One Piece Foundations

One-piece foundations mean that all of the memorial and kerbset sit on a reinforced concrete foundation, making it easier to re-align it if there is any movement in the ground.
If you are having kerbsets fitted we would always advise you to have them fixed on a one piece foundation and check with the mason that they are doing this. Have a look around the cemetery and look at the memorials fitted on one-piece foundations compared to those that are not and you will see the difference in standards.
Some masons fix memorials and kerbsets onto flagstones, but this is unsatisfactory as movement in the ground can cause subsidence. The reason flagstones are not so suitable is that it can take a long time to level the ground, the flagstones and then cement and level the kerbs. If and when movement in the ground occurs it makes it difficult to level everything, meaning that fixing this way can cause the kerbs to crack in half. Any subsequent costs of putting the situation right, which involves removing the kerbset, levelling the ground and re-fixing it, are inevitably met by the customer.
In contrast headstones with kerbsets that have been sited on one-piece foundations are more professional in their appearance. At Sarsfield Memorials we supply quality one-piece foundations at no extra cost, as we have sourced a supplier that can supply them in concrete or terrazzo to us. This reduces the work for our masons, allowing us to pass on the savings to the customer.
 Arabic grave stoneOn installation, the base and kerbset are uplifted about two to three inches above ground level with a one inch overhang all around (see example in photo) This means that the memorial is less likely to be damaged when grass is being cut and strimmed. This is the standard recommended by BRAMM (The British Register of Accredited Monumental Masons), of which Sarsfield is a member.
When we install one-piece foundations at Sarsfield we leave the grave looking neat, clean and tidy, as you would expect from professionals. If movement in the ground should occur within the first two years of fixing the memorial, then we will realign it free of charge providing you have followed our initial guidance regarding maintenance. We believe the product we are offering is a quality product, fixed to a recognised standard and as we value our customers we like to offer the best quality products and service.
Please contact us if you would like more information about one-piece foundations and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a free no obligation quote.

Your Memorial – From Enquiry to Installation

If you choose Sarsfield Memorials for your loved one’s headstone you can be rest assured that you will be involved from beginning to end. We will take you through every step of the process to ensure we meet what you tell us your needs are, not what we think they are.

When youOgee approach us we will ask if your loved one has been buried or cremated and in which cemetery. We can then advise on cemetery regulations in respect of size restrictions and if kerb sets are allowed. If you are in a 30 mile radius of us, we can visit you at home, while if you are arranging a memorial from a distance then we can communicate with you by phone, email or letter, whichever you prefer.

During the initial discussions we will ask if the deceased had any specific wishes for their headstone. This allows us to talk through the pros and cons of materials and styles of lettering and also show samples to you. We will usually be able to give you a written quotation within forty eight hours, although this may be longer if the gravestone is to be custom made. This quote will be honoured unless you ask for additional work at a later date and we ask for 50% of the cost before work starts and the balance on completion, we also offer payment plans, please contact us for further information.

Once the order has been agreed we will give you an estimated timescale for how long it will be before the headstone is installed. This depends on how the ground has settled since the burial, what materials need to be obtained and our own manufacturing workload. Generally though a standard design can be complete within six weeks of your order, with a bespoke one taking three to four months. You will be given a layout of how the completed memorial will look before work starts so it can be signedTraveler Digital Camera off and approved by both parties.

When the work is complete and your gravestone is fixed on the grave in the cemetery, you have a lasting tribute to your loved one. At Sarsfield Memorials we pride ourselves in providing a personal service tailored to suit your needs. We want to be part of a process during which we hope you can find comfort once the grave is marked with the memorial of your choice. If you would like to discuss headstone options please contact us here and we will be happy to give you a free no obligation quote.

Choosing an Inscription For Your Memorial

Choosing an inscription for your loved one’s headstone is a difficult and emotional task that you will want to get right. Summing up their life and your feelings in just  a few short sentences is not easy, but there are some simple steps to follow that can assist with you in making your choice.

