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No Bell

"No Bell"
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Summer 2000 and Revised: 4 May 2004

We found an interesting item, captioned "No Bell" on LANARK-L@rootsweb.com and thought our readers would find it interesting. We reproduce the question, and answer, as written.

    "...whilst looking through the mort-cloth entries in the old OPR's, I noticed that some entries have "no bell" written beside them. What does that mean??

    "My guess is that it was a request that the person's death not be broadcast to everyone in town. In earlier times when a person died, a public crier would go through town ringing a bell and calling out an announcement of the death.

    "There may have been a variety of reasons for not wanting the death announced publicly. One possible reason may have been financial. It seems that it was customary for the family of the deceased to provide rounds of alcoholic beverages for anyone who showed up at the funeral which, with the public announcement, could draw many people."

For more interesting information about Scotland and burial practices, see Lennox Lookups and Funeral Customs and Societies.

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