CHURCH ROAD TRADITIONS



Reference to a Church Roads in southwest Wales has been noted by MICHAEL HOWARD (editor, The Cauldron), in The Treasury of Folklore, No.26 - Lore and Legend of Pembrokeshire, (Folklore Academy, Isle of Man, 1954?):

"It was formerly considered that a certain funeral or church road be taken by all funeral processesions. This 'road" might lead through fields, woods or out-of-the-way places but it did not matter, it was undeviatingly followed.

"'Messages were sent', we are informed on good authority, the previous day to owners of fields, etc., through which this old road or pathway led with instructions to open stone gaps (sic) and get the road cleared. It often happened that the old road led through a field of standing corn but the people insisted on following it that way and trampling the corn in preference to going over a new road or highway which possibly ran within a few hundred yards. At the head of the procession walked a woman bearing a basketful of evergreens - box and bay sprigs - which she dropped on the road at intervals, reserving a few sprigs for the grave."

Howard also recalls that when he was living on the south Pembrokeshire coast, he saw a pile of megalithic stones in a field which local people told him was "once used as a resting place for the coffin on the way to funerals', even though the lane past the field went in the opposite direction to the church.

Archives