach is only suitable for cemeteries as churchyards do not permit any part of the headstone to be polished. Churchyards will permit a headstone to be part honed.


This finish is often described as ‘eggshell’ as it has more of a satin finish. It is extremely smooth to the touch and extremely stylish. It has a non-reflective surface, which makes it suitable for use in both churchyards and cemeteries.


A pitched finish provides a surface which looks and feels rougher and more textured. Achieved using a bolster and hammer, this finish is acceptable in churchyards and cemeteries alike as it is essentially a matte finish, with no shine or reflection. However, pitched surfaces are too rough to engrave with lettering, so they are usually reserved for edges. You will therefore need to choose a smooth surface for the area which will display any inscription or emblem.

Other effects:

Polishing, honing and pitching are the more common choices of finish, although it is possible to achieve further effects by sawing, sandblasting or rubbing. If you have something a little different in mind, please talk this through with your adviser, who will be happy to consult our stonemasons about the most effective way to realise your vision.

Headstone shapes

Our most popular headstone shapes are show below, but many other variations are available. If you
have something specific in mind, or wish to create something more unusual and individual, please
ask your adviser, who will be pleased to discuss what might or might not possible. We will always do
everything we can to make your concept a reality.



Barrel sided



You will also wish to consider the inscription, illustration and font for your ideal headstone. Please click here for further information.

View our brochures online here

Request a brochure

If you would like to read about the different options and choices for memorials, we can send you a brochure to study at your leisure. Please complete the form below with your details and the type of memorial that you are interested in.

Type of memorial required (tick all that apply):(Required)