Mudcat Café message #2413639 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #113441   Message #2413639
Posted By: M.Ted
14-Aug-08 - 12:07 PM
Thread Name: What murder ballad is the saddest? [songs]
Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From "Funeral customs, Their Origin and Development", by Bertram S. Puckle, 1926.:

Howlett mentions sin-eating as an old custom in Hereford, and thus describes the practice: "The corpse being taken out of the house, and laid on a bier, a loaf of bread was given to the sin-eater over the corpse, also a maga-bowl of maple, full of beer. These consumed, a fee of sixpence was given him for the consideration of his taking upon himself the sins of the deceased, who, thus freed, would not walk after death."