Old New England Cemetery: Burial Hill

Old Burial Hill

In honor of Halloween I took some photos of Old Burial Hill in Marblehead. The cemetery established in 1638 is one of the oldest graveyards in New England. Headstones are perched high above the colonial village with views of the nearby ocean. Six hundred revolutionary war heroes as well as notable Marblehead families are buried here. The headstones vary many displaying skulls and angels with wings. The winged skull was popularized by the puritans and is one of the oldest styles of gravestone markings. The scrolling lines and imagery are beautiful examples of art from the 17th and 18th century. Below just a few of my favorites.

Old Burial Hill in Marblehead, MA

Headstone from 1787 at Old Burial Hill

Skull and Wings Headstone

Angel Wings at Old Burial Hill

headstone at burial hill

Headstone With Skelton, Apple, and Sun

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  1. Katy, Once you get started wandering through these old cemetaries, it’s addictive. The Granary in Boston is another good one, as is the one in Salem. There are many good books out there for researching the symbolism of the headstones. My husband and I spent our honeymoon going through cemetaries in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hamsphire, Connecticut and Maine! It’s fascinating to put families together, and notice the dates…when entire families died, probably from some flu or illness. Also fascinating to see husbands buried next to first and second wives.


  2. these photos are stunning! i am itching for a beautiful fall with red leaves since it’s still 80 degrees where i live. your blog is lovely!! xo


  3. I’ve always loved the old winged skull gravestones! We don’t have anything that old here in Chicago. Looks like you had a beautiful fall day.


  4. Great photos! I work in Salem and took a walk through one of the cemeteries here at lunch yesterday and it was just beautiful.