View Full Version : Funeral Pace

19th Dec 2006, 19:44
I know that this is an Emotive subject [I've buried my Dad, Brother, Mother, ex Mother in Law and after a divorce, helped with ex Father in Law]. My question is "Why does the Cortege travel so slowly?"
I understand the Respect shown as you leave the Deceaseds' Home and the arrival at the Cemetary/Crematorium, but WHY do they travel at such a slow pace in todays traffic conditions. I've even seen a Cortege doing 20mph on the Motorway. Sensible thoughts welcomed.

Mods if this is TOO sensitive a subject, please remove

19th Dec 2006, 20:20
What 'help' did the ex Father-in-Law need? To die?

19th Dec 2006, 20:41
From:- http://www.carnells.com/articles_details.php?id=3 it is possible that the reduced speed may be to allow 'followers' to keep touch with the main procession without having to break speed limits.
Several other 'excuses' spring to mind, but these are merely conveniences to suit modern conditions (such as keeping the time-schedule at a busy crematorium).

In years gone by when ALL hearses (and funeral cars) were Rolls Royces (and built as such from new) these magnificent machines rarely achieved their potential, though I HAVE been a passenger (in a support car, NOT the goods-waggon) that was opened-out on the return trip (in complete silky-smooth silence of course).
There was a local scrap yard that recycled pre War RR hearses by converting them into capacious 'estate cars' (I believe they were called 'shooting breaks' in them thar days).

19th Dec 2006, 21:36
As one who has been to his share of funerals (often dressed in 4th Century court garb) my experience is that the cortege will go at walking pace at either end of the journey, but at normal traffic pace otherwise. I've never been in one doing 20 on a motorway.

However, the driver of the hearse will know the time of the slot at the crem/cem, and if they're very early, will slow down accordingly.

Some crematoria etc don't have enough parking spaces, so early arrival can cause chaos, which is not desirable in these circumstances. If they planned it right (and they usually know exactly how long it takes) that shouldn't be necessary.

19th Dec 2006, 21:52
Sorry Rainboe, I "really" meant that I helped the "ex" to put him to rest.
Thank you for pointing out my mistake

Buster Hyman
19th Dec 2006, 22:43
Got caught at a set of traffic lights during a funeral procession in Adelaide once...(No, that isn't the funny bit)...anyway, did my utmost to catch up & thinking it would be in the left lane, I figured I would eventually catch the slower moving cars.

As it turns out, they were in the middle lane which I noticed as I passed the hearse! So, I slammed on the anchors, indicated & cut off the family's car following behind! Got a good parking spot at the cemetary too!

(PS. The family did indicate for me to move in front of them...I'm not a complete cad...yet)

19th Dec 2006, 22:59
I once followed a "Cortege" down Princes Parkway [Main route from Manch to airport] Car in front of me doing 10mph with "hazard lights", blasted past, and behold, a car 50 yards IN FRONT of the Cortege with HIS hazards on...
It was a DIY Moss Side job.....:{ [as informed later by a local copper]

tony draper
19th Dec 2006, 23:04
Probably stems from the time our ancesters had to stand the Wake then slowly walk the Lyke(corpse) three times round the standing stones,before we took to this middle eastern stuff of course.

19th Dec 2006, 23:17
I'd quite like to see the hearse arrive at the crem. at about 60mph with gravel flying in all directions. As it brakes violently by the front
doors the coffin shoots straight down the aisle of the chapel and through
the curtains at the rear accompanied by a speeded up rendition of
'Morning has broken!'

Then it's all back for a swift ham sandwich and glass of pale sherry and off home! ;)

19th Dec 2006, 23:29
I'd quite like to see the hearse arrive at the crem. at about 60mph with gravel flying in all directions...

Can I come and watch?

