Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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How Funerals were reported

Victorian funeral

Over the years the way funerals are reported has continuously changed. In high Victorian times the coffin was described in great detail – what it was draped with, the type of wood it was made of, what its fittings and furniture entailed, the plate and its inscription and how the grave was often lined with flowers and greenery.

Depending on the wealth and importance of the deceased, the family or chief mourners were listed, giving details of their relationships. This was followed by a further list of “Amongst others present were…” Many of those attending were representing other people or clubs, businesses and institutions. Those unable to be present and why, were also sometimes mentioned. To finish there was often a list of those who had sent floral tributes or tokens.

One interesting report is on the late Mrs Fletcher Moor who died at Ryde in 1898:

“In the church were many friends, mostly in deep mourning. From the church to the Cemetery the open hearse and carriages, preceded by the Vicar, were accompanied by members of the All Saints’ Mothers’ Meeting, carrying a handsome wreath. The coffin was embosomed in most beautiful wreaths. The committal part of the service read, the Vicar led the favourite hymn of the departed, “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds,” which was solemnly sung by the weeping assembly, who so well knew the faith of the one resting before them. The wreaths were very beautiful, all bearing suitable and sympathetic mottoes. That from Lady Arthur Cumming spoke of an unbroken friendship of 55 years. The coffin was of polished elm, with gilt ornaments, and bore the inscription “Ann Jane MOOR, fell asleep October 21, 1898, aged 69 years.”

Another particularly interesting report on Miss Helen Cosserat “an aged lady who lived at Monkton Street, Ryde,” who died on Whit Monday 1913, doesn’t just describe the floral tokens as beautiful but adds the type of floral arrangements sent – wreaths, crosses, chaplets and sprays.

Sources: Isle of Wight County Press Saturday 29 October 1898 & Isle of Wight Observer Saturday 24 May 1913
Funeral image from Wikimedia