They are carved from the (relatively) locally sourced Swithland slate (from Swithland in Charnwood Forest to the west of Loughborough), and at the head of the gravestone have a carved depiction of an angel's head flanked by wings. This is supposed to represent the soul of the deceased ascending to heaven. Some larger stones have a pair of angels side by side.
The angel is in most instances flanked by a stylised depiction of an hourglass and crossed bones, and the panel usually includes a short phrase; examples include 'Come ye blessed', 'Death is gain'.
Below the angel is the commemorative inscription, often to more than one person, and this is followed by a short verse. A small number of stones also include a short biblical text.
In a few instances the angel panel is situated between the commemorative text and the verse, or even below all the text, and in at least one instance the verse is inscribed on the rear face. A number of stones are carved with a full memorial on both sides of the stone, and there are a few instances of the edge being used also.
They date from the period 1690 to 1759, and those located in the Vale itself, and centred on Hickling, appear to be the work of just one or two masons, although no information as to their identity appears to exist.
For a more comprehensive discussion, see Link
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