There is a slight problem - but you'll have worked that out.

tony draper
19th Dec 2006, 23:40
Once saw a brand new hearse smacked midship by a Voltswaggon,we stopped to lend a hand, nobody hurt fortunately,the hearse had no customer aboard as the broken hearted hearse driver had just picked it up from the place new hearses come from, came to the conclusion from comparing the damage to both that yer Voltswaggon was a lot tougher than yer hearse.

Buster Hyman
19th Dec 2006, 23:49
Voltswaggon was a lot tougher than yer hearse
Probably because there's still a chance to save the passengers in the Volks....:uhoh:

20th Dec 2006, 00:26
yer Voltswaggon was a lot tougher than yer hearse.
Probably because hearses are built using the same 'cut-and-shut' principles that are used for those horrendous stretched limos which will fall apart as soon as they are struck by a proper vehicle which has to withstand a crash-test before it's allowed to be sold to Joe Public. If it was a Beetle, then they really WERE tough and solid. Made from real steel they were and fitted with a real CHASSIS (albeit a pressed floorpan) and capable of being driven around without the upper body. Think nut-shell and you won't be far wrong.

20th Dec 2006, 01:03
I've actually walked......"The Lyke Wake Walk".....Before the So 'n So's charged you for actually Doing It :mad:
Yuletide Felicitations

20th Dec 2006, 01:27
Aye, but you werr'nt cartin' a coffin along it, were ye wiccan?

It'd be a damn long way to haul a corpse, I'm thinkin'...

...though there's a few good pubs alang tha way.

On a more serious note, in t'auld days, folk saved up their whole lives for a proper send off - which meant an oak coffin and a horse drawn hearse. Only the gentry would run to having carriages for the cortege, ordinary folk would walk along behind the hearse to the church - which wouldn't be far away in t'auld days.

So it became tradition for the hearse to proceed at walking pace. A slow walking pace, as the bereaved would more often than not be elderly or frail.

When I was young we still followed hearses on foot to St Michael's & All Angels, which was only a quarter of a mile down the road. Gran, who passed away in 1991, paid for her coffin through a standard 'tuppence a week' (twenty-five new pence by 1991 - that's inflation for you...) funeral insurance with the Co-op. She was 97 when she went and by then the policy bought her a nice solid oak job, satin lined with solid brass handles. She'd have been right chuffed with it if she'd seen it, Bless her.

Loose rivets
20th Dec 2006, 02:42
First, about Rolls hearses. There were three very fine ones for sale at an old bus workshop a few miles East of Colchester. Must have been about 1956-7 They ran well and looked perfect --- they were £60 each. If only....etc..

When our neighbor left his house for the last time, there were all my old school chums walking in front of the cortege, wearing the shiny (pressed a thousand time shiny) suits, top hats and serious faces. I know what they look like when they're pissed you see.

Our man had the full works: big glass sided hearse with black feathers sticking up on the corners. (No horses to put them on, see.) The widow walked up front.

The Rivetess, still rather young, took one look at this apparition and said, "Ooo er, I'm going in." Which was a pity, cos we were the only people in our very quiet road that were out and about. I called to my mum.

" Your old boss is being carted off...want to see?"
"No thanks."

And that was it really. So, what was it all for? Well in my opinion, absolutely nothing. But of course it's about the rellies really.

I will not go to funerals unless I simply have to, but that's not to say that other people's feelings should not be considered...it's just that I don't want them to ask me to be part of the pantomime.

Yes, I have very good reason to be spitting nails about funerals...but I won't share cos I don't want to depress you good folk...or demolish a bottle of gin tonight.

Buster Hyman
20th Dec 2006, 04:45
...Besides, you'd have to be stiff to be at the front of a funeral procession!


cessna l plate
20th Dec 2006, 08:04
The thing is, the low speed isn't always the case.
My Aunties funeral in the 80's was something of an eye opener. They left Buxton, but it took the buggers longer to get there from Stockport than they thought, and we were heading for Stockport Crem (About 30 miles away). On leaving Buxton we had 20 mins to our "appointment". The hearse driver must have trained with a Ford GT40 as we arrived with time to spare, gong through the quiet village of Chapel en le frith at over 70mph, with prossession in tow. My Dad who can be described as a speed nutter at times couldn't keep up.

