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Beautiful Words to Put on a Headstone

Posted 17/10/19

Beautiful headstone words

We all want to choose the most beautiful words to put on a headstone. However, when choosing an epitaph for a churchyard memorial, we need to make sure that it will be approved by the vicar. There are quite strict rules and regulations set out by each individual Diocese, and in this blog post, I go into detail about these rules.

We recently had a client who was not allowed to include a poem on the back of a headstone because it was “not in keeping with Christian views of the afterlife”. The poem was not in any way against Christian views and our client was understandably upset. This is an exception rather than the rule, but it shows how subjective the interpretation of the regulations can be.

Unfortunately, if a vicar does not support the application, there is little chance of getting the inscription approved.

As a result of our recent communication with the relevant Diocese on the rejected poem, we were sent a list of suggested epitaphs, compiled by the Diocese itself. I include the list below, for those of you who would like to feel confident that their chosen epitaph will be approved by their vicar. Even for this list though there is no guarantee, as every vicar can use their own discretion, and again, every Diocese has its own regulations!

Boat symbol on headstnoe


The simple and well known:

In loving memory

Reunited

Rest in peace

Peace, perfect peace

I know that my Redeemer lives

Forever with the Lord

The best is yet to be Robert Browning

All shall be well (and all manner of things shall be well)

Julian of Norwich

Our loss, God’s gain

Of your charity, pray for the soul of....

shell symbol carved on headstone


From Scripture and Hymns:

Abide with me

By His grace we are healed

We feebly struggle, they in Glory shine

Till in Heaven we take our place

In God’s house for evermore

Through Grace we are saved

Underneath are His everlasting arms

Though we die, yet shall we live

The Lord is my Shepherd

Be still and know that I am God

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Forgive our foolish ways

Lost in wonder, love and praise

And in dying we are born to eternal life

And in God’s house for evermore

My dwelling place shall be

Make them to be numbered with thy saints

bespoke headstone in slate


For a baby’s death:

Run with the wind and play with the stars, Little One

This little babe was lent not given,

To bud on earth and bloom in Heaven

Our child, our love

Jesus called a little child [unto Him]

epitaph on back of headstone


Making it personal:

A gentle man; he lived at…..

She served God right merrily

Her end was peace

Transplanted to God’s garden

She combined beauty with tenderness and wit

She lived her life with joy

He ended well

Wife and lover, friend and mother

dove symbol on gravestone


The link between the deceased and the community:

Man of integrity

He worked all his life at Merrow Farm, next to this church

Mayor of Tangmere, the 4th generation to be buried in this parish

For upwards of 30 years a most respectable butcher in Springfield

More adventurous: from the poets:

In my end is my beginning T.S. Eliot

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me Scott Holland

I am but waiting for you Scott Holland

And soonest our best men with thee do go John Donne

So the darkness shall be the light,

And the stillness the dancing T.S. Eliot

Pray for me, as I will for thee,

That we may merrily meet in Heaven Thomas Moore

That best portion of a good man’s life,

His little, nameless unremembered acts

of kindness and of love William Wordsworth

Of your charity, pray for the soul(s) of….

Our loss, Gods gain

We cannot, Lord, thy purpose see

As all is well that’s done by Thee

God takes our loved ones from our homes

but never from our hearts

Our child

Our Love Stevie Smith

In a dark time, the eye begins to see Theodore Roethke

Trust show the way Hildegarde of Bingen

Remember N, on pilgrimage


The following are suggestions for working on central memorials in Cremated Remains Areas. Some may be suitable for individual headstones:

The souls of the righteous are in God’s hand

They are at peace. Wisdom 3

The eternal God is our refuge

And underneath are His everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33

I will see you again

And you will be joyful. John 16

My peace I leave with you. John 14

Their bodies are at peace

And their names live forever. Ecclesiasticus 44

Nothing can separate us from the love of

God in Christ. Romans 8

We will be with the Lord forever. I Thessalonians 4

We will see God as He is. I John 3

Into your hands I commend my spirit

For you have redeemed me, O God of truth. Psalm 31

Today you will be with me in Paradise. Luke 23

I am the resurrection and the life. John 11

The Lord is my shepherd

Therefore can I lack nothing. Psalm 23

God will show us the path of life

In His presence is the fullness of joy. Psalm 16

To live in the heart of God

Is not to die.

At peace with Jesus.

In the name of Jesus

Befriended by his saints

Aided by his angels

May you rest this day.

May heaven open wide before you

To see Christ and his sunlit company.

May you rest in peace and in fulfillment

May you rest in the love of God.

May you run straight home into God’s embrace

Go safely, go dancing, go running home.

Go on your way dear soul,

To love, to light, to life eternal.

Held in the hollow of God’s hands.

Reference: Diocese of Chelmsford “Monuments and Headstones in Churchyards” revised 2017. Appendix 1.

wording epitaphs regulations