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scure parts of the kingdom ancient customs are frequently retained. The common people of this parish tie a dirty cloth about their heads when they appear as chief mourners at a funeral. The same custom likewise prevails in different places.”
PALL AND UNDER BEARERS.
SOMETHING, instead of the pall used at present to cover the coffin, appears by Durand to have been of great antiquity.' He informs us, in many quotations from the ancient Christian writers, that those of the highest orders of clergy thought it no reproach to their dignity, in ancient times, to carry the bier ; and that at the funeral of Paula bishops were what in modern language we call under bearers. How different an idea of this office prevails in our times !
Misson, in his Travels in England, transl. by Ozell, p. 91, says : “ The parish has always three or four mortuary cloths of different prices (the handsomest is hired out at five or six crowns), to furnish those who are at the charge of the interment. These cloths, which they call palls, are some of black velvet, others of cloth with an edge of white linen or silk 8 foot broad, or thereabouts. For a bachelor or maid, or for a woman that dies in childbed, the pall is white. This is spread over the coffin, and is so broad that the six or eight men in black clothes that carry the body (upon their shoulders) are quite hid beneath it to their waist; and the corners and sides of it hang down low enough to be borne by those (six friends, men or women, according to the occasion) who, according to custom, are invited for that purpose. They generally give black or white gloves, and black crape hatbands, to those that carry the pall; sometimes, also, white silk scarves.”
Undertakers, now, provide the palls. For men, black silk scarves are sometimes given, sometimes they are of black
1 “In nobilibus, aureum velamentum superferetrum, quo corpus obte. geretur, apponi consuetum." Durand. p. 225.
2 “ Paulam translatam fuisse episcoporum manibus, cervicem feretro subjicientibus.” Durand, p. 227. From this it appears too that the corpse was carried shoulder-height, as the term now is.
satin. In the Irish Hudibras, p. 35, is given the following description of the burial of an Irish piper:
“They mounted him upon a bier,
Through which the wattles did appear,
To furnish him for a dead lift." Pennant, in his MS. relating to North Wales, informs us that “at these words, 'we commit the body to the ground,' the minister holds the spade, and throws in the first spadeful of earth. Skiviog."]
1 Mr. Pennant's MS. says: “At Skiv'og, from the park to the church I have seen the bier carried by the next of kin, husband, brothers, and father-in-law. All along from the house to the churchyard, at every cross-way, the hier is laid down, and the Lord's prayer rehearsed, and so when they first come into the churchyard, before any of the verses appointed in the service be said. There is a custom of ringing a little bell before the corpse, from the house to the churchyard. (Dymerchion.) Some particular places are called resting-places. Skyv'og. When a corpse is carried to church from any part of the town, the bearers take care to carry it so that the corpse may be on the right hand, though the way be nearer, and it be less trouble to go on the other side ; nor will they bring the corpse through any other way than the south gate. If it should happen to rain while the corpse is carried to the church, it is reckoned to bode well to the deceased, whose bier is wet with the dew of heaven. At church the evening service is read, with the office of burial. The minister goes to the altar, and there says the Lord's prayer, with one of the prayers appointed to be read at the grave : after which the congregation offer upon the altar, or on a little board for that purpose fixed to the rails of the altar, their benevolence to the officiating minister. A friend of the deceased is appointed to stand at the altar, observing who gives, and how much. When all have given he counts the money with the minister, and signifies the sum to the congregation, thanking them all for their good will."
In the Hydriotaphia, or Urne Burial of Sir Thomas Browne, p. 56, speaking of the ancient heathens, he says: “ Their last valediction thrice uttered by the attendants was also very solemn : Vale, vale, vale, nos te ordine quo Natura permittet sequemur:' and somewhat answered by Christians, who thought it too little if they threw not the earth thrice upon the interred body.”
We read, in the Glossary to Kennett's Parochial Antiquties, in v. Oblationes Funerales : “At the burial of the dead it was a custom for the surviving friends to offer liberally at the altar for the pious use of the priest, and the good estate of the soul of the deceased. This pious custom doth still ob. tain in North Wales, where at the rails which decently defend the communion-table, I have seen a small tablet or flat board conveniently fixed to receive the money, which at every funeral is offered by the surviving friends, according to their own ability and the quality of the party deceased; which seems a providential augmentation to some of those poor churches."
In the Life of Mr. George Herbert, written by Izaack Walton, 1670, p. 70, speaking of Herbert's ordination, our biographer tells us: “at which time the Reverend Dr. Humphrey Henchman, now Lord bishop of London, tells me, he laid his hand on Mr. Herbert's head, and (alas !) within less than three years lent his shoulder to carry his dear friend to his grave.”
In Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, iii. 525, the minister of Tongue, co. Sutherland, after having mentioned the funeral entertainment (“for at the burial of the poorest here there is a refreshment given, consisting generally of some wbisquybeath, or some foreign liquor, butter and cheese, with oat bread,”) says, after this, “the friends of the deceased, and neighbours of the village, who come to witness the interment, are drawn up in rank and file by an old serjeant, or some veteran who has been in the army, and who attends to maintain order, and give, as they term it here, the word of relief. Upon his crying Relief! the four under the bier prepare to leave their stations, and make room for other four that instantly succeed. This progression is observed at the interval of every five minutes, till the whole attendants come in regularly, and, if the distance requires it, there is a second, a third, or a
fourth round of such evolutions gone through. When the persons present are not inflamed with liquor there is a pofound silence generally observed, from the time the corpse has been taken up till the interment is over.”]
DOLES AND INVITATIONS AT FUNERALS.
Doles were used at funerals, as we learn from St. Chrysostom, to procure rest to the soul of the deceased, that he might find his judge propitious.?
The giving of a dole, and the inviting of the pooron this occasion, are synonymous terms. There are some strong figurative expressions on this subject in St. Ambrose's Funeral Oration on Satyrus, cited by Durand. Speaking of those who mourned on the occasion, he says : “The poor also shed their tears; precious and fruitful tears, that washed away the sins of the deceased. They let fall floods of redeeming tears." From such passages as the above in the first Christian writers, literally understood, the Romanists may have derived their superstitious doctrine of praying for the dead.
Strutt, in his English Æra, tells us that Sir Robert Knolles, in the eighth year of Henry IV., died at his manor in Norfolk, and his dead body was brought in a litter to London with
i In another part of the Statistical Account of Scotland, vii. 622, Dundonald parish, Ayrshire, we read: “Country burials are not well regulated. The company are invited at eleven o'clock forenoon, but they are probably not all arrived at two. Till of late a pipe and tobacco was provided for every one of the company; but this custom is entirely laid aside."
2 Μαλλον δε τι μετα ταυτα πένητας καλείς ; ινα εις αναπαυσιν ately iva idew rxn Tov O kuornv. Homilia xxxii. in Matthei cap. non.
$ “ Preteria convocabantur et invitabantur necdum sacerdotes et religiosi, sed et egeni pauperes.” Durand. Had our famous poet, Mr. Pope, an eye to this in ordering, by will, poor men to support his pall? By the will of William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, executed April 29, 1397, be directs “ that twenty-five shillings should be daily distributed among three hundred poor people from the time of his death to the arrival of his body at the conventual church of Bustlesham, in which it was to be deposited.” See Warner's Topographical Remarks, relating to the Southwestern parts of Hampshire, ii. 73.
great pomp and much torchlight, and it was buried in the White Friars' church, “where was done for him a solemn obsequie, with a great feast and lyberal dole to the poore.” This custom, says Strutt, of giving a funeral feast to the chief mourners, was universally practised all over the kingdom, as well as giving alms to the poor, in proportion to the quality and finances of the deceased. Manners and Customs, ii. 209. See a curious account of doles in Dr. Ducarel's Tour through Normandy, fol. ed. p. 81.
Among the articles of expense at the funeral of Sir John Rudstone, Mayor of London, 1531, given by Strutt, iii. 169, from MS. Karl. 1231, we find the following charges : “Item, to the priests at his ennelling,' 98.; to poor folke in almys, £1 58. ; 22 days to 6 poor folke, 28. ; 26 days to a poor folke, 8d.” Hutchinson, in his History of Cumberland, i. 579, speaking of Eskdale chapelry, says: “Wakes and doles are customary; and weddings, christenings, and funerals are always attended by the neighbours, sometimes to the amount of a hundred people. The popular diversions are hunting and cock-fighting.” Nichols, in his History of Leicestershire, ii. part i. p. 357, speaking of Stathern in Framland hundred, says: “In 1790 there were 432 inhabitants, the number taken by the last person who carried about bread, which was given for dole at a funeral; a custom formerly common throughout this part of England, though now fallen much into disuse. The practice was sometimes to bequeath it by will; but, whether so specified or not, the ceremony was seldom omitted. On such occasions a small loaf was sent to every person, without any distinction of age or circumstances, and not to receive it was a mark of particular disrespect.”2
Pennant, in his History of Whiteford Parish, p. 99, says: “Offerings at funerals are kept up here, and, I believe, in all
Anointing with holy oil. See Halliwell's Dict., p. 61. ? Mr. Lysons, in his Environs of London, iii. 311, speaking of some .ands said to have been given by two maiden gentlewomen to the parish of Paddington, for the purpose of distributing bread, cheese, and beer among the inhabitants on the Sunday before Christmas-day, tells us that they are now let at £21 per annum, and that “the bread was formerly thrown from the church-steeple to be scrambled for, and part of it is still distributed in that way.”