The funny thing is there were the usual moans about the "disrespectful" speed, but she would have loved it!!

tony draper
20th Dec 2006, 08:33
I recal a time everybody outside out on foot would stop walking and stand still as a hearse went past and all the chaps would remove their caps in respect.
Unusually twer a very nice looking young lady undertaker that dealt with Old Uncle Hughs send off,she even turned up with the hearse wearing a very fetching female black tie and tails outfit,had a bit chat to her afterwards,twas a family biz and she was taking over from her old dad.
Have to say this was the first time one had fancied a undertaker.

20th Dec 2006, 08:41
I've actually walked......"The Lyke Wake Walk".....Before the So 'n So's charged you for actually Doing ItI'm also a Lyke Waker from many years ago. But you mean to say you now have to pay to do it???? :uhoh: :mad: :{ :sad: :mad:

20th Dec 2006, 10:16
Had to explain to a policeman at my Dad's funeral that I was just trying to keep up with the hearse. Luckily he knew the old man and sent me on my way.

Slight thread drift. Used to own a hearse when I was in the army. Great motor, I could get all my kit in it when on posting and goth girls went crazy for it! That shiny area of wood for the box to rest on had several uses other than the original intention!

What many people don't realise is that there is space for another box under the one on show. When the undertakers are busy they often have two stiffs on board and do a rapid change between one job and the next.

20th Dec 2006, 11:13
Whilst undertakers were doing the 'swift swap' of the boxes, they laid down the first one, but it slid down the street as they were parked at the top of a steep hill at the time. Halfway down the hill the errant container struck a lamp-post and split open, tipping the occupant onto the footway, whilst the box continued to slide further down the street. The noise aroused the attention of the chemist, outside whose shop the lamp-post was located. He rushed out and addressed the bloke lying on the ground "Can I help you?" and received the reply . . .

"Can you get me something to stop my coffin?"

20th Dec 2006, 11:48
Close by my office there’s a pleasant spot, in between a lake and an old abbey, which is popular with van men and the like as somewhere to park up at lunchtime and have a sandwich and a can of Coke.

I was surprised one day to see a hearse down there with the fully-costumed undertakers having their break. I was even more surprised to see that the hearse was ‘loaded’.

They weren’t in a hurry, obviously.

tony draper
20th Dec 2006, 12:23
Had a aquaintence once, well more of person one gives a brief nod to if one enters a pub and he is seated therein,didn't really know, him but it struck me he always looked rather glum and invariable wore a black tie, anyway I knew his sister rather better, in fact one knew all three of his sisters rather better,sitting in the pub one day with one of the aforementioned sisters, one opines to her that her brother always looked like he has just come from a funeral,and she says to me "funny you should say that" and tells me this tale.
He like most of us eventually has to attend a family funeral,first one he has ever been too and he is does so with reluctance as most of us do, then again shortly thereafter another family funeral, and he shows more willingness this time,suddenly he seems to be attending at least one funeral a month,he starts attending funerals of more distant relatives,and he's upped his funeral attendence to two a month, then he starts pays his respects to any aquaintence, even just nodding ones,and its one a week, then anybody he even vaugely knew,and its at least two funerals a week, eventually she says he hangs about at the Crem gates and goes to the funeral of even complete strangers, just about every day sometimes twice a day, he apparently become a funeral junky,either that or he had become addicted to ham and peas pud sarnies and small glasses of Sherry.
The jist of the above tale is quite true,one has of course embelished it in parts, and changed names to protect the innocent,and the chap himself did die himself comparetively young, but as one stated,he was nought but a nodding aquintence, so one did not attend his funeral,besides one was trying to avoid all three of his sisters by that time.
:uhoh: :rolleyes:

20th Dec 2006, 12:48
Years ago I was stopped at the lights at a busy Chicago junction. The lights turned green and no-one moved - the traffic continued across on red. Every car had a green flag flying out of the driver's window. Turns out that's what they do in Chicago.:ok:

The funeral director gives the whole procession a flag apiece and off they go. I expect you need a hearse in the lead for them to work.

