Church Monuments Society

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Death in the Churchyard: Skeletons, skulls and bones on slate tombstones



Online event

Death in the Churchyard explores the ways in which the makers of tombstones, from the late 17th century to the early 19th century, depicted the many faces of Death, particularly using what is commonly known as Swithland slate, in the Midlands, UK. This includes literal depictions such as carvings showing the dying and the dead, as well as metaphorical representations including common mortality symbols, skulls and bones and animated skeletons. Covering aspects of churchyard history and tombstone carving, it discusses makers’ sources and motivations. Join us for an in-depth look at this imagery and how it has been inventively, artistically and skillfully depicted in slate…to dramatically macabre effect.

Elizabeth Blood is a historian of monuments and commemoration. An enthusiast for Swithland slate and for the study of church and chapelyard monuments, she is currently conducting research focused on the Midlands. Her doctoral research pertains to local war memorials and their preservation, and she is currently a Research Associate at the University of Leicester, working on its institutional history and heritage.

Event Information

This online talk is FREE to all and will take place on Zoom. Places must be booked via Eventbrite – go to to book. This is one of a series of online talks delivered by the Church Monuments Society for the season of All Hallows, 2021.

Guidelines and handy Zoom hints

Before the event:

• Please ensure you have already downloaded and installed Zoom to the device you wish to use. Read their guide if you are unsure about how to do this ( )

• Make sure you have registered via Eventbrite using your correct email address (or you will not receive the joining instructions).

• We will email the access link to you via Eventbrite shortly before the event begins.

• Please ensure that Eventbrite is on your safe-senders list and check your Spam/Junk inbox for our communications if you cannot see them.

During the webinar:

• Please remain muted throughout.

• The talk will last approximately 45 minutes and will be followed by questions.

• You are welcome to use the Chat box to contact panellists.

• Send formal questions for the speaker using the Q&A function so that they are easily identifiable. These can then be put to the speaker by one of our event coordinators.

• The session may be recorded by the Church Monuments Society. Screenshots and/or recording by participants is not permitted for copyright reasons.

• The host can remove attendees from the webinar.

• If you experience technical difficulties, contact panellists using the chat function. We will do our best to help.

• Enjoy the talk!

Image Credits: Elizabeth Blood