1919.53.1

Paper wrapper used to contain biscuits distributed as part of a funeral ceremony. (In frame with detailed label.) [JC 9 10 2002]

Place details: EUROPE. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland / England Cleveland. Cultural Group: European, British, English: Local Name: avril / arvil / arval Materials: Paper Plant / ?. Processes: ?. Dimensions: H [frame] = 215 mm W [frame] = 165 mm D [frame] = 3 mm Maker: T. Robinson, Surgeon, Settle? Field Collector: Unknown When Collected: By 1919 Other Owners: T.G. Barnett probably Thomas George Barnett. Possibly owned by Edwin Sidney Hartland PRM Source: T.G. Barnett probably Thomas George Barnett Acquired: Donated November 1919

KEYWORD: Paper / Funeral Accessory / Food Accessory / CLASS: Religion / Death / Food and Drink / ?.

Research notes: At the meeting of the OU Anthropological Society on 1 November 1917 E.S. Hartland read a paper on ''Avril bread'. The speaker took as his text a paper envelope which had contained a funeral biscuit. This and similar envelopes had been distributed at the funeral of Mrs Oliver who had died on November 7th 1828. Mr Hartland brought forward evidence to show that these funeral feasts were probably relics of a very ancient custom in various parts of the world of eating the flesh of the dead kinsman. A discussion followed in which the President, Dr Marett, Miss Freire-Marreco and Mr Dixon took part [AP 22/02/2006]

The reference to Hartland in the Accession Book Entry is to 'Avril-Bread', by E. Sidney Hartland, in Folk-Lore, Vol. XXVIII, no. 3 (September 1917), pp. 305-10. Hartland gives a detailed account of either this actual object, or another example of the self-same wrapper, and of the custom in general. Note, however, that he mistranscribes the second line of the poem printed on the wrapper as 'And humbly bow to thee', when it actually reads 'And humbly own to thee'. Copy in RDF. [JC 9 10 2002] Note that he also implies that the biscuit was in his possession, therefore he may at some point have owned this object before it went to Barnett and then to us [AP 20/8/2007]

See biographies for further information about Barnett [AP 05/12/2006]