Im living near Rhydamman and I’m interested in hearing if anybody has any local knowledge of the funeral tradition of Sin Eating that lingered in Wales longer than in England. In Gwaun cae Gurwen by me, i know that there was a sin eater active in 1920’s who attended the coffin of the deceased. After eating the bread and salt from the coffin, he was chased away by the mourners. Apparently it was a a secretive affair because the chapels disapproved but remained as a welcome part of the ritual around death.
id love to hear any information ,
I’ve heard of it, but not about it actually happening on Gower, I strongly suspect that, if asked, folk would declare,“We never did nasty pagan things like that here!” I actually suspect that would be the reaction in most areas! It’s a bit like wrecking. Smuggling may have been a teeny bit illegal, but, well, everyone did it! Wrecking was nasty bad and killed people so, “Of course it went on, dear, but not in our area!” (It was always ‘them over there’ that did such things!
Thanks…where have you heard of it ?
Sorry, just generally in the past there were sin eaters ,- in England as well as Wales, I think. History was always my hobby, so I read a lot and came across snippets like that, but was not interested enough in that one to delve into them.
Edit: looking on.ine, I found mention of Scotland, where I live now, but have heard nothing locally Howver, also mention in the Marches where my dad used to live, and I may, years back, have read about sin eaters there!
Why are you interested @bellselkie?
ps north Herefordshire/Shropshire seems to have been the place where they lingered longest!
Reminds me of my Grandma and dancing. I learned a few clog steps from her. But, of course, Southern Baptist Church people didn’t dance…so if you asked her, she would have said “No! I don’t know how to dance and never have” LOL
This is the only reference I’ve come across:
It’s not something I’ve looked into much myself. Hope this is interesting for you
Catrin Stevens wrote a Welsh language book on death customs in Wales. There are a couple of pages in it on sin eaters. I could dig out details of its of interest.
Hi there, yes please…I can try to get hold of the book…thanks
I’m from Hereford and Worcestershire and I heard of sin eating …I also watched a film, precious bane when I was in my teens that has been formative…it had a sin eater in it…I am now a counsellor who is involved with supporting people when they are dying ( soul midwife ) and I think that the sin eaters role extend beyond the remnant of eating food off the corpse to that if soul midwife and healer…so I’m gathering info on the Welsh customs.
That’s so useful Anthony…thanks…
Firstly, it may be useful for you to know you can reply to more than one person in one post. I can quote
like so and then comment
or I can highlight a person by putting @ in front of their Forum name - @AnthonyCusack like so - very interesting Anthony. I realise now that I may have come across sin eating as a subject when indexing the Cambrian newspaper. I cannot be sure, but @bellselkie
may be useful.
ps Tried sin eater in the Index, no hits. May need varients of it!!
This book has a short section on sin eaters:
The references section mentions the following sources:
Aubrey, John, ‘The Sin-Eater’, in Hartland, E. Sidney, Folklore, Vol. 3, No. 2, 145-57 (London: Taylor & Francis, 1892).
Davies, Folk-Lore of West and Mid-Wales, 45-46.
Radford, Tales of South Wales, 168-69.
Thanks for that…I’ll check it out…
Thanks for that…I don’t know how to quote still !
Oh dear! Are you using a desktop or laptop? Quoting on these is easy. Highliight what you want and “quote text” will pop up. Click on that . But that doesn’t as far as I can tell, work on iPad. I once managed to quote by accident, and am not sure what I did! It involved quote marks that appear in the typing screen, but I can’t get anything to work now. I am not sure if @lewie can help us?
@henddraig I’m on a smartphone …no worries, I’ll just do the @ thing !