Church Monuments Society


Where? When? Why? Making sense of how and why English churchyard monuments varied in design from region to region in the 17th and 18th century



The Gallery, Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6BP and online

The final lecture in our Spring series is a joint event with the Mausolea and Monuments Trust. It will be a hybrid event – in person at the Gallery, Cowcross Street, and online. The lecture is free: book via the MMT web site at .

At first sight, and leaving out chest tombs, headstones in English churchyards might all seem much the same: upright, with lettering in the middle and perhaps some carving at the top. With more detailed examination, it becomes clear that within a basic grammar, there is substantial variation from one locality to another, of material, shape, iconography and more – a cornucopia of cherubs, skulls and classical ornament. Some are like country cousins of monuments inside churches, others are very different. This lecture is based on the speaker’s doctoral and more recent research, in turn founded on the most extensive fieldwork undertaken to date in English churchyards. With the aid of extensive illustrations, it will give an introduction to regional styles, exploring how and why they differ.

Dr Jonathan Kewley is an architectural historian working for Historic England. He read history at Oxford and received a PhD from Durham for his thesis on British and North American gravemarkers in the 17th and 18th centuries, a subject on which he is now writing a book. He is a board member of the international Association for Gravestone Studies, and the author of the recently-published Pevsner on the Isle of Man (which contains more notes on churchyard monuments than any previous volume).