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What is the Meaning of This?

Angel statues  Buckingham cemeteryThis group of angels are all on graves belonging to the same family. Angels represent the guardianship of the soul and protection on their journey to Heaven. Weeping angels (not seen here) convey the sorrow of an untimely death.

We are back at Buckingham’s Victorian cemetery, to take a closer look at some of the memorials and what the carvings on them mean, as the Victorians often had symbolic designs on grave memorials. We first looked at this cemetery last week; see the link above.

One of them, in memory of two women that seems to be distant relatives of mine has so much symbolism on it I can’t fathom out what it all means. But perhaps you can.

I arrived at the cemetery in Brackley Road to find council workmen inspecting gravestones and memorials; many of them have become unstable. I talked to one of them.

Unstable memorial signAn unstable memorial, temporarily staked.

Many of the Victorian examples are leaning right over, he told me, but they are not the ones the council are most worried about; it’s often the 1970s and 80s stones that are a problem, as they are not set far into the ground. But the Victorian stones are deeply set and many now sitting at quite an angle are still stable.

Memorial crosses on stepped bases are often vulnerable, as the join between the steps is very shallow, relying on the weight of the stone to keep everything together. Stones at risk are given signs and supporting stakes are driven in as a temporary measure.

Broken column cemetery memorialThis monument is not damaged; it was erected like this. A broken column symbolises a life cut short, or the loss of the head of the family. This memorial is for John Norris, who died in 1865 aged 57. It was erected by his widow.

This same man from the council (whose name I didn’t get) pointed me to some interesting memorials.

I showed you one of them last week, on the grave of the advance agent for a touring menagerie, who died of TB when he reached Buckingham.

Somewhere at the cemetery is the grave of a local councillor who passed away in the middle of a council meeting. I couldn’t find it this time, but I did find a few interesting graves to show you.

If you want to look at this Victorian cemetery for yourself it’s on Brackley Road on the way out of town, on your right just past the turning on to Stowe Avenue. It is open from dawn to dusk.

Dove on memorial crossDoves are for love, peace, and freedom of spirit; they are a symbol of the Holy Spirit.The ivy represents evergreen memories, friendship and faithfullness.


Bradbury memorial  Buckingham cemeteryThere’s a lot to look at, here. The obelisk is the symbol of the Egyptian god Ra, the sun god; it is a symbol of eternal life. The wreath symbolises victory over death, because the deceased have entered Heaven. I do not know what the leaves at the top of the obelisk are, or what they represent. See the next photo for a closer shot.


Victorian winged hourglassThe hourglass and wings represents the fleetingness of life; a rather obvious one. The corners of the obelisk are each supported on a pair of close-set paws. The only only animal I can think of that puts their paws together like this is a sitting cat, but I have no idea what this means.
You can't see it here, but the deceased have the surname Bradbury, so they are distant relatives of mine.


Broken memorial cross  BuckinghamThis memorial cross has broken at the shallow join between the base and the cross. There’s another broken example behind it, and some of the other memorials here are not too straight.

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