St James' Cemetery » Memorials » Symbols » Death

Symbols of death

Skull and crossbones: Bones are a symbol of mortality - a Memento Mori (“remember you must die”) symbol. These were particularly common in the 17th and 18th centuries. There are few at St James’ Cemetery because they were falling out of fashion by the 19th century in favour of symbols of salvation and remembrance.

Hourglass: The hourglass represents time passing, and is another symbolic reminder of impending death.

Winged head/Soul effigy: The winged head or soul effigy symbolises resurrection and the transportation of the soul to heaven.