Why We Don’t List Headstone Prices

When looking for a headstone in Liverpool, you need to be aware that the price you see advertised is not necessarily what you will finally pay. This is why at Sarsfield Memorials we don’t list our headstone prices, instead preferring to have a discussion with you first over your requirements. We can then give you a free no obligation quote which contains no hidden extras.

Our bespoke service mheadstone priceseans that we give you an all inclusive quote once we have all your information. Before we can consider pricing we need to know what cemetery you require a headstone for and when the burial was. We then have to take into account the varying cemetery regulations in the different local authorities across the Liverpool city region. For example Liverpool city council approve of kerbsets in some of their cemeteries but Knowsley doesn’t allow them at all, while there are also different size restrictions.

Furthermore, there are different regulations altogether for the Roman Catholic cemeteries which are managed by the Archdiocese of Liverpool, while the Church of England also gives guidance for their vicars as to what is acceptable in churchyards.

When we have listened to your requirements and discussed options available we can then give you price inclusive of VAT which includes the headstone, an insheadstone pricescription containing one hundred letters, flower vases, cemetery /churchyard fees and fixing to NAMM standards. We honour this price for six months months and the only circumstances it would change are if the local authority raise their fees. Otherwise we promise you won’t be hit with any additional charges. The only extras you pay are for additions you wish to make, such as photographs or ornamentation.

You may see headstones advertised for ‘unbeatable prices’ or see headstones advertised for sale on the internet. However you must be really careful here, because you may order a headstone from an online retail site then find it does not fall in with the cemetery regulations, or its fixings do not meet the NAMM standards.

If you would like to discuss buying a headstone from Sarsfield Memorials, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.


John Hulley’s Liverpool Olympics

The world’s attention is now turning to the Olympic Games in Rio, where Team GB will be hoping to better their medal haul from London 2012. The modern Olympic Games were first held in Athens in 1896 where Great Britain won two gold medals. However more than three decades earlier John Hulley, was organising Olympic festivals in his home town of Liverpool.

BorLiverpool Olympicsn in 1832 and the son of a surgeon, Hulley was a keen gymnast who he believed that physical wellbeing was just as important as that of the mind. In April 1861 he gave an address at the Theatre Royal, where he spoke of how children in ancient Greece were given physical training at academies from a very early age and their physical and intellectual supremacy went hand in hand.

The following year as secretary of the Liverpool Athletics Club he organised the Grand Olympic Festival on a parade ground at Mount Vernon. 10,000 attended and watched events that included flat racing, hurdling, disc throwing, high jumping, pole vaulting, fencing and boxing. The Liverpool Mercury praised Hulley’s ‘courtesy, unremitting exertions and zeal’.

The Olympic Festival of 1863 attracted a crowd of 15,000 to Mount Vernon and the following year it took place at the Zoological Gardens off West Derby Road. It then moved to Llandudno for two years before returning to Liverpool in 1867, taking place at Sheil Park, where there were also separate events for youths. By now Hulley opened the Liverpool Gymnasium in Myrtle Street to provide physical education for school pupils and somewhere where working class people could exercise.

On 6th November 1865, the day that the gymnasium was formally opened, Hulley chaired the first meeting of the National Olympian Association. This included representatives from gymnasiums and athletics clubs in London, Manchester and Paris. The object was to promote physical education and encourage participation by offering prizes for those with the most skill and strength. It oversaw a series of events across the country and was a forerunner of today’s British Olympic Association.

After marrying in 1869 Hulley faded from public life and he suffered from ill health, often spending winters in Europe to avoid the worst of the weather. He died in January 1875 at his home in 91 Grove Street, where he lived with his wife, daughter and mother.

Hulley was buried in Toxteth Park cemetery and for many years his grave was neglected. After he featured in an article in the Journal of Olympic History in 2008 it was located and found to be in a sorry state. A fund was set up for its restoration which attracted donations from the International Committee, leading to a re-dedication ceremony in June 2009 carried out by Reverend Graham from the Toxteth Unitarian Chapel where Hulley had married.



The Art of Monumental Masonry

Whereas all monumental masons are stonemasons, not all stonemasons are monumental masons. Stonemasonry is, along with prostitution, the oldest profession on the world but those that specialise in monumental masonry need a specific skill set.

The work of a monumental mason is far different to of a banker mason, who carves stone in a workshop that is then attached to the building by a fixer mason. Monumental masons are more often than not working on much smaller stone and applying a far greater level of detail, not only will they carve they will also letter and fix. They are creating a lasting memorial headstMonumental masonry in the 1950sone for a loved one that can often contain personal poems or epitaphs and sometimes carvings of symbols associated with death, such as cherubs or angels.

During their apprenticeship monumental masons will learn about the way materials are carved, cut and crafted, they will also learn the geology of the natural stone.  They will be taught about the different types of materials that are used for headstones; which are more suited to being shaped, used for ornamental carvings and which are better for lettering only. Additionally, they will learn about the durability of materials to the weather and what types are most appropriate for areas where wind and rain are prevalent.

In addition to learning their trade with a hammer and chisel, monumental masons need to develop the ability to show sensitivity to their customers and sometimes be a counsellor and trusted acquaintance. The needs of the business have to be balanced against the customer’s grief, expectation and finances. These traits can not be taught at training college and can only be learned over time from experienced colleagues and dealing with situations as they happen.

Technological advances mean that headstones can be cut and crafted using machinery nowadays. However there are many circumstances when traditional hand crafted methods are necessary, such as when adding new lettering to older headstones. Another is when the memorial is made from marble, on which it is better to hand cut or put leaded letters than use sandblasting.

At Sarsfield Memorials we have nearly seventy years of experience passed through the generations of monumental masonry and will be happy to guide you as to your requirements. Please contact us for a free no obligation quote.