Funerals

  • Hearses and horses

    The contemporary traditional funeral can be simple or elaborate, but is always elegant and dignified.

    We have Jaguar or Ford limousines and hearses. Some families choose not to use limousines and are happy to make their own way to the place of burial or cremation. But we do advise that the chief mourners do not drive on the day.

    At M. Sillifant & Sons, coffins are lifted from the hearse and carried by our bearers or the family’s chosen bearers to the place of committal. We would only use a bier if the coffin or casket was prohibitively heavy. On natural burials the route to the grave can be very long, so a wheel bier might be used. It is considered an honour for anyone to assist in taking the coffin to the grave.

    A funeral cortege can begin at our chapel or rest, assemble at a place of worship or begin at the person’s home or favourite place.

    Horse-drawn hearses are surprisingly popular in the 21st century. M. Sillifant & Sons use a perfectly schooled team of immaculate black or white horses with a black or white hearse.

    ‘Paging away’ is when the funeral director leads the cortege on foot and is done as the hearse begins to move away for the first time, as the cortege passes a place of particular meaning to the deceased, or on arrival at the cemetery or crematorium.

    This tradition probably originates from when horse-drawn hearses would send a page ahead of the cortege to stop other coaches, giving the coffin and mourners precedence as a mark of respect.

  • Green Funerals

    Funeral directors are now able to offer greener options. We use the word ‘greener’ rather than ‘green’ very consciously.

    The carbon footprint of a funeral can be reduced in a variety of different ways, but carbon zero funerals do not (yet) exist in the UK.

    We notice that what can be gained with one environmentally friendly choice is often lost at another stage of the process.
    For example:

    • Woodland burials usually involve using fossil fuels to travel a greater distance to the funeral and on future graveside visits
    • The natural materials used in eco coffin-making are sometimes sourced from overseas
    • Cardboard coffins can involve highly intensive production processes.
    • Although there is no truly green, carbon-zero funeral, there are ever-increasing ethical choices for those of us who want to protect our environment.
  • Woodland burials

    In response to Exeter’s growing population and lack of space for new cemeteries, mature forests on the outskirts of the city are being developed as natural burial parks. Closest to us in Exeter, there are carefully managed forests near Cheriton Bishop, Tiverton and Okehampton.

    Forestry experts choose the gravesites so that they do not disturb the primary root system of the tree. They also predict how the future growth of the tree will allow other graves around it.

    A woodland grave might be especially appropriate if the deceased is young or a child. The family might find it relatively easy to drive to the site, while older mourners may have to rely on lifts or public transport to reach the grave.
    Visiting the grave can be a special day out for family and friends in beautiful surroundings. Take a picnic, relax, reminisce, cry and laugh together in the calm serenity of the natural landscape.

    Some natural burial sites we have used also have an indoor space which can be used not only at the funeral itself but also in the future. For a future anniversary or memorial event, you can visit the grave and organize your own music and food in comfort.

    Especially convenient in winter months and inclement weather.

  • Woodland Burial Grounds

    • Crossways Woodland Burials. Cheriton Bishop
    • