Digging up the Detail – 19th Century burial fees

My current work in progress, The Shackletons of Whitehaven, has a scene where a mother and daughter – Dolly and Becky – discuss the cost of burial in Whitehaven. The customary fee for a four foot grave was a shilling (1/-) because the gravediggers only had to go down four feet. After that it was an extra sixpence (6d) a foot until they reached nine feet. On top of that was the minister’s fee of three shillings and sixpence. So the cheapest burial was 4/6 and the most expensive 7/-. To put this in context a joiner working at a shipbuilders was earning about one shilling and sixpence (1/6) a week.

So how do I know this? From “The State of the Burial Grounds” section of this report.

1849 report to the General Board of Health into the sewerage, drainage and supply of water and sanitary conditoin of the inhabitants of the town of Whitehaven.

How did I come across this? From Michael Moon, Lowther St, Whitehaven. For more years than I can remember I’ve been buying books from The Moons on Lowther St. Antiquarian bookseller and publisher.

Michael Moon’s Stand at the Harrogate PBFA book Fair, March 2022.
With Pete Moon in Harrogate,
March 2022
A small selection of the books I have bought from Michael Moon’s bookshop over the years.

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