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Funeral procession at Soroby graveyard in the 1920s

Photograph of a funeral procession on its way to Soroby graveyard in the 1920s

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Courtesy of Ms Rachel Wylie

Before World War II, coffins were made locally from lengths of sarking. MacArthurs’ shop in Scarinish supplied bundles containing black cloth, white cloth, a stack of embossed lead strips, eight handles and cords, and a black plaque, which were taken to the coffin-makers to complete the job.

On the day of the funeral, the mourners would gather outside the house where the coffin would be placed on two dining room chairs. After a short service the procession, traditionally composed only of men, would set off for the graveyard.

The coffin was carried on a bier by relays of men. They were accompanied by a basket containing cheese, oatcakes and whiskey to refresh the mourners on their journey which could be several miles long.

Laser print of a black and white photograph of a funeral procession on its way to Soroby in the 1920s.

Funeral procession on its way to Sorobaidh graveyard. (From Myra Lamont’s photograph album of the 1920s.)

Object Details

Other Number: P62

Funeral procession on its way to Soroby Cemetery, Balemartine, in the 1920s

There are two graveyards on Tiree, one at Balemartine and one at Kirkapol. Generally speaking, folk that lived at the west end of the island were buried at Balemartine, while those that lived at the east end were buried at Kirkapol. Almost everyone would turn out for a funeral, regardless of weather conditions, some walking great distances to attend. The coffin was carried from the deceased house to the graveyard, and, if this was some distance, stops would be made along the way for resting and refreshments.
Normal Location: Photograph Shelves: photographs – P1-99
Current Location: normal location

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