We have many grand narratives of change, but a good understanding of national trends is based on the accumulation of local histories. Every settlement has to make decisions about how to dispose the dead. These decisions are an expressive commentary on that society’s emotional, religious, political and economic well-being, and offer essential evidence on attitudes towards mortality more generally.
Local change in funeral provision is often provoked by national events such as the publication of influential documents and the passage of legislation. This timeline of these events may be a useful framework to start constructing a chronology of local activity.