In terms of the number of words, it is important to remember that the more inscribed, the less space there is for future inscriptions. As such , it is advisable to use a few short sentences to sum up who your loved one was and how their life is remembered by their surviving family members.

new lettering on a black granite memoria

A lot of families like to start an inscription with an introduction or a prayer, it is not essential to start an inscription in this manner, the most important details are the deceased’s name and yes, you can use an abbreviated name or nickname and date of death, then perhaps the date of birth but often families will use the age. Nearly all gravestone inscriptions will make reference to the deceased’s role in life, such as a mother, father, brother and so on. Examples that can be used here are ‘In loving memory of a dear father’ and ‘In affectionate memory of a loving and much loved mother and grandmother.’ Epitaphs showing the feelings of friends and relatives can also be expressed here, with phrases such as ‘Remembered with a smile’ and ‘Sadly missed by all the family.’

Epitaphs need not be just a few words, but could be a couple of lineSarsfield075s devoted to the bereaved’s memory of their loved one. Phrases that could be used include ‘Tenderly I treasure the past, with memories that will always last’ and ‘As time goes on, the days pass by, but memories of you will never die.’ The epitaphs could also refer to how a person died instead of or as well as, how their loved one’s feel. A person who died after a long illness for instance, could have ‘Peacefully sleeping’ on their gravestone. Alternatively, for somebody who died suddenly as a result of an accident, ‘Taken suddenly’ would be appropriate.

Children’s epitaphs tend to indicate the young age at which they died.Phrases often used are ‘Remembering our tiny angel’ and ‘Sweetly sleeping.’ Longer phrases could reflect the care which the child is being given in Heaven, an example being ‘Sleep our beautiful angel on your pillow in the sky, angels are forever so we’ll never say goodbye.’

Biblical verses are often used for epitaphs and if you read the through the bible you may find a phrase that sums up yours and how your loved one would feel about death. Common verses used include ‘The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want’ and  ‘Thy remembrance shall endure into all generations.’

On many Victorian headstones there are inscriptions referring to the deceased having ‘departed this life’, indicating the faith in the afterlife. Today, a person’s faith can be demonstrated with numerous phrases such as ‘Only goodnight beloved, not farewell’, ‘I know that my redeemer liveth’ and ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus.’ For headstones on graves where more than one family member is buried, a simple ‘Reunited’ or ‘Together in heaven’ can often suffice.

As we live in more secular times today, it could be that a less formal quote is needed if the deceased did not believe in an afterlife. The quote could be inscribed as if it has come from the deceased themselves and say for example, ‘I had a busy life, now I am having a rest.’ The inscription could even be humorous, such as ‘I told you I was sick.’

When considering the quotes, you do need to appreciate that what is inscribed will be a permanent memorial and reflection of your loved one, so it is important to make the right choice. If the deceased had not indicated themselves what they may want inscribed on their headstone, try and imagine how they would think, and work something out from there.

Sarsfield’s masons have been providing headstones and inscriptions for three generations and can offer advice on what may be best for your loved one’s memorial. Please contact us for a chat on the phone or by email, for a free no obligation quote or to make an appointment for us to visit you.

Religious Ornamentation on Gravestones

It has always been a common practice for religious ornamentation to be added to gravestones and although it is not as common nowadays as in Victorian times, the practice is far from being a thing of the past.

Older graves of people who held strong religious beliefs are often symbolised by carvings of the Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ. Bibles would be used too, but usually these were reserved for those who had held pastoral positions or taught in Sunday schools.

Eucharists, representing the body and blood of Christ, are often to be seen on the headstones of priests and nuns. It is also common to see rosaries on the headstones of devout Catholics. Strong faith is represented too by hands clasped in prayer and a woman holding the cross.

In modern times, Christianity is more likely to be represented by angels who guide the soul to heaven. If the angel is blowing a trumpet, it is signifies the Resurrection and call to the Day of Judgement. Doves are another common religious ornamentation in modern times. These birds are the messengers of God and symbols of the Holy Spirit, which can also be reflected by winged wheels.

The popularity of angels and doves today doesn’t mean other religious figures are disappearing altogether and saints, crosses, The Sacred Heart and Our Lady  can still be found on newer headstones.

angel praying gravestone

There are also more subtle ways that headstone ornaments show the ending of this life and passage to heaven, which was often shown by arches in older times. Gates is one way that this is represented but chariots are another way of demonstrating the journey to everlasting life. Heaven itself is represented by angels in clouds.

