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‘Nor wood to bury a man’ – 1823

Funeral in the Maamturk Mountains of Connemara, Ireland. Harper's Weekly June 1870
Funeral in the Maamturk Mountains of Connemara, Ireland.
Harper’s Weekly June 1870
Connaught Journal
Galway, Ireland
May 15, 1823 (abridged)

VESTRY CESS- PARISH COFFINS
We are anxious as any for economy in the concerns of the Parish; and we have so frequently alluded to some matters, in the expenditure of which very important savings may be made.

We made it our business to look over the different items in the levy book; but it never struck us that any saving
could be made in the way of Parish Coffins; and, above all things, we never imagined that the strictest economist or well-wisher of the town could think of doing away altogether with those Parish Coffins for the Poor who are not
able to purchase any.

The new plan for burying the dead Poor is certainly outlandish:-
As soon as one expires, or when it is thought necessary to inter him, a shell, or in other words, a Coffin with a sliding bottom, is sent to his residence. In this new constructed machine he is to be taken to the grave-yard, and there dropped from out of it into the grave.

This, no doubt, may appear very economical; but we may safely assert, that the inhabitants of this town, in general, had rather even increase this impost than to see those poor people hurried into the gound like animals of the brute creation. We are not sticklers for old customs, nor foolish enough to think that it is of any importance where or in what manner the human frame shall be deposited after the vital spark shall have been extinguished; but we do confess, that it is a melancholy reflection for the poor man to think that after having spent his life in honest but unprofitable industry, and paid his town-taxes and vestry-cess regularly, or as well as he was able, his poverty should force him to consign to the grave, after the manner of the brute creation, his relative, whom he esteemed, or his wife, or father, or sons whom he loved, and whose memory he would respect.