Historically memorials were made from the stone found closest to the burial ground or churchyard in which the body or ashes were to be interred.
In Kent and Sussex, where the vast majority of Burslem’s works are carried out, the early memorials were Wealden Sandstone and Kent Ragstone both of which were available widely across the region. These stones proved highly susceptible to weathering and as transport links improved the search for more durable stone was widened.
This bought the introduction of Portland and Purbeck stones from Dorset to the region as well the harder sandstones from Yorkshire, all of which are still prevalent and popular today.
From further afield came Cornish Grey Granite, Dark Grey Slate from Snowdonia, Green Slate from Cumbria and Celtic Limestone from the Irish Republic which are all very much universally in use today.
The great majority or war memorials in England, though not all, are constructed of Portland stone where the size of blocks which could be extracted and the skill base of stone carvers in Weymouth made it an ideal material and location for production of these intricate monuments. Portland stone was also the preferred choice of the Imperial War Graves Commission when commissioning the thousands of individual memorials to the fallen of two World Wars, many of which were produced by Burslem.
Today churchyards have become increasingly particular about the types of stone they will allow owing to the basic principle that the memorial stone must be in keeping with the surroundings and church architecture. As a result there has been a return to the use of more local stones and stones sourced from the wider UK, although the municipal cemeteries up and down the country do still allow a far wider variety of natural stone memorials, many of which are now sourced from India and China as the cost of transport has diminished and the cost of labour increased.
Burslem’s skilled stonemasons are able to offer a wide range of stone when producing a memorial. The choice of stone may reflect the deceased’s birthplace or love of a particular area and our in-depth knowledge of stones from Cumbria, Dorset, Wales and Yorkshire amongst others will help when creating a bespoke memorial.
If you’d like further information on creating a memorial contact our friendly team for expert advice and guidance.