Looking at gravestones in the Borders, you may have noticed that many bear an hourglass and a skull and crossbones on them.
You may see others carved with the skull, crossbones, hourglass, candle, scythe, coffin (sometimes containing a corpse), bell, skeleton and Father Time. They were all symbols of death and mortality, and were usually carved at the foot of the tombstone.
Memento mori (remember that you must die) was frequently carved on the gravestone with some, or all, of these symbols.
A dove for the Holy Spirit, a heart for divine love and the crown of righteousness were emblems of immortality, as was the winged soul — a head with bird-like wings — usually carved at the top of the stone.
A third group of carvings represents the trade of the deceased. For example: a boat, anchor or rope for a seaman; a shuttle, reed or loom for a weaver; loaves or rolling pin for a baker, and so on.
Also, notice how a woman kept her original surname after she had married.
BORDER LIFE INDEX