Gentlemen only

Discussion in 'General Family History Queries' started by Brentor boy, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Brentor boy

    Brentor boy Member

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    The announcement of my grandfather's funeral in Devon in 1947 included the request "Gentlemen only". I have only just discovered this and there is no one around now to ask. I can think of no reason.

    Can anyone suggest a possible explanation?
     
  2. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Was he a mason?
     
  3. MollyMay

    MollyMay Knows where to find the answers!

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    Was it in Wales? - it seems to be a custom there for funerals to be men only

    I found this on a BBC Wales site
    upload_2018-7-12_8-2-10.png
     
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  4. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I think you'll find this was something which happened countrywide, women being considered too delicate to handle the trauma of attending a funeral. I suspect that in some communities where 'old-fashioned' values carried on well past the Victorian era, this was still the case up until not that long ago - it would never surprise me if it still wasn't the case in some places.
     
  5. Brentor boy

    Brentor boy Member

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    Sue. That was one of my first thoughts but I have no reason to think he was. Unfortunately after his parents died his son destroyed all their personal papers and documents, which is making research difficult. I have to try and remember conversations with my mother from almost half a century ago. Perhaps I will try and obtain any press report of his funeral.

    Molly May. He lived and worked in Wales 1914/30 (?) but we have no Welsh antecedents.
     
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  6. Philippa

    Philippa Always a lady.

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    Seems it might have been tradition that only men attended the burial. Being a colony we carried on the same traditions and I know that "segregation" applied here. When my grandmother died in Queensland in 1953 the men went to the cemetery and "we women" (I was 12) waited at home in our lounge room for them to return. I don't know if Mum went to the Church beforehand or not, it's all a bit of a collage of memories for me, but I don't think she did.

    When my grandfather died in 1959 things had changed a little because my cousin remembers her mother going to that funeral but she (as a schoolkid) couldn't. Whether my aunt went to the church only or not I have no idea as I was well away from home by then.

    By the time my F-I-L died in 1967 it had completely changed and we all went to (through?) the whole deal.
     
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  7. Steve Bumstead

    Steve Bumstead Well-Known Member

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    I certainly attended family funerals in the 1960s that were "men only" by tradition I assume. I also attended a memorial service in the mid-1970s which was the same by the deceased's wish - rather more unusual I think.
     
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  8. Flook

    Flook A True Gentleman

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    There's an interesting piece on Victorian funerals on the Victorian History website.

    Although expected to mourn, women were generally advised against attending funerals, especially for those nearest and dearest to them. Cassell's Household Guide for 1878 discourages the practice pointing out that it is something done by female relatives in the poorer classes. It may also have been the case that the frequent practice of drinking both before and after the funeral not only by the funeral party, but by the undertaker and his assistants would have been upsetting. An article in Leisure Hour (1862) quotes the secretary of an English burial society that
    'Undertakers' men, . . . usually take whatever drink is given them, and are frequently unfit to perform their duty, and have reeled in carrying the coffin. The men who stand as mutes at the door are supposed to require most drink. I have seen these men reel about the road, and after the burial, we have been obliged to put these mutes and their staves into the interior of the hearse and drive them home, as they were incapapble of walking.'

    http://vichist.blogspot.com/2008/06/victorian-funerals-and-mourning.html
     
  9. Ma-dotcom

    Ma-dotcom A Bonza Little Digger!

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    I remember going with my Mother to the funeral of the son of a neighbour, so I obviously was not of school age. Even was given a handful of dirt to throw onto the coffin.
    Then again it was in rural Australian township. after 1940 & before 1960 ;)

    Also sort of remember feeling odd person out - probably only child there.
     
  10. Brentor boy

    Brentor boy Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their interesting and informative responses. Clearly not as unusual occurrence as I thought.
     
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