20th Dec 2006, 13:15
We would still walk behind the hearse here and queue up to the carry, which can be a bit of a farce. Right what height are you, what height are, you go with him, you go with him. Right lift. Unfortunately it was my Uncle and he was massive, we could barely carry him. 15 yards, right put him in the car.

A friend of the family who was serving in the police was killed in a bomb attack. Well sad, it happens.
Follow the hearse to the cemetry, and the gates have been booby trapped.
They know it's a police funeral, death notices and stuff.
It's already blown up and injured two guys doing security.
Friend sitting next to me says 'what are they trying to blow him up for, he's already dead'
'Are you a complete moron, that was to be for us, [email protected]@@ sake, waken up.'
Trying to get a hearse and about 30 cars into the cemetary through these bloody gates, and then we couldn't find the plot. Which would have been difficult because he was getting cremated. It all went very well.
Fos they also broke his headstone later

20th Dec 2006, 13:18
My Mum went 80mph round the Oxford ring road on the way to the Crem at hers, she would have enjoyed that.

(we were a tad late due to the vicar waffling on a bit)

20th Dec 2006, 13:23
Thats some serious speed on th Oxford Ring road in any vehicle. I'm just glad to be moving on that road these days:ugh:

Anyone remember the funeral scene at the start of Live and Let Die. "Thats one hell of a send off."

20th Dec 2006, 15:04
I've even seen a Cortege doing 20mph on the Motorway.

Illegal, innit? Prolly what our friends left of the pond would call a nearly-not-moving violation.

20th Dec 2006, 15:31
When I was a tiny wee nipper my grandad had given up farming as the land had been taken for "homes for heroes" and he had let the farm buildings out for a variety of uses, one being to Walter Iddles the local funeral and wedding car operator.

Walter operated a fleet of Rolls Royce 20/25s probably of 1930's vintage and these lived in what had been the shippon where the cows were once milked.

There were always a couple around under maintenance and as a lad whenever there was a trip to the chip shop - still there at the bottom of Bosden Fold Road, I would be along for the ride - It was less than half a mile - probably just over on the round trip - but it was a motor car - and a classy one at that! I mean - who else went for their chips in a Roller?

I suppose this has nothing whatsoever with my growing up to be an "old transport" nutter - rather than an old "transport nutter" :hmm:

20th Dec 2006, 16:10
A mate of mine was forever late bless him, notorious for it in fact.

We used to joke that he'd be late for his own funeral..... and true to form, he was! :D


Ace Rimmer
20th Dec 2006, 16:37
Mrs R is under strict instructions that if I peg out first that she is to ensure that I get cremated and brought into the service the strains of the Steppenwolf classic "born to be wild" and inevitably make my exit through the curtains to none other than the Doors "come baby light my fire"...wonder how long it will take the first bod to recognise it from the keyboard intro bit....

20th Dec 2006, 16:55
For the last couple of funerals I have been to in the village here we have resurrected (possibly a bad choice of word there) the old tradition of the procession walking after the hearse.

First time it happened was at the suggestion widow but it seems to be the norm now. We just meet up in the local pub, the hearse comes by and we process after it - causing traffic chaos in the village (which both the principal parties would have appreciated).

The first time we did it some people had gone straight to the church and were sat thinking what a poor turnout it was - then the other 100+ of us arrived.

Atlas Shrugged
20th Dec 2006, 22:54
"Why does the Cortege travel so slowly?"

What's the hurry? Got somewhere else to go?