Changing Landscapes in Urban British Churchyards

Influences on Epitaphs

Author(s): S. E. Thornbush and Mary J. Thornbush

Pp: 98-116 (19)

Doi: 10.2174/9789811441264120010011

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


This is the final chapter that examines headstone inscriptions, more specifically here, epitaphs. Although epitaphs are a part of inscriptions, they can be classified independently, as they can be regarded as an additional feature. The epitaph is predominantly placed after all inscriptions, designated to a basal location on the headstone, irrespective of height. This chapter will also consider the motif-epitaph progression, which denotes the movement from using motifs to epitaphs in Britain. Statistical analysis indicated that the difference between aspects of date of death and length of epitaph, was extremely statistical significant for England, and also very statistically significant in Scotland. The relationship between the length of the epitaph and headstone is governed by the height of the headstone. Where weathering action affected the legibility of the epitaph, the bag-of-words model and lines approach were used and created, respectively, to augment the existing sample size. The use of longer epitaphs earlier in the 18th to early 19th centuries indicates a salvation influence in the words used on headstones.

Keywords: Bag-of-words model, χ2 test, Lexis, Lines approach, Mortality, Motifepitaph progression, Remembrance, Salvation.

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