A question about Welsh funeral customs

Helo Pawb!

I have a cultural question. My Welsh mother tells when she was a child (1930’s) women didn’t attend funerals in Wales. Can anyone tell me whether this was a general custom? What its rationale might have bee? And how far back it went?

I can confirm from my personal family history that in the South Wales Eastern Valleys in the 50s and even the early 60s only the men went to the graveside following a funeral service held in chapel or at home attended by both sexes.

I remember a number of trips to the cemetery in black cars where my uncles and senior male relatives would be cracking raucous jokes. It was so surprising to me at the time but I now think it may have been a sort of “gallows” humour designed to soften the grief and - above all - to avoid any display of “unmanly” tears.

Thanks for that Huw. I presume this went back in history? I’m talking early nineteenth century?

It was certainly much the case in 1993. Following my father’s death in a meeting with the undertaker, he said ’ and I assume you will not be going to the graveside’ I spoke up and said ‘you assume wrong we ( my mother, 2 sisters and myself) will be going, we are his family and we loved him’. I am so glad that I broke with that tradition!
Also it was was the tradition to have the funeral service at the house of the deceased with the coffin there. We did that in 1993 and in 1981 at my grandmother’s funeral. At that time the men left for the burial/ cremation, the women, children left at the house.

Slightly different aspect of current customs appears to be the delivery of the coffin to the church the night before the funeral and close family being there to follow coffin into church. For me as an English person living here it isnt like anything id heard of before.

My sister is 86 yrs of age and she still hasn’t attended a funeral. She sticks rigidly to the old ‘Men only’ custom. She didn’t go to her husbands funeral but there was a service in the house, as it used to be, before the preacher and others left for the Chapel. But she was at the hotel afterwards when the mourners came back. Living in England I find people here are shocked when I tell them that but in Wales and I believe Scotland, that was the custom, which still hasn’t completely died out.

Thanks heaps for all this. It’s an interesting custom.