Beautiful carved headstone in Bow


This beautiful carved headstone caught my eye from across the road when I was walking along Bow Road in east London.  Bow Church – or to give it its proper name, St Mary and Holy Trinity, Stratford Bow – is today marooned on an island in the middle of a busy road and the churchyard is railed off.  There are a number of old tomb stones in the churchyard, which has been a designated public garden since 1894.  The church, founded as a chapel of ease in 1311, is the only surviving medieval building in Bow.

The headstone is quite worn and mossy so I was unable to read the inscription on it, but the carving depicts what appears to be an angel taking the hand of a dying person, who is being comforted by a woman.  I’ve never seen an image like it on a gravestone before – it’s beautiful and poignant.  The quality of the carving is very fine – the folds in the fabrics worn by the figures are realistic and a great deal of detail, such as the angel’s hand, still survives today.  Whoever commissioned the headstone must have paid a lot of money for it.

Considering the damage inflicted on Bow Church during the Second World War, this lovely old headstone is a stunning survivor.


  1. Essie Fox · July 3, 2014

    Oh, that is beautiful!


    • Caroline · July 3, 2014

      Isn’t it just? I love it – so unusual. I wish that the inscription on it was legible so we could know who it belonged to.


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