Paying for a funeral

One hundred or more years ago, funerals were locally arranged for local people. Mr Walton, from his department store premises on White Street, High Street and Church Street in Market Lavington was one person who would undertake the task of giving the dead a good burial.

A bill for one of his funerals has recently come to light. What we have is a somewhat elderly black and white photocopy, but it shows the information well enough.

Bill for the funeral of Mrs Ashley of Market Lavington in 1904.

Bill for the funeral of Mrs Ashley of Market Lavington in 1904.

The bill was addressed to the executors of the late Mrs Ashley and the date was March 1st 1904. This, we assume, was Elizabeth Ashley who was buried at St Mary’s, Market Lavington on 24th February 1904, aged 80.

Elizabeth had been born in Market Lavington but for at least thirty years, she and her husband Joseph were Londoners.  They returned to Wiltshire in older age and then we find Elizabeth back home in Market Lavington as a widow.

The grand total price of the funeral, at £2 – 16 – 0 (£2.80) sounds laughable in today’s terms. An awful lot of it seems to be for gloves for various officials. Almost a quarter of the bill is for gloves!

Even a cheap funeral these days comes in at around £1500. That comes out at roughly the same proportion of income as the 1904 figure.

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One Response to “Paying for a funeral”

  1. Joseph Ashley | Market Lavington Museum Says:

    […] We have met people called Joseph Ashley a couple of times before on this blog. Back in January 2016 we looked at a will (click here) of a Joseph who died in 1849. We have also looked at the cost of a funeral of Elizabeth who died in 1904 – the widow of a Joseph Ashley (click here). […]

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