7 thoughts on “Skull and Crossbones on a Gravestone

  1. The Skull & Cross bones depicted on the grave stone is facing west, most Christian graves inscriptions face east. If you look on the East side of the Grave’s partially worn inscription you can cross reference the date with the microfiche of burial records available at Middlesborough library which tells us it is the grave of one Mary Gorden

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  2. At last I have the definitive answer to this mystery headstone. The explanation was published in the May 2012 edition of the Norton Parish magazine. The occupier of this grave is Jeremiah Moore who died on 20th July 1753 aged 57. He was a slave aboard a Turkish galley before being rescued by a British man of war. He was then press ganged into the Royal Navy where he served for a number of years. On his release he came to Norton where he entered fully into village life. On his death he left an inheritance to six local gentlemen. The skull and cross bones on his gravestone is not the sign of a pirate, but is an 18th century sign indicating a belief in resurrection and life after death. It is actually called a ‘Polycarpus’.

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  3. Bob Harbron of Norton History Society is the man to answer this puzzle. I recall one of his guided tours of 25-30 years around Norton. He explained that this stone was an early marking for a monk or priest. Makes sense really when you consider Norton and Whitby history with strong links to the Church.
    I left Teesside more than twenty years ago, but whenever I return, Norton Churchyard is always part of my visit.

    Incidently, I am the David White pictured with group of leavers from Newham Grange School 1971 which was recently submitted by Mally Monkhouse

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  4. Quite possible a pirate. Stockton being the main port in the area he could have been brought here for trial. Similiar gravestones can be found at St.Marys in Whitby.

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  5. There has been some discussion regarding this stone on this website some time ago, but a picture has never been available. It was suggested that the occupier of this grave was an early victim of the plague, or that the symbol represents a Masonic connection. Can anyone clarify this? When we were young, it was, of course, the grave of a pirate.

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