Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/357

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Hampshire Folklore. 321

the custom at Laverstoke and Lasham, and heard that it still exists in many other places.

Another local custom connected with funerals, though of a very different character, also noted by the historian- rector of Selborne, has not yet died out in one village, and that is the hanging of a paper garland in the church as a memorial for those who died celibate. This, the most interesting burial custom that pertains in Hamp- shire, is, of course, that referred to by Washington Irving in the paper on Rural Funerals in his Sketch Book as " a most delicate and beautiful rite," though the description he gives is not quite an accurate version of the Abbots Ann funeral garlands. I do not know which of the dozen villages or so where the custom still lingered in Irving's day was the one he visited, and there are fewer still to-day where the custom is continued or even remembered. Writing of Selborne church at the end of the previous century, White records that he could " remember when its beams were hung with garlands in honour of young women of the parish, reputed to have died virgins " ; and he could " recollect to have seen the clerk's wife cutting, in white paper, the resemblances of gloves, and ribbons to be twisted into knots and roses, to decorate these memorials of chastity. In the church of Faringdon," he adds, " which is the next parish, many garlands of this sort still remain." ^^

■'^ The Antiquities of Selborne, Letter iii. The custom has died out at Teddington, but there were, I believe, garlands hanging in the church within the last century. At Ashover there is no record of a chaplet later than 1843. Flamborough had chaplets hung in the church in 1761, but the custom died out and was forgotten there. A chaplet in memory of one Ann Kendall, who died in 1745, was still hanging in the church ten years ago. Six were hanging in the church, and are still kept in the vestry, at Matlock Bridge, while some were sold as curiosities. There is said to have been a chaplet hanging within the last hundred years at Trusby, and one at Acton Burnell may yet, I was once told, still exist, though the custom has long died out there. At Ashford- in-the-Water it has also died out, but as late as 1908 there were five garlands hanging in the north aisle. One bore the date April 12, 1747. Two are more than two hundred years old. The last one was hung up over eighty years ago.