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Photo-a-day 49: Notice

Notice

This notice is carved into St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey, an Anglican church in London. The name of the Rector dates it to the 1860s or thereabouts (though it did strike me as somewhat short-sighted to carve the name of the Rector into the very fabric of the building… surely they knew he wouldn’t be around forever? It’s been out of date for well over a century now!)

This sign intrigued me; I’m not embarrassed to confess that my ecclesiastical knowledge didn’t extend to understanding the word “churchings”. It turns out that a “churching” was a Church of England service for women who had recently given birth, thanking God for “the safe deliverance and preservation from the great dangers of childbirth”. It is no longer practised – presumably, people prefer to thank hygiene and medicine rather than God nowadays.

In the late 1800s, childbirth was a dangerous business in England: about 1 in 200 births ended in the mother’s death. These days, the figure is many, many times smaller: about 1 in 10,000. Yet, unbelievably, there are some countries, like Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan, and Sierra Leone, where mothers giving birth today face a higher risk of death than those in England in the late 1800s. I wonder if they still practice “churchings”.

This 2,157th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2014, Scrapbook.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd September 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 5th August 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 10th July 2017)

Cash for Honours file handed over (published 20th April 2007)

Photo-a-day 197: The day my Kindle died (published 15th July 2012)

This Blogging Month: May (published 31st May 2005)

Photo-a-day 90: Winner (published 16th April 2014)


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