Ashford-in-the-Water, a picture-perfect, twee little village in Derbyshire, is known for the quarrying of Ashford Black Marble and- of greater general interest- the Maiden’s Garlands, funerary decorations fashioned to mark the deaths of virgins, some of which still remain in the thirteenth century parish church.
Maiden’s Garlands were made from paper, ribbons, fragments of favourite frocks, silk, and shells; usually with a centrepiece of paper cut into the shape of a glove containing a written epitaph. These remnants can be found in churches dotted around England; especially in Shropshire, Derbyshire, and Yorkshire. I’m not sure if I find these Maiden’s Garlands to be lovely or creepy, although I’m leaning towards creepy. Which isn’t necessarily bad, you know. Funeral customs are fascinating. (image CanonEOSMan flickr)