Letter: Epitaphs ancient and modern

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The Independent Online
Sir: How sad that petty restrictions have turned the burial of an old man into such an upsetting and embittered time for his family ('Family could exhume body in row over gravestones', 10 August).

Perhaps we should learn from other European countries which have a different attitude to what is correct in cemeteries. On a holiday in the Bernese Oberland, I saw in the local churchyards many headstones that were simply large pieces of roughly hewn rock. On these were carved a variety of designs and inscriptions - mountain trains, helicopters, farm animals, hay rakes - indicating the occupation of the deceased. Saddest of all, ropes, boots and alpenstocks on the headstones of those who had died in the mountains.

The variety and personalised nature of the inscriptions and design of the headstones reflected the lifestyle of these mountain dwellers - adding to the dignity and poignancy of their last resting place.

Yours faithfully,


Pontarddulais, West Glamorgan