Disgraceful Scene At A Funeral

People have always argued over, what to the World outside can seem minor or even inappropriate things.

Take, for example, the following “row” that occurred at a funeral, and which was reported by The North Briton on Saturday, 21st June, 1873:-


“A most discreditable scene occurred at a funeral in Shaw Road, Oldham, yesterday morning.

It appears that the former temporary tenant of the Queen’s Hotel, Shaw Road – Miss Sarah Clough Whitehead – who about three weeks ago was refused a permanent license by the borough bench, has since that time been low spirited and nervous.

Quite recently she became seriously ill, and on Thursday last a Mr James Ellis, to whom she was betrothed, induced her to leave the hotel, which had passed into the tenancy of one of the trustees of her father’s will, and go to live at his home, in the same road.

On Friday she died.


The usual preparations for the funeral were made yesterday morning by the bereaved lover; but not, it would appear, quite to the satisfaction of the trustees of the property of the deceased’s late father; one thing in particular they objected to, and that was the assumption by Mr Ellis of the place of chief mourner.

Their disapproval of this was so strong that they determined to take means to defeat the putting into execution of any such intention.


The means adopted were these: the funeral procession as a matter of course paused at the hotel, then proceeding from the place where the body lay to St Thomas’ Churchyard, Chadderton, which was known to have been selected as the place of interment.

The procession was to consist of a hearse and two coaches, the first containing the tenant of the house in which the deceased expired.

A third coach then was got ready by the executers of the late Mr Whitehead’s will, and that took its stand opposite the hotel shortly before the time when the procession was expected.

The executors were seated in it.

When the funeral procession had reached the hotel, the driver of the waiting coach motioned to his brother Jehus to stop, and on their doing as he directed, he quietly moved his vehicle forward so as to take up a position immediately after the hearse.


Indescribable  confusion at once ensued, the crowd that had assembled in expectation of a fracas howling and shouting as if they really enjoyed the scene.

Mr Ellis, when he ascertained the cause of the obstruction, descended and advanced with a view to its removal, but on his grasping the reins of the horses of the coach, which had so unceremoniously usurped the leading place, coachee vigorously “switched” him across the face with his whip, and intimated in terms not easily to be misunderstood that it was his intention to serve in the same manner any who would be hardy enough to imitate the example.


The “row” (for it was nothing more respectable) lasted for some considerable time, but at last, by sheer force of persistency, the intruders succeeded in getting the position they had seized on ceded to them, and in it they left the public ken in the neighbourhood.