I (So Collectanea,
a sweet odour of thyme." I have mentioned a similar belief in my Household Tales and Traditional Remains, p. 63, where it is related that " a smell of thyme may always be perceived near a footpath leading from Dronfield to Stubley, in Derbyshire. It is said that a young man murdered his sweetheart there as she was carrying a bunch of thyme." About two years ago Mrs. George Middleton, of Smalldale, near Bradwell, in Derbyshire, told me that her mother, who lived at Abney in that county, used to dress coffins with flowers. But she would never put thyme on a coffin, for she said that a dead man had " nothing to do with time." Mrs. Middleton further said that her mother was present at all births and laying out of corpses at Abney, not as a part of her duty, but because she liked to be present. It was, however, the custom at Abney to put thyme in a house both before and after a funeral, and also southernwood, otherwise " old man " or " lad's love."
The Oddfellows of Bradwell have a custom which is the exact opposite of the Abney woman's refusal to lay thyme on a coffin. When one of their members dies, the survivors accompany his body to the grave, and each of them carries a sprig of thyme in his hand, which he drops on the coffin.
Scattered all over the moors about Abney and Bradwell are the " lows " or tombs of the ancient dead, and there the wild thyme grows abundantly.
S. O. Addy.