Children’s graves are often decorated with cherubs, while an angel weeping is also a common way of showing an untimely death. Rose buds are often white in colour for virginity and purity. Birds in flight, denoting winged souls, are often seen on the graves of children and show the divine mission and eternal life.

Non Christian religious symbols include the Megan Dawid on Jewish gravestones and a crescent with moon for headstones of those of the Islamic faith. Buddhist memorials are often decorated with Shih Tzus, which literally translate as ‘lion dog.’

At Sarsfield Memorials we provide a wide range of religious ornamentation for gravestones and examples of what we offer can be viewed here. Please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.

Yew Tree Cemetery in Liverpool

Yew Tree Cemetery was the second of the two Roman Catholic cemeteries that were opened in Liverpool in Victorian times. It took its first burials in 1893, more than thirty years after the one at Ford, near Litherland. The cemetery is named after nearby Yew Tree Lane, which itself derives from Yew Tree Hose, so named as a large yew tree was in the garden.

Yew Tree Cemetery is administered by the Archdiocese of Liverpool and  every July an outdoor mass by the Archbishop of Liverpool is held in the cemetyewtree priest graveery, when hundreds attend to pray for those who are buried there. The cemetery contains the graves of numerous priests and nuns, buried either near the chapel or alongside the main roadway.

There are 35 First World War graves at Yew Tree Cemetery, thirteen of them marked by two small memorials. There are also the graves of 65 servicemen from the Second World War in various parts of the cemetery.

Mary McCartney, mother of Beatle Paul, is buried in Yew Tree cemetery. She died in 1956 from complications that arose as a result of breast cancer surgery when Paul was just fourteen years old. Another grave with an entertainer connection is the unmarked burial place of Archie O’Neill, a music hall entertainer known as the ‘one legged dancer’ who died in 1959.

A heartbreaking grave is that of Nigel Pickup, who at eight years old was the youngest victim of the Ibrox Stadium tragedy on 2nd January 1971, when 66 football fans were crushed to death on a stairway at the end of a Rangers v Celtic match in Glasgow. He had been taken to the match by his grandfather who was visiting relatives there and in 2010 his grave was rededicated in a special ceremony attended by many Rangers fans who had come to Liverpool specially for the service.

Yew Tree Cemetery contains the grave of a heroic survivor of the Lusitania disaster, James Dyer. He had only been a trimmer on the liner for three weeks when it was torpedoed by a German u-boat on 7th May 2015. After being flung into the sea by the explosion he managed to get hold of a piece of wreckage and also help two American children cling  onto it for three hours before being rescued and taken to Queenstown. He was given a financial reward by the boy’s father and then got a heroes welcome in Liverpool. He later married and had five children, dying in 1959 aged 69. His gravestone, which also marks the burial place of other family members, makes no mention of the tragedy. In relation to James it simply says ‘In loving memory of James Dyer and family.’

Yew Tree cemetery chapel

Next to the chapel at Yew Tree Cemetery is a headstone marking all those buried in the cemetery whose graves are unmarked. The chapel, dating from 1893, closed two years ago and has sadly become a magnet for anti social behaviour including alcohol and drug misuse, leading to complaints from local residents. This is despite security being in place and with the Archdiocese saying they cannot keep it safe and secure Liverpool City Council has granted planning permission to demolish it.

The wider community has expressed concern at this decision, fearing graves may be disturbed. Claiming that it is an essential part of the West Derby Catholic community, and an important part of local heritage, an online petition has been set up which has so far attracted over 1,200 signatures.

Where to Buy Your Memorial

When looking for a headstone, the temptation is there to search the internet for the best price and order online. However going about it this way can lead to a number of complications arising.

Although you may find gravestones on sites such as ebay that seemsmall rounded grave to offer unbeatable value, you cannot be sure that the memorial you buy will be suitable for the grave for which it is intended. Rules and regulations for cemeteries differ between local authorities so a headstone that could be used in a cemetery local to the seller may be useless in the locality of the buyer.

