Dave asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

What does a skull and cross bones mean when on a grave?

It was a big pillar type grave - bout a metre high and 50cmX50cm wide

The skull and cross bones was on the side - with the writing of who was burried there on the top (but too weathered to read)

Its on a grave in a tiny grave-yard in derbyshire (St. Marys - Sutton Scarsdale Hall)

We thought mabe a pirate but if he was known to be a pirate he would have been hung and therefore not given a grave stone.

Another thought was that he was a captain that ambushed pirates

Another thought is that they died from a disease and it was to warn people


- this photo is of several graves - the one in question has a red box around it - the skull and cross bones is on the other side from where the picture was taken

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It can relate to piracy but only if the crossed bones pass behind the skull IE the jolly roger.

    It the crossed bones are underneath the skull, there are several possible theories:

    Relating to the Knights Templar, as they used the insignia to deter enemies. On crucifixes, sometimes the crossed bones are under the cross to denote Golgotha or the place of skulls where the crucifixion took place. Connected to some European churches, where the S&C displayed at entrances.

    In 1700's the southern Scots used the S&C on their headstones denoting death.

    My thoughts are that the grave possible contains the remains of a Freemason, and the Fremasons used this symbol to denote a Master Mason. The grave looks signoficant for its time, even though you cannot read the inscription and date, I guess it could have been someone important and Freemasonary was common in officials and wealthy folk.

  • 1 decade ago

    Actual skulls and bones were long used to mark the entrances to Spanish cemeteries (campo santo). The practice, dating back many centuries, led to the symbol eventually becoming associated with the concept of death. Some crucifixes feature a skull and crossbones beneath the corpus (the depiction of Jesus's body), in reference to a legend that the place of the crucifixion was also the burial place of Adam or, more likely, in reference to the New Testament statement (King James Version: Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, and John 19:17) that the place of his crucifixion was called "Golgotha" (tr. "the Place of a Skull").

    Today, an example of a real skull and crossbones may be seen in the 1732 Nuestra Señora del Pilar church overlooking the famous Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It contains several altars rescued from other early Spanish churches in South America. One of these has twenty rectangular window boxes arrayed behind and above the altar, five wide by four tall. The size of these glass window boxes is such that the femurs of the priests interred thusly are a bit too long to lay flat and so must be leaned up in an "X" formation. The other bones fill in the spaces around the femurs with the skull sitting prominently on top of the bone pile centered above the "X".

  • 1 decade ago

    Symbols were common on gravestones. They are now as well; but even more so in the 17 and 1800's.

    They ranged from a symbol of an order (Eagles, Masons), to just an illustration of going to Heaven. Often it had a service affiliation too.

    The skull and cross bones was a common one. All it meant was death and mortality. There were many symbols that meant the same thing: Just a skull as well as a coffin.

    Don't worry, you haven't got a pirate or something....there should have been a bunch of them with a skull and cross bones on them.

  • 3 years ago

    Skull And Crossbones On Gravestones

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  • Wendy
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Graves either like that or a skull with wings on both sides are all over Boston and Massachusetts.

  • 1 decade ago

    Skulls were a common theme on grave stones from medieval times until the first world war. They usually are put on graves of burials rather than graves of cremations but have no specific meaning apart from that the person was dead. Winged skulls, skulls and daggars, skulls and crossbones, and skulls with a pattern of bones all are variations on a plain skull.

  • Ann
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site https://shorturl.im/ayaNN

    Yes, I've seen this, but only on VERY old graves, though, dating back to colonial times.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is a symbol of mortality nothing to do with pirates.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Maybe it was a pirate that didnt get caught :O

    like jack sparrow lol.

    Or maybe that person, was obsessed with pirates or death.

    that is quite interesting though.

  • DJJD
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Death and mortality.

    Check this site out below. Its cool.

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