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tinued mirth and festivity for several days together :) Sunday only puts a stop to feasting; when the new married couple sit down to receive further Pwyddion and the congratulations of their friends.
The gifts on this occasion, in the case of poor people, sometimes amount to forty or fifty pounds : an essential benefit to young persons just setting out in life. Till the business of Pwyddion is over, they do not appear out, which is generally by the second Sunday; when the friends attend them to church, and the marriage is from this period esteemed valid and properly sanctioned.
This custom undoubtedly originated in the hospitable and affectionate disposition for which this people were for centuries famed. Nor can it be denied, that this national dowry must have acted as a strong in
ducement to matrimony; and been highly conducive to the strength and population of the country. It provided a permanent and never-failing fund for the use of those entering into life ; which encouraged them to set out with hope, and called upon their resolution to persevere in the same economy and industry that produced it.
We were sorry to be informed that this liberal custom is growing into disuse ; and that population, in this already thinyy inhabited country, is likely materially to suffer in consequence.
It might be expected, that those who had such singular customs at the entrance on life, would have some peculiarities on the departure out of it. Previous to a funeral it is usual for the friends of the des
ceased to meet in the apartment where the corpse placed; some of them, generally the female part, kneel round it, and weeping bitterly, lament and bewail the loss of their departed friend. When it is brought to the door, one of the relations gives bread and cheese and beer over the coffin to some poor persons of the same sex, and nearly of the same age with the dead, for collecting herbs and flowers to put into the coffin with the body ; sometimes a loaf, with a piece of money stuck in it, is added. This done, all present kneel down, and the minister, if present, repeats the Lord's Prayer. At every cross-way they stop, and the same ceremony is repeated, till they arrive at the church. Frequently the intervals are filled up by singing of psalms and hymns, which amidst the stillness of rural life, and the echo from the hills, produces a melancholy effect; and adds to the sombre solemnity of the occasion.
A similar custom prevails in the Highlands, which they term Coranich. The bier is always carried by the next of kin, and this is considered as the highest mark of piety which can be paid to the departed relative. This, as we learn from Valerius Max. L. 7,6.1,
Metellus, the conqueror of Macedon, was borne to the funeral pile by his four sons. As a mark of respect, those who had deserved well of the commonwealth were carried by the Magistrates or Se. nators; while persons hated by the people were carried by Vespil. dones or Sandapillones, hirelings for the purpose. To this custom Horace alludes
was a usage among the Romans. If it happen in a morning or evening, the service is read accordingly. After the general thanksgiving, the minister goes to the communion-table, where he reads the two prayers which are usually, in other places, read at the grave; and then concludes with the prayer of St. Chrysostom and the Valete Grace. This done, he remains at the table till the nearest relation of the deceased comes up and deposits an Obituary Offering. If it be a person of consequence, the sum is a guinea or more ; if a farmer or tradesman, a crown; if a poor man, six-pence : the next of kin then follow the example, offering sometimes as much, and sometimes less than the first : the rest of the congregation, who intend to offer silver, follow, when a solemn pause ensues; and the rest of the congregation offer pence:, but pence are never offered at genteel funerals. The offerings on these occasions · frequently amount to eight or ten pounds.* This is certainly a relict of. Popery, and was no doubt formerly intended as an acknowledgement to the
Lib. 2, S.5.
" Augustis ejecta cadavera cellis, “ Conservus vili portando locubat in area.”
Lib, 1, S. 8.
* Those of Caernarvon amount to little short of one hundred pounds per annum,
priest for praying for the welfare of the departed soul; as a composition for a short residence in purgatory ; or perhaps for any failure in the payment of tythes and oblations, and is termed Arian Rhiew. Though still continued, it is now only considered as a small tribute of esteem to the memory of the deceased, and as a mark of attention to the resident clergy.
This emolument adds to the comfort of the North Wales' clergy; and it was with conscious pride and pleasure, that we found them more easy in their circumstances, and respectable in their character, as a body of men, than those of the southern part of the principality. None are admitted into holy orders at St. Asaph or Bangor, but such as have graduated at Oxford or Cambridge ; whereas, until a regulation adopted by the present worthy Bishop of Rochester, then Bishop of St. Davids, men without talents, education, or character, were usually ordained from every petty school in the country. He ordered, that in future, none should be admitted in holy orders, except such as had spent two or three years at one of these five schools ; Cowbridge, Caermarthen, Pembroke, Ystradmeyrick, or Brecknock; and this to be immediately preceding the time of offering themselves candidates. He also at the same time enjoined, that no curate should have less than fifteen pounds for serving one church; thirty for two, &c. But it cannot be supposed that parents will send their children and be at the expense of an University education, to have an income, with labour, of fifteen
or at the most, thirty pounds per annum !!! The Curacies in North Wales are seldom less than forty or fifty. But lest great blame should attach to the South Wales beneficed Clergy, it should be remembered, that there is a great difference in the livings. At the Dissolution, most of those in South Wales were good; Henry VIII. therefore distributed them amongst his favourites ; and they became lay impropriations, with unendowed Vicarages ; and had it not been for Queen Anne's bounty, half the churches in that country would have gone without ministers ; as it is, a number of chapels have been suffered to fall into a dilapidated state. On the contrary, those of North Wales being considered as poor at the time, escaped the rapacity of Henry; and were suffered to remain in the hands of the clergy, where, as they ought, they continue to the present day.