Tytherington Parish Bier




A bier is a stand on which a corpse, coffin or casket containing a corpse is placed to lie in state or to be carried to the grave in a Christian burial

At our last meeting when the proposed Thornbury Museum was being discussed Ted Oakey mentioned that perhaps it would be a suitable place to keep the Parish bier. Mrs. Ferguson asked me what the bier is and after the meeting it occurred to me that if I wasn't Clerk to the Parish Council I wouldn't have known that it existed either. So for the record I have set down the information I have been able to gather to-date.
At a Parish Council meeting held in April 1897 it was resolved to call a Public Meeting to consider what steps should be taken to commemorate the sixtieth year of Her Majesty's reign. The Minute Books do not contain any further reference to this decision but presumably a meeting was held resulting in the purchase of a hand bier as at the Annual Parish Meeting in 1911 'Some discussion ensued respecting the parish hand bier - which bears the following inscription The Parishioners and friends of Tytherington have given this Funeral Hand Bier in remembrance of the Diamond Jubilee of our good Queen Victoria June 20th 1897.' It was agreed at this meeting that in future three shillings would be charged for the use of the bier to go towards its upkeep and the Clerk to the Parish Council would act as Treasurer.
In 1926 the Parish Meeting resolved that the Parish Council take over and keep the hand bier in repair. At the next meeting the Council it was agreed to take over the bier and to charge anyone that requires its use residing outside the parish a fee of three shillings and to have rubber tyres affixed. The bier was subsequently re-tyred by W. Eyles and Son at a cost of 5 19s. 6d.
The next reference to the bier is in 1948 when the Council resolved to raise the fee for delivery to 2s. 6d, which is rather odd as the fee had been 3s. before.
In 1964 Wilf Humphries carried out necessary repairs to the bier and it is at present stored in the Church shed.
There is only one receipt of 3s. entered in the Accounts Books and that was in 1935.
Sources: Parish Council Minutes, Parish Meeting Minutes, Accounts Book.
Ted Oakey has told me that the wooden wheels were rimmed with iron' bands before the solid rubber tyres were fitted and that the bier was last used in 1961.
Source: Verbal - Ted Oakey

Mary Morgan - 12.11.1987

.  The bier fell into disuse and disrepair and the photos below show the plaque which was attached to the bier, now to be found in Thornbury & District Museum.