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Notes and queries

Have you found something important or puzzling in a graveyard? Why not contact and post your discovery on the noticeboard? An archive contains information about notes and queries previously mentioned on this page (get download)

Dr George Thomson of the Research in Inscriptional Palaeography (RIP) project would like your help to identify examples of two special types of gravestones within Scottish graveyards.

Be bold - tell us about any brass plates on gravemarkers that you know of

Small inscribed exterior 'brass' plates attached to graveslabs or headstones are found throughout England and Wales. Although they are called brasses, they are usually made form bronze. They are especially common in the Cotswolds area (Gloucestershire and west Oxfordshire) and Cumbria. Elsewhere they occur in ones and twos. They were first used in the early part of the seventeenth-century when, it is said, they were a more permanent alternative to cutting the lettering in the soft, fragile, local stone. Plaques made from brass and other metals, attached to memorials, including wooden crosses, have been used from Victorian times up to the present. I am unaware of any of these plates dated before 1850 in Scotland - perhaps you know better!

Please slip us any information you have on discoid gravemarkers

Discoid gravemarkers (download picture) usually headstones ('lollipops'), go back to ancient times in the Middle East. Many can be seen in the Languedoc in France and the Basque country in Spain, most of which are Medieval. Many eighteenth-century discoids can be seen in Fermanagh and Monaghan in Ireland. A few are in other parts of Europe, including a dozen or two in England. Two can be seen in the churchyard of St Kentigern's in Lanark. An oval stone used to lie in Closeburn Kirkyard, Dumfriesshire but it has disappeared in the last two or three years. Another similar stone is in Daldarnock Kirkyard, near Thornhill, also in Dumfriesshire. I know of no others in Scotland. Has anyone found discoid gravemarkers in Scotland, other than the above?

Both the above queries relate to the Research in Inscriptional Palaeography (RIP) project. If you can help with finding examples of these unusual gravemarkers please contact the project care of

Page last updated August 2006