Choosing a memorial for your loved one is a choice that you will be left with for many years to come. It is for that reason that you should use a monumental mason local to where it will be situated. You will then be given personal service by an experienced professional who knows the local cemetery regulations and guide you through the options available. If you live far away from the grave for which you are purchasing the headstone, the mason can email images or send you photographs of the unmarked grave and area around, helping you to choose the most suitable size and material.

As well as not receiving such a personal and dedicated service when purchasing memorials from online sales sites, you are very unlikely to receive any help post sale. Even if the price of the gravestone you buy online included supply and fixing, it is unlikely they will come and rectify any problems that may arise later on. Likewise, any remedial work that needs to be undertaken beforehand will not be included, whereas it would be with a local mason. Additio marble shiny black intricate detailsnally if you purchase from a mason, extras such as kerbs, books and tablets can easily be added at a later date that match the existing gravestone.

At Sarsfield Memorials the only person you will deal with is Ursula who offers advice, sales, after care and has a genuine interest in quality workmanship at a reasonable price. If you see a price on the internet that you feel is too good to be true then it probably is. We recommend that you contact Ursula who can explain how Sarsfield’s prices compare to those you find on some sales sites and what they don’t include, give her the link of the gravestone you have seen or describe it to her and she will be more than happy to give you Sarsfield’s price including guarantee of quality workmanship from a reliable and renowned family masons.

Photographs On Headstones

In the last couple of decades the adding of photographs to gravestones has become commonplace in the United Kingdom, having been a tradition in some European countries for far longer.

The most strai3-239x239ghtforward photographs are those that are on ceramic plates which are then fixed to the headstone. The image of your loved one that you choose can be one of them enjoying a drink, engaging in their hobbies, or a professionally posed photograph. Digital image enhancing software allows for the quality of faded photographs to be improved or backgrounds to be altered (for example if there is another person in the shot). After the enhanced image is printed on to the ceramic, it is kiln finished to ensure it can withstand the elements.

Pet Memorials - Tyson - Dog

Laser etched images are etched into the stone and bring out a great deal of detail, so for this reason the photograph that you choose must be of a high quality. In this instance, the process involves etching away the polished surface of the headstone so that the lighter coloured rock underneath is uncovered. A high resolution grayscale image is then left on the gravestone. As such the most suitable material for laser etched images is black granite. It is possible also to etch images onto existing gravestones. To do this they will be removed to the workshop for the process to be carried out.


Sarsfield Memorials are able to add photographs to new headstones that you purchase, or ones that are already in existence. However, please be aware that many churchyards do not allow photographs to be placed on family gravestones. As well as the two most common methods Sarsfield Memorials can offer traditional Italian resin (plastic) photo plaques which can be drilled, dowelled and fixed onto the headstone. By using this method it means they are more difficult to remove, less likely to fall off and this material is also very difficult to vandalise compared to ceramic, which can be easily smashed by stone throwing.

Whether you go for a ceramic plate, laser etched image or resin plaque for your loved one’s gravestone, any printed photographs that you provide to us are not destroyed in the process and we always return them. If you would like to discuss adding an image to a headstone, please contact us for further information and a free no obligation quote.

Kerb Sets

A Kerb set can add distinction to your loved one’s grave, giving it a beautiful marked border in addition to the headstone, as well as keeping the area around it tidy.

In Merseyside, only Liverpool City Council allow  kerb sets to be added to gravestones and a condition is that they must match the material of the existing memorial. Once the kerb set has been installed, it can then be covered kerb setswith a cover slab or alternatively be filled in with chippings that come in a range of colours. In recent years, it has become common to fill the centre with soil for planting seasonal flowers, or for the infill area to be covered in astroturf.

A grave bordered by a kerb set is much better protected against the elements and the infill area can be used to place further memorials such as flowers, vases, toys or other personal items. The kerb set prevents people from walking over where your loved one is buried and can also make a grave easier to maintain as there is less likelihood of weeds. Kerb sets provide a distinctive final resting place for your loved one and can also be used on the graves of cremated remains.

