A hundred and sixty-four years later: Cinder Well!
On the 6th June 1855, mourners met in the dissenters’ chapel for the funeral service of Ellen Tacchi, the youngest of nine children from an Italian family in Wellington Street. She was only two years old, and died of Scarlet Fever. Even though death was not unusual at such an early age (16 of the first 28 people buried here were aged 5 or under) it must have been a depressing ceremony, with black clothing and sad hymns. The fact that this was the very first funeral at the cemetery would have been of no consolation to the mourners. Who knows what the hymns might have been?
A hundred and sixty-four years later, on Saturday evening, sixty or so people left the chapel after an evening of often sad but amazingly uplifting music by two remarkably talented musicians, Cinder Well, currently on their “No Summer” tour of the UK. The event was the first event brought to Bedford cemetery by local enthusiasts “Hey-Ho! Folk,” and in return Bedford brought them a suitably rainy day.
The chapel was an ideal place to perform plaintive melodies about death and loss. Multi-instrumentalist Amelia has an amazing voice, and the harmonies with Marit were as beautiful and haunting as anything that can ever have been heard in the chapel. Sad but joyous. Musicianship made to look easy. And to cap it all, they love graveyards.
Ellen’s mourners no doubt left the chapel slowly, head-down, into the June weather of 1855. This Saturday evening, dozens of happy people left the chapel down a candle-lit pathway to the gatehouse, still enjoying the magic of the event and the new experience they had enjoyed.
Thanks to Marisa, Jack and Davey for bringing Cinder Well to Bedford.
Next up, in October: The Askew Sisters.
Author: Adrian Bean