Goodbye to Richard

The following obituary appeared in The Clonmel Chronical, Tipperary and Waterford advertiser. in the evening of Saturday June 30 1888:

The funeral of Mr R. M. Burke

On Thursday morning last the remains of Mr Richard McArthur Burke, who for the last five years has been connected with the Bank of Ireland at Clonmel, were removed from his residence at Queen Street for interment at Marifield. The great esteem, which he gained among us, as well as the deep retreat felt at his decease, were fully exemplified in the large number of sympathising friends attending the funeral, amongst whom were several members of the Masonic Order in this town, each wearing the usual symbol of morning. On the coffin and around the hearse were placed a profession of beautiful flowers in wreaths and crosses, most kindly sent by the following amongst others: – Mrs Murphy of Prior Park; the Rev Cannon Warren and Mrs Warren, Mrs R Malcomson, Mrs and Miss Bradley, Mr and Mrs Phelan, Mr B Fayle, Merlin,; Miss Davis, Ashburne; Miss Greham, Mr Arthur Malcoson, Mrs and Miss Oughton, Mrs Pelisser, Rev A H Delap, Rev. Ep Wheatley, Mrs Clancey, Mr Triphook.

At the close of the burial service and before the body was lowered into the grave, the Rev. Mr Whetley delivered a short and touching address to this assembled around, referring to the spirit of perfect trustfulness in his Savior, which had sustained their young departed friend through a severe illness.

Masonic apron used for ceremonies such as funerals of members

Masonic apron used for ceremonies such as funerals of members

Emily’s brother Richard was only 23 years old when he passed away. He died from a painful disease, or natural causes, followed his parents by only five years. At the time of his death there was another family tragedy unfolding over the water in the UK, which could not have helped his health. This was one of the awful events that plagued the Burkes for a full decade.

Emily and her remaining siblings it appears did not attend the funeral. At the time it was not uncommon at the time for female members of the family of the deceased not to attended funerals. Practical purposes may have prevented them too, as it was possible that Emily, Miriam and John Jasper were living a long distance away and could not travel to Tipperary that easily. There was also a tradition that the Freemason’s, of which Ricard was a member took over pageantry of the funeral as suggested in the obituary.

women of the ‘upper classes’ were not expected to attend funerals in the 19th Century.   Why, you might ask?   Apparently ‘for fear they would be unable to control their emotions’.
I got this piece of interesting information from ‘The Unquiet Grave‘, The Development of Kerry’s Burial Grounds through the Ages. To read more from Kay Caball’s account of 19th Century funerals:

In any County or Town where there is a Masonic Committee, permission for a Masonic funeral must be obtained either from the General Committee or from the Sub-Committee of the district in which the deceased resided and each Brother attending must be clothed as directed by the foregoing rules.

Richard Burke's Headstone. Retrieved from:

Richard Burke’s Headstone.
Retrieved from:

In Loving Memory of Richard McArthur Burke, Son of The late Rev.rd William Burke Vicar of Castlejordan, Born May 6th 1865, Died June 26th 1888. Thou Will Keep Him In Peace Whose Mind Is Slayed On Thee. Isaiah.26.III.


From the Clonmel Chronical, Tipperary and Waterford advertiser. Saturday Evening, June 30 1888. Page 3.
The Ceremony observed at Funerals of Freemasons, according to Ancient Custom: with the Service used on those occasions. Sentimental and Masonic Magazine June, 1794 p. 521 Vol. 5 p. by Eamonn Crowley
309 21/08/2014
Thanks to Rebecca Hayes, Archivist and the Freemasons Dublin for providing articles and photo of masons’ apron