Perth and Kinross has a wide range of post-medieval funerary monuments. A significant number of tombs and memorials from the 17th and 18th centuries survive in the region in varying degrees of preservation. Some are large memorials influenced by Continental European trends, such as the remarkable early 17th-century monument to the first Earl of Kinnoull (MPK5312), while others are more modest gravestones often with symbols of trades or memento mori. The region also has some well-preserved burial aisles; this was a post-Reformation compromise whereby elite families built aisles adjacent to a church for their tombs, thereby getting round Protestant restrictions on burial actually within the main church building. Notable burial aisles survive at Kinfauns Old Parish Church (MPK5428), Kinnoull Old Parish Church (MPK5312) and Methven Church (MPK5548).
A proportion of the more impressive post-medieval monuments in the region have received detailed academic consideration (Howard 1996). Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust has also undertaken more general study of graveyards in the region, notably during the Historic Churchyards Project (2011–2013) and the Tay Landscape Partnership Project (2014–2019). However, despite a number of programmes of local history research, the vast majority of funerary monuments from the 17th and 18th centuries remain unrecorded. Yet these memorials provide an invaluable window onto the public identities, iconography and commemoration practices of past communities. The limited study of funerary monuments is of considerable concern because weathering, vandalism and health and safety interventions mean that many are at risk of damage and deterioration.
The 19th century saw a significant rise in the number of tombstones being created, reflecting both a growing population and the increasing mass-production of memorials. The sheer quantity of surviving grave markers from this period poses considerable challenges regarding maintenance and preservation. Whilst most of these tombstones are of primarily local and familial interest, they are still an expression of the beliefs and social aspirations of significant swathes of 19th-century society. Greater discussion between heritage professionals, local government organisations, faith communities and the wider public about what we can learn from this large corpus of relatively recent memorials, and the most appropriate and cost-effective conservation strategies, would be desirable.