This is a photograph of the novelist, Beryl Bainbridge's funeral.

My caption is "Bela Lugosi is not dead."

Now it's your turn.

Thanks to Grandmère Mimi for sending the pic in.



  1. St. Silas the Martyr, in north London. (What would we do without Google?) I’ll bet there aren’t any women priests on that parish’s staff…

    I didn’t know you could still get black mass vestments — I thought we gave those up forty years ago. (Benny, eat your heart out!)

    (By the way, St. Silas sells very handsome, traditional Christmas cards.)

  2. I would love a set of black vestments. Although I understand the argument for wearing white at Christian funerals, as in some African traditions, I personally like to emphasise the sadness of the occasion as this is a greater help to the unchurched grieving than telling them the alcoholic, womanising, shoplifting departed is now in heaven, which you can tell they never truly believe.

  3. The vestments take my breath away each time I look at the photo.

    I hear the priest in the center saying to the two on the side, “C’mon fellas. Hands together, heads bowed. Oh wait! You can’t. You’re holding my cope. Sorry.”

    And I wouldn’t want to cross the big guy carrying the holy water. Is there an ecclesiastical title for such a person?

  4. These people are CofE? They look right out of the 19th century!

    VW = guirp, the sound that came gurgling up from my throat at the sight of those vestments.

  5. I remember similar vestments in use, but not that elaborate, and I don’t remember back into the 19th century. Truly! I also remember black funeral vestments.

    The Anglo-Catholics out-Catholic the Roman Catholics in their ecclesiastic fashions.

    WV: twadap – ecclesiastical fashions

  6. The Anglo-Catholics out-Catholic the Roman Catholics in their ecclesiastic fashions.

    Well, of course, we do. We’re English. When we do something we do it properly.

  7. I am wrong, I know, but it puts me in mind of some of Frank McCourt’s description of the Churchmen in Limerick “the Holiest City in Ireland.” You’re sure they aren’t Irish?

    The jug handle ears on the Priest make me just want to laugh. I know they are serious, but LOL!

  8. The jug handle ears on the Priest

    Yes. I think he looks like Max Schreck as Count Orlok in “Nosferatu.” Hence my Bela Lugosi caption.

  9. The funeral procession is a scene right out of a satirical horror film. It’s mesmerizing.

    Sorry, Ms Beryl, if this is how you really wanted to be ushered out. It’s unfortunate that you’re not around to give me a withering response.

    Bainbridge was expelled from Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School (Crosby) because she was caught with a “dirty rhyme” (as she later described it), written by someone else, in her gymslip pocket. Wiki.

    Ya gotta love her!

  10. Ot sort of; I have been investigating Salisbury Cathedral because our choir will be singing there next July. I am particularly intrigued by the thurifer who carries the incense in a bucket. What is that tradition all about? MP or anyone?

  11. If you look closer you shall see that Eddie is actually Edwina. She is wearing dangly earrings.

    Susan, I think that the ogre in the pink shawl is carrying an ewer and aspergillum with Holy Water that will be used to bless the casketed remains and the grave if there is an earth burial or the crypt if a mausoleum disposition.

  12. Oops! At Salisbury they carry the incense in a bucket, not here in this picture. Sorry. And just because I was raised a Methodist and didn’t become an Episcopalian until I was 25 doesn’t mean I don’t know about holy water implements. I wasn’t born in a barn you know!

    So the question about the bucket of incense at Salisbury still remains. Why do they use that instead of a thurible?

  13. Susan, I thought your “incense in a bucket” referred to a custom at Salisbury Cathedral, not to the picture. As Dahveed says, the bucket contains holy water.

  14. Of course Anglicans have the best, pre-Vatican II vestments.

    One of the tragedies of the fire in Santa Barbara several years ago was that it destroyed Holy Cross Monestary (an Anglican order). I understand (perhaps others can correct me?) that they had a very large collection of pre-Vatican II vestments that one of their priests had bought cheap from many RC congrgations right after Vatican II. All up in flames.

    I think this is the place about which someone said “if this is poverty, I can’t wait to see chastity”?

  15. Holy Cross Monastery (the mother house of the Order of the Holy Cross) is in West Park, NY. Mount Calvary is the monastery that perished in the flames above Santa Barbara. It was one of my spiritual homes. Yes, they did have a lot of older vestments and many fine pieces of religious art. I remember rolling my eyes at fiddleback chasubles (never a style that appealed to me).

  16. I think this is the place about which someone said “if this is poverty, I can’t wait to see chastity”?


    Explains a lot about the Vatican, eh?

    That vicar (he prefers “Monsignor”) at the center really looks straight (so to speak) out of central casting of lisping (one assumes) Anglo-Catholic clerical horrors…

  17. Oh, gruesome, JCF. The last thing I would ever want to see is the chastity in the Vatican. And I make that statement as a human not as a man who prefers sex with women.