St Mary Bourne Revisited


Extracts from Life in a Hampshire village (notes from past and present)


Kathleen. E. Innes Published 1944. Hampshire Records Office.No.H914.2273

In the days of more elaborate funerals, it was convention to have the coffin covered by a heavy, black, velvet and white silk fringed pall, the coffin was carried by four men, and those who could afford it provided each of the bearers with a crepe band to wear on their beaver hats, and with black gloves. At the funeral the band was worn with its tails hanging down behind, but the following Sunday the bearers were expected to go to church with the tails tied in a bow at the back of the hat. The pall was voluminous and went right over the bearers as well as coffin. The two front ones turned it up over their hats to see the way, but those behind had to follow blindly. (Kathleen Innes)

Before a Bier (cart) was available, when the funeral of poorer folk were carried the long journey from hamlets required six bearers, so that two might rest in turn, field paths were used if shorter than the road, and it was a condition attached to one of the rights of way through a copse, that the path must be kept at least a yard wide for a funeral procession to pass easily. Traditionally a corpse was kept in the house for one week before burial, regardless to the time of year. (Kathleen Innes)

While fragments of village history may be remembered at the Inn, the church embodies its whole history and that of every inhabitant through the centuries. Almost from time immemorial the birth of every baby was registered at his christening in the massive black font in the church, if he stayed in the village he was married there, and through its South door his mortal frame was borne to return in the churchyard to the dust whence it came. (Kathleen Innes)