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Sunflowerrei
04-29-2014, 09:44 AM
Hey guys. I'm writing a few scenes in my WIP involving the MC's dead wife's funeral. We have the crepe outside the front door, black armbands, black mourning clothes. But I'm wondering if their young children would have been present at the funeral. This is in Barbados in 1799, so still an English colony at the time. Sources seem to vary. It looks like women didn't attend funerals, so I'm guessing children didn't either, but I'm not sure.

ULTRAGOTHA
04-29-2014, 04:46 PM
Look up the Regency Redingote blog. She has several articles on funeral and wake practices in Britain.

Bolero
04-29-2014, 04:59 PM
General knowledge answer - they weren't burying 6 feet deep at that time, so grave yards tended to be health hazards. Extrapolating - if kids not at funerals then that could have been the reason as much as social reasons.

ULTRAGOTHA
04-29-2014, 07:43 PM
I don’t know about in the Colonies, but one of the reasons women customarily didn’t go to funerals in late Georgian Britain is that funeral processions were often attacked by ruffians (since they were often after dark). This is according to what I read on the Regency Redingote blog. By that reasoning I doubt children were included either.

Some women did go to some funerals so it wasn’t a universal custom. I presume some older children did also go to some funerals.

If the women didn’t go to the funeral, younger children would very probably not have gone either as the younger children were cared for by the women and not by the men. Boys who’d been breeched theoretically had made a transition from exclusively being under the care of women to coming at least partly under the care of men, so a breeched boy might go. Breeching ceremonies happened at different ages in different families.

There are fashion plates showing mourning clothes on very young children (of an age when boys were still in dresses).

Sunflowerrei
04-29-2014, 09:12 PM
I know children wore mourning clothes like adults did and children then were certainly more familiar with death than kids are now--what with mothers dying in childbirth and such. It's not necessarily important that the kids are at the funeral/burial because it's not a very long scene, but I'd still like to know if it was done.

Thanks for the note about Regency Redignote, Ultragotha. Interesting stuff, but it seems to focus on upper class Anglican women, which isn't quite what where my characters sit on the social scale. Guess I'll continue to dig a bit.

melindamusil
04-29-2014, 09:48 PM
General knowledge answer - they weren't burying 6 feet deep at that time, so grave yards tended to be health hazards. Extrapolating - if kids not at funerals then that could have been the reason as much as social reasons.

Umm... yes they were. The 6-foot depth is generally dated to the plague in London, 1665 (http://mentalfloss.com/article/31633/how-did-6-feet-become-standard-grave-depth).

Admittedly there were/are exceptions - for example, in New Orleans, the water table is so high that a 6-foot hole would fill with water, so they don't bury as deep there. I do NOT know what depth they use/used in Barbados.