Ivor Nöel Hume writes about three flat sided coffins with peaked or A-shaped lids found during
his archeological survey of Martins Hundred.1 Dr. Norman
Barka,2 later found remnants of two
coffined burials and evidence of their A-shaped lids at the Flowerdew Hundred, Virginia archeological survey.
Mr. Hume also notes an 1651 engraving of English gravediggers and coffins with A-shaped lids (below).
Mr. Hume credits a late eighteenth folklore enthusiast, John Brand, with the answer to the question about
Brands.3 notes titled Pall and Under
Bearers describe how, in the seventeenth century, each English
parish possessed three of four mortuary cloths of differing materials and qualities, to be rented by mourning
families to cover
the coffin on the way to the grave.
We easily see (below) how the display of the mortuary cloth was enhanced by an A-shaped coffin.
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1. Hume, Ivor Nöel, Martins Hundred,
Alfred A. Knopf, 1979-1982, pp. 37-38
2. Ibid, p. 76.
3. Ibid, p. 78.
Page © 2002 Fred Smoot