Friday, November 09, 2012

Question from Caitlin - Burial and mourning customs

Trying to research for a novel set in the late Medieval - early Tudor period. The Duke has died shortly after announcing the engagement of his grandson (then earl, now marquis). I am trying to make sure I get all the details about burial and mourning correct.

First libations are said, then there is a wake, then burial in the church. Black was the color of mourning. Is there a mourning period where celebrations such as a wedding would be put on hold or is that only for a widow to ensure she isn't pregnant. Any other details about how the household would be run or "decorated" (i.e. cloth on mirrors such as in Judaism)?


Related thread linked below. - Lara


PhD Historian said...

Since your query has gone unanswered, Caitlin, I'm going to give it a go.

First, I am wondering why your duke's seemingly quite young grandson is an earl? How did he come by an earldom so early in life? The grandson of a duke is not automatically an earl, even in the courtesy title system. He would be simply "Lord".

Similarly, the son of a duke is not automatically a marquis. The title "Marquis" was very rare in the medieval and early Tudor period. There were only two: that of Dorset (the Greys of Bradgate) and that of Pembroke (Anne Boleyn), both of which were suo jure (in their own right) titles. I am not aware of any duke's son who was styled "Marquis" as a courtesy title in the Tudor era. Most duke's sons were "courtesy" Earls in that period.

For specifics on mourning customs in the Tudor era, I strongly recommend David Cressy's "Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion and the Life-Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England". It is an excellent and very comprehensive book, and is available in most university libraries (and perhaps on Amazon).

Anonymous said...

Small correction, there was also Sir William Parr who was created 1st Marquess or "Marquis" of Northampton.