Maiden’s Garland, Old St. Stephens Church,
Fylingdales, North Yorkshire
(via Memento Mori)
An old English custom that survived until the early
years of the 20th century, a maiden’s garland was
carried at the funeral of a young unmarried girl
and then hung above her pew in the church
until it disintegrated.
The young girl’s friends and family would make
the garland from strips of fabric and ribbons,
sewn onto a hoop of bendy willow bound by
strips of calico, decorated with silk or paper flowers
and rosettes, even bits of birds’ eggs and shells.
A white glove was often placed in the centre.
The silk and muslin ribbons that make up the
four garlands at Fylingdales were once mostly white
or cream, but also show flashes of colour and
prints, probably taken from best dresses.
Bedraggled by the centuries
(they date to the mid-1800s), they now hang in
a sealed atrium at the back of the church.