Choosing the Right Words for a Headstone

Choosing the Right Words for a Headstone

Choosing the right words for a Headstone is never easy as how do you sum up the life of someone in a few words. It is a good idea to wait for perhaps up to a year to discuss with family and friends what would be an appropriate epitaph for the deceased.

It is recommended that inscriptions should be simple and appropriate. A epitaph usually includes the person’s name, dates of birth and death and a meaningful quotation, poem, song or Bible verse. It should be timeless and dignified and summarise the deceased’s life in a few words. Here are some commonly used phrases:

Rest in Peace

In Loving Memory of

Forever in Our thoughts

Tresured Memories of

Cherished Memories of

Precious Memories of

With Love, We Remember

Loving Memories of

Remembered Always

In God’s Keeping

Sadly missed

Forever in Our Hearts

Always in Our Thoughts

With Love Always and Forever

Dearly Loved, Sadly missed

Till We Meet Again


There are a variety of ways to record the dates of birth and death with the age of the deceased, and here are some suggestions:

Died 14 December 2014, Aged 65 years

Passed Away 23 February 2013, Aged 66 years

Fell Asleep 19th May 2017, Aged 83

Who Passed Away 12th July, 1984, Aged 70 years

Died 13.12.2012, Aged 70

Fell Asleep 4th October 2019 in his 87th year

Born 5th February 1920, Died 15th July 1992

Called to Rest, 15th June 2016, Aged 91


When deciding about a Headstone, it is important to discuss the process with the Vicar or Minister of the Church or Cemetery as there are a range of church and cemetery rules about Headstones and wording.  In Scotland, the liar is a plot in a graveyard where members of the family can be buried, and there are a variety of regulations that need to be addressed which also include wording.

You will also need to think about the type of stone to use. Granite, Limestone and White Marble all wear well which is important especially in Scotland because of the weather.

It is also important to think about the type of font to use. The Roman font is the most popular as its clear and easy to carve. Highly stylised script is not so good as its difficult to read and does not weather well.

Many people may also decide to add a small relief to the Headstone. In Scotland, the use of the Scottish Thistle or a Celtic Cross is popular. The relief can be either made in low or high relief.Simon Burns-Cox is a professional Sculptor and Letter Carver based in Edinburgh. He makes all types of handcarved Headstones, Memorials and Gravestones in a variety of stone. If you would like to discuss your requirements, please contact Simon through his website at

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