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 when added to a new memorial. 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.
You can choose the material of the headstone:
You can also choose the colour of the text:
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.
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:
Uplifting quotes that make visiting mourners smile are also comforting, such as:
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:
Here are some examples of comforting Bible verses:
You can see some more inscription examples here.
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.
To add a name to an existing headstone, you can either contact the company that you bought the headstone from or find a new provider. A headstone engraver will usually carry out the work on-site by engraving or etching the new name.
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:
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.
I can’t thank Memorials of Distinction enough for producing such a beautiful headstone. It was everything and more, that I had asked for. Everyone in the family was very happy and impressed. So thank you again for that miracle.
Lesley, you personally were so kind and understanding throughout the whole process, I’m convinced you may have wings.
Helen D. Sent by email: 11/06/2019
I would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone, especially to the stonemason! We are absolutely delighted with our sons headstone. We’ve waited such a long time to purchase it, but we are thrilled with it! The detail that’s gone into it is just incredible.
Thank you to everyone that I spoke to along the way, everyone was always so helpful and the communication was brilliant. I will not hesitate to recommend you to anyone!
Natalie L. Sent by email: 02/02/2018
My memorial was delivered and fixed into place last week and having witnessed it in person it is amazing, everything myself and the family wished for and more. Even during a global pandemic it was delivered promptly without any unnecessary delays. Would highly recommend.
Josh R. Google Review: 09/02/2021
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