Sarsfield Memorials have a range of kerb sets available and a sample can be viewed here. We can provide combined headstone and kerb sets, or as an addition to an existing grave, a kerb set can be added providing the material is the same and the size required is within the regulations.

You will sometimes skerb setsee older graves in cemeteries that have kerb sets which appear in poor condition. This is often because they have shifted due to ground movement over the years, but you do not need worry about this nowadays. All our kerb sets are fitted on a one piece reinforced concrete foundation which is in line with NAMM (National Association of Memorial Masons) recommendations and are fixed by our skilled craftsmen.

Before installing your kerb set permission must be granted by Liverpool City Council which we can arrange for you. There is a fee for this which is currently £90 and Sarsfield Memorials can process the payment of this for you. Please get in touch with us if you would like any further information and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.


A History of Allerton Cemetery

Allerton Cemetery EntranceAllerton Cemetery is the newest of the six cemeteries administered by Liverpool City Council and one of two in the city which have been listed by English Heritage.

At the beginning of the 20th Century it was clear that more cemetery space in the south of the city was needed. There had already been over 100,000 internments at Toxteth Cemetery since it opened in 1856 and the city’s suburbs were expanding southwards. With this in mind the city council purchased a large part of the Allerton Hall estate from the Clarke family in 1906 for £50,000, equivalent to over £5 million today.

The following year members of the Burials Committee visited the International Congress of Hygiene and Demography in Berlin. They noted that cemeteries there had a wide central avenue and graves were set back from the walks. They also observed that to please the eye and give the impression of a park, there were planted borders and a large proportion of the trees were evergreen.

City Engineer John A. Brodie was then instructed to submit plans for a new cemetery taking the committee’s report from Berlin into account. Four options were submitted in 1908 and after approval was given for one of them work began with the cemetery being consecrated in September 1909 by the Bishop of Liverpool. The first burial, that of Thomas Walsh, took place on 29th December that year.

Notable internmVc Ratcliffe grave Allerton cemeteryents in the cemetery include two recipients of the Victoria Cross, George Edward Nurse and William Ratcliffe, for bravery in the Boer War and 1st World War respectively. They both survived the campaigns in which they were involved, but the cemetery contains the remains of 399 servicemen from the two world wars who were killed performing their duty.

The cemetery has been extended three times over the years and covers a total sixty hectares. Either side of the main entrance on Woolton Road are two lodges, one of which is now a private residence while the other contains the city council’s cemetery offices. There are three chapels, one Church of England, one Roman Catholic and one Non-Conformist.

A humbling memorial in section CH2G is a stark reminder of the horrors and tragedies of war. This marks the grave of 21 year old Joseph Quinn, who died in April 1917 from an illness contracted whilst on duty with the Royal Naval Reserve. Underneath his name is that of his brother, 20 year old John, who was killed in action in France less than three months later and was interred there.

Grave of George Strong Lord Mayor of Liverpool 1933-34

A number of civic dignitaries are buried at Allerton, including George Alfred Strong, who was Lord Mayor of Liverpool 1933-34 and whose headstone is pictured. Whilst in office he welcomed King George V to Liverpool for the opening of the Queensway Tunnel connecting the city with Birkenhead.

John Lennon’s mothjulia Lennon graveer Julia was buried in Section CH38 after she was tragically knocked down by a car in Menlove Avenue in 1957. For decades the exact location of her grave was unknown and after it was discovered it was then marked by a wooden cross. In 2010 the unusually shaped gravestone pictured was added, simply containing the names of her four children and the word ‘Mummy’.

In 2002 Allerton and Toxteth Cemeteries were given Grade II listed status by English Heritage. It was recorded that Allerton was a good example of an Edwardian cemetery due to its original features remaining largely intact. Unlike in Liverpool’s other cemeteries, there are hardly any gravestones that have been damaged and had to be laid flat for public safety.

There are now over 80,000 people buried in Allerton Cemetery and on 20th August 2015 singer and television personality Cilla Black will be laid to rest there alongside her parents. Cilla’s real name is Priscilla Maria Veronica Willis (nee White) but her headstone will simply say ‘Here Lies Cilla the Singer’ in accordance with her wishes.