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Scottish Genealogy Research News

Category: General
Jun 15, 2015

Unusual Burial's

Hawick Statistical Account 1834-1845


Compiled by the Rev. J A Wallace

Reference citation Use this URL to bookmark or link to Hawick, County of Roxburgh (1834-45):


Use this URL to bookmark or link to page 398, volume 3, Account of 1834-45:



It deserves also to be mentioned, although not peculiar to this parish that during the course of the last century, it was the custom to employ only one coffin at the interment of paupers. This as appears from statements of some of the older inhabitants, was used merely f397or the purpose of conveying them to their final resting place, and was constructed as to be capable by opening of a hinge underneath, by which the body was permitted to escape when lowered into the grave. It is not to be denied that there is something in this mode of interment very much at variance with refinement of modern times. Yet we suspect that the practise, revolting as it now appears, was considered at the time of its introduction as an improvement upon the usages of a former age.


Another practise has long prevailed in this parish, and is still occasionally observed. When any member of a family is considered to be dying, the apartment is not only frequented, as in other places, with relatives and neighbours, but in many cases the whole company unite  in an act of religious worship, selecting for this purpose one of the psalms most suited to the occasion, such as for example, as the xxiii. The xiii or the cxviii, and singing it together with a low and solemn melody, while the soul of the dying person is passing into the world of the spirts, and not only so, but when the mortal struggle is over, it is succeeded by a song of triumph and of praise, consisting not unfrequently of the following verses from the CVii psalm.


The storm as chang’d into a calm

At his command and will;

So that the waves that rag’d before

Now quiet are and still.


Then are they glad because at rest,

And quirt now they be;

So to the haven he then brings

Which they desir’d to see.


O that men to the Lord would give

Praise for his goodness then,

And for his works of wonder done

Unto the sons of men!