George Lewis Grave - Atlas Obscura

Grave of George Lewis

Warnford, England

This gravestone tells the tragic tale of its occupant's death. 


Some 70 miles southwest of London, in the small English village of Warnford, a detailed gravestone stands in the cemetery of Warnford’s village church. Most gravestones contain few details, often only the name, birth date, and death date. While other graves reveal a little more about their subject’s life or interests, the gravestone of George Lewis goes further still—to reveal the manner of his death.

George Lewis was a local carpenter or woodsman who died in the winter of 1830, at the age of 41. His early passing is believed to have been the result of careless workmanship, the embarrassing details of which are set in his gravestone.

Topped with the image of a skeleton, Lewis’s gravestone shows the ominous figure pointing to a fallen bough lying with a saw at one side and the skeleton and tomb on the other. One tale tells that the bough crushed Lewis after he sawed it off from below, while another tells that Lewis was astride the branch when he detached it, and himself, from the tree. 

Whatever the cause of Lewis’s demise, it was not due to the most popular legend, which says that his death was the result of divine punishment for working on a Sunday, since December 18th, the day of Lewis’s death, was a Friday.

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