Field Guide

Table Tomb

These tombs look like stone tables, usually a stone tablet inscribed with the departed's name, typically supported by six legs. If the stone top is thin, it becomes bowed, warped, or broken over time. Sometimes a sarcophagus is placed under the table top and a number of legs are added to produce a cage-like effect. (1)

Table stones are a large slab that is held off the ground by five or six pillars or legs. These stones are usually eroded because of their open exposure to the elements. Over time they crack, bow, and break. (2)


Taken from Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography written and photographed by Douglas Keister, published by Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City, 2004.

(2) Taken from Our History In Stone: The New England Cemetery Dictionary by Christina Eriquez, published by Sinematix, Brookfield, CT, 2009.


As promulgated by the Diocese of Gloucester, The Church of England: Table tombs are a distinctive and often very elaborate addition to our churchyards, forming an important part of the setting of the church, and often being of great interest in themselves. Many are also listed, and we should do what we can to conserve them as an important part of our history. However many of our table tombs are suffering from a combination of structural instability, general decay and old age, presenting a potential safety hazard and expensive headache to parishes... Read on ...