Lanterns of the Dead in Sarlat-la-Canéda Dordogne are the architectural name for the small towers in stone found chiefly in the center and west of France. Lanterns of the dead are pierced with small openings at the top, where a light was exhibited at night to indicate the position of a cemetery. In the second half of 12th century, this imposing cylindrical structure topped by a cone has towered over the city’s cemetery. It wasn’t until the 13th century the true spelling was learned; however it was in fact a "Lantern of the Moors". Hence, this would explain its Islamic style, and the fact that this monument was probably built in memory of the second crusade to Jerusalem, in which St Bernard de Clairvaux took part.
This tower is generally circular, having a small entrance in the lower part offering access to inside interior. This is France most perfect Cellefrouin “Charente”. One of the most perfect in France is that at Cellefrouin (Charente), consists of a series of 8 semicircular shafts, raised on a pedestal, and is crowned with a conical roof decorated with fir cones, and has only one aperture, towards the main road. Either one would be a most worthless tool anyway others suggest it was a funerary chapel where the body of the deceased would have been laid down in the ground-floor ample room, the shape of the monument would have allowed the soul, once escaped from the carnal envelope, to rise faster toward the sky.
In the Churchyard at Bisley in Gloucestershire a controversial lanterns poor souls light exist also said to be lanterns of the Moors. The conical upper part of the tower is extremely narrow that no human being can enter it and therefore no one could light a candle or a lantern there. The lantern of the dead has strong oriental influences in France also called Saint Bernard Tower. So far till today, all the mystery surrounding the strange monument has yet to be solved. However, some see in it a lamp that would be lighted to mark the passing of a significant figure. It is true that in the Middle-Ages, to save the soul of a deceased, a candle was raised and kept burning until the body was buried. Source: Charismatic Planet