Headstone lettering cost
The price of adding an inscription to a headstone in the UK depends on the amount of lettering. It costs around £1.95 per letter or character. Some stonemasons offer free lettering (up to 80 letters) with a headstone. Please see our guide on the regulations of adding a second name to a headstone.
Plenty of choice
You can choose the type of stone:
- Portland Stone
You can also choose the colour of the text:
- Cut & Gold Leaf
- White Painted
Great writing stands the test of time
An inscription on a headstone is designed to be read for generations to come, a lasting memorial to your loved one. The words should be a fitting tribute — carefully chosen to reflect the love felt for the departed by their family, and to mark an end to their life. With the importance of the right wording on your mind, along with the fact that you are grieving, it is no wonder that people feel overwhelmed.
We’ve put together a guide to help you to create an affordable and fitting tribute to your loved one.
Headstone inscription ideas
Sometimes the most pure and simple inscription works the best. Perhaps your loved one was a modest person or perhaps they were a traditionalist — reflecting their personality is something to consider.
Just a few words can really stand out and carry a weight of emotion. An example is simply saying their name, dates and: ‘So dearly loved’.
A few well-chosen words can also highlight something special about a person, with the focus on that one thing — whether that was that they were a wonderful parent, their passion for animals or their strong religious faith.
An epitaph is a statement inscribed onto the headstone and they usually are words about the person’s roles in life. For example:
- Beloved by family, cherished by friends.
- Here lies a beloved son, husband, father…
- Here lies a beloved daughter, wife, mother…
- Here lies a soldier who served his/her country well.
Less formal statements
Uplifting quotes that make visiting mourners smile are also comforting, such as:
- “Live to the fullest, for life is all too short.”
- “Life is not forever. Love is.”
- “If I could do it all again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
- “Died happy.”
- “I hate to leave you all behind, but we’ll meet again one day.”
- “I lived a good life. Now I’ll have a good rest.”
Religious sentiments can reflect your departed loved one’s spiritual views, which can be of great comfort to those who are mourning for them, for example:
- “God called me home.”
- “Don’t weep. I’m simply resting in God’s arms.”
- “Parted by death, we’ll be reunited in heaven.”
- “Have faith we’ll meet again.”
Engraved Bible verses
Here are some examples of comforting Bible verses:
- “Thy remembrance shall endure unto all generations.” Psalm 102:12
- “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 10:22
- “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John3:15
- “They can no longer die; for they are like the angels.” Luke 20:36
You can see some more inscription examples here.
Headstone Inscription Etiquette
If inscribing a headstone that will be placed in a churchyard, you need to check any restrictions or inscription etiquette with the church before the process is started. At Memorials of Distinction, we deal with church authorities on your behalf to save you a job at this difficult time and to make sure that the headstone and inscription you choose will be accepted.
There have been alleged instances in the media of churches refusing inscriptions, although this is rare.
There is no Catholic Church policy on what can and can’t be inscribed on headstones and the Church of England has no unified rules. However, the 42 dioceses within the Church of England have their own churchyard regulations, including rules about wording.
For example, the Diocese of Oxford allows nicknames, but only in inverted commas and states: “inscriptions must be simple, reverent and theologically acceptable; they may include appropriate quotations from the scriptures or literary sources.”
The Local Authorities’ Cemeteries Order of 1977 allows Church of England bishops the right to object to an inscription on memorials, but doesn’t provide any guidelines.
For local authority plots, the Department for Constitutional Affairs provides guidance which includes ‘informal memorialisation’ but not what can and cannot be inscribed on a headstone.
Headstone inscription examples
For some visual inspiration, take a look at some of our inscriptions and see how they fit on a variety of headstones. If you choose a smaller headstone, or one with an ornate or intricate design, the long poem you had chosen may not fit.
As you can see, inscriptions should be designed alongside the composition of the chosen headstone:
Short headstone inscription
There is less space for engraving on short headstones, but more than enough space for the perfect tribute. Short headstone inscriptions make stunning markers, perfect for the placing of ashes.
Double shared inscription
For a joint family memorial, there are a number of options, including these interlocking heart inscriptions.
For a long poem you will need the extra space, so a traditional headstone is an option.
This is an example of an informal and poignant personal message, finished with loving kisses etched into the stone.
For more inscriptions, you can download our PDF examples.