Types of Stone for Memorials & Headstones

Types of Stone for Memorials & Headstones

There are a few things that you should think about before choosing the type of stone that you would like for memorial or headstone.


First of all, it all depends on your taste. You maybe drawn to colour or texture or want to have the same sort of stone used in the local cemetery. Location is important and many people use the local stone so it will blend in with the other headstones.


There is also the consideration of cost. Some specialist stones are very expensive and there is a long lead time for delivery which can be up to six months so using a local supplier is both cheaper and quicker.


You also need to think about the inscription length and whether you will have relief carvings. If you do require this, the stone needs to be hard and suitable for hand carving.


The stone also needs to be long lasting and suitable for all weather conditions. Here in Scotland, this is one of the most important considerations because of the harsh climate which will weather the stone. There are certain stones that I like to use as I know that they are hard wearing and easier to hand carve such as Purbeck Limestone, Portland Limestone or Forest Pennant Sandstone.


York Sandstone (grey/brown)

Scottish Sandstone (Locharbriggs) or St. Bees (Pink)

Clashach Sandstone from Elgin which is golden/brown

Caithness Sandstone from Wick which has a dark appearance rather like slate

Forest Pennant Sandstone (blue/grey)


From Cumbria or Wales and black/grey in appearance


Portland Limestone (pale oatmeal) which is used for war graves

Kilkenny from Ireland which is black but fades to grey with fossils

Horton Stone which is green/blue

Purbeck Limestone comes in various colours and the best one to use is Pond Free Stone

Hopton Wood which is difficult to source

Lincolnshire, Cotswold and Bath Stone are also limestones but soft to carve

Today, many people like slate and is good for memorial plaques. There is dark grey or green slate from Cumbria which is very attractive.

Green Slate Memorial

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