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1882: Midnight Cuckfield funeral for infected deceased

Updated: Dec 5, 2021

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 21 March 1882

Midnight Funeral.

—Poor little Clara Ede having succumbed to an infectious disease, was, in accordance with custom, interred between the hours of eleven and twelve on Saturday night.

The Parish sexton and his assistant had the management of the burial. The coffin was wheeled to the grave on a hand dray, kept for that purpose.

Victorian Hand cart c1880

On its arrival at the Churchyard gates it was met by the Vicar, who, with the assistance of a lamp, read that portion of the Burial service, which commences, “I am the Resurrection and the life,” and proceeded towards the grave, where the coffin was lifted from its carriage, and carefully lowered by the grave officials.

The worthy Vicar then completed the service. It was a most beautiful starlight night, and the solemn words uttered by the clergyman could be heard most distinctly at a distance of several yards from the grave. On closing the ceremony the Vicar retired, wishing the grave men “Good night.”

Shortly after the clock struck twelve the sextons had finished their work, and thus ended this melancholy but at the same time interesting—proceeding.

In addition to the grave officials, one solitary spectator alone witnessed the interment.

Note: Clara Ede was just four years old at the time of her death; the 'infection' is not mentioned in the records.


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