Saturday, August 13, 2016

Funerals Neatly Furnished

The average cost of a funeral today is in the region of £3,700 and increasing. When the Swindon Cemetery at Kingshill opened in 1881 a funeral could cost a pretty penny back then too.

On Monday, August 8, 1881 the North Wilts Herald published a break down of funeral costs, by the order of the Burial Board.

For a Vault in perpetuity, to contain four corpses abreast, not exceeding 9ft deep the cost was £4 4s about £380 today.

If more than 9ft deep you had to pay an additional £1 1s (£95 today) per foot and if you wanted to choose a selected position in the cemetery, well that would be another £1 1s.

Permission to erect a headstone cost another £2 2s (£190 today) while even an entry in the burial registers cost half a crown (£11)

Then there were the charges for the Sexton's labour, which could cost anything from 3s (£13 today) for digging and filling in a common grave for any resident, his wife, or child to £2 2s (£190 today) for digging, excavating and levelling ground over a vault for two corpses, 9ft deep, and attending burial. And if you wanted him to toll the Chapel bell that would be 1s (about a fiver today) and for every one hour period beyond that, another 1s.

The costs are mounting up, and this is without a headstone, where even the inscriptions and plans for any such memorial had to go before the Burial Board for approval.

And if you didn't live in Swindon all the fees were doubled.

This list of fees was signed by James Copleston Townsend, Clerk to the Burial Board with an invitation that any objection to the above mentioned Board Fees were to be communicated to him at 42 Cricklade Street, Swindon, on or before Saturday, the 20th August.

Come and join us on a guided walk at Radnor Street Cemetery this Sunday, August 14. Meet at the chapel 2pm.

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