As you walk through the archway into the chapel of St Betram, in the Church of the Holy Cross, IIam in Staffordshire, you notice these.
They are Maidens’ Garlands and relatively few churches in England are thought to have surviving examples. It’s thought they may have been used during the funeral service of an unmarried woman, but there is evidence in other parts of the country that they may have been made for young men too. Further information can be found in this article in the Birmingham Post a few years ago, but most importantly there is the work undertaken by Rosie Morris who as a child saw garlands hanging from hooks in her church in Shropshire and wondered what they were. Years later having been unable to find much information on them, decided to make them the subject of her dissertation and later Phd. Rosie’s website on Maidens’ Garlands is here.
Not only do I think the garlands and the stories attached to them are of interest, I also really like the idea that Rosie’s curiosity for an object she saw as a child led to her doing such great work to research and share this tradition.