Tag Archives: Scottish funeral

The Way We Were

  • It used to be the norm to have funeral services in the home of the deceased, prior to going to the cemetery.
    I was ordained in 1974 and worked in a rural Parish in Perthshire, centred on a reasonably sized village.
    A service would be conducted in the sitting room while the undertakers brought the coffin down from an upstairs bedroom to the hearse. Most often the “menfolk” would be in the kitchen when I arrived, knocking back nips regardless of how early it was. Everybody would then cram into the living room and I would stand in front of a blazing fire (which was lit for the occasion both summer and winter) with the back of my trousers singeing. We tried not to listen to the coffin bumping on the banisters on the stairway nor the sometimes desperate whispers of the funeral directors as they tried to manoeuvre the deceased round a curve in the stair. 
  •  The shops in the High Street would close and houses would have their curtains closed along the route of the cortège to the cemetery, where, most often, only the men would attend – leaving the ladies to prepare the “funeral tea” back at the family’s home.
    People would stop in the street.  Men and boys would raise their hats or caps in respect. Cars and other vehicles would give way to the funeral procession.
    This wasn’t all that long ago – and, now…. how times have changed amidst the hustle and bustle of contemporary life, where the dead are are seldom honoured as they used to be; and people selfishly ignore the sensibilities of the bereaved.
    Sic gloria transit mundi

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic