What to expect at a 19th century funeral

Yes, I hear you, Amy. You have to go to a 19th century funeral, huh.

Did the maid died from her tuberculosis ?!!  No?? Then who is the funeral for?

The old man who lives just around the corner?
You have to attend his funeral with the family you live with?
And the funeral is in his house? And his body is in his house?

Don't despair. I know this is something you haven't experienced yet in the 19th century, but I can certainly give you a heads up about what it will be like.
First of all, you should wear a back dress when you attend the funeral. Black dye does exist in the mid 1800s, so you may have to dye a dress for the occasion. If the deceased has a wife who is still living, she will be expected to grieve for at least a year -wearing black clothes for that period - and perhaps a black veil, although some believe this is not a necessity. Crepe is a popular material for a mourning dress - the fabric has no sheen and therefore, no life of its own. During this century, there is even special jewelry created for the mourning period, embellishments to add to an all-black attire. The next stage of mourning for this unfortunate fellow's wife will allow other colours of clothing, perhaps grey or soft blue.

During Queen Victoria's reign, it is quite normal for people to pass away in their homes. Even touching the corpse was considered a regular thing to do, whether by adults or children.

In the home itself, it might seem unusual to you, but you may notice that the clocks have been stopped at the moment of death and all the curtains closed. 

Pallbearers will carry the coffin to a waiting horse-drawn carriage. Pallbearers will wear black gloves and hatbands along with a regular dark suit, although previous to 1850 they would have worn black cloaks.
The carriages containing the clergyman and pallbearers will leave the property first. Then will come the pallbearers in a separate carriage, followed closely behind by the carriages of the family. 
Once arrived at the church, the coffin will not be opened. Of course, once you are at the church, you will need to be quiet. Any kind of loud talking, especially laughing, will appear very rude.

After the funeral you will be invited back to the house by the relatives for some refreshments. You will probably be given  biscuits, wrapped in brown paper, to take home with you.

at funeral.jpg

You really shouldn't expect to enjoy yourself, Amy. 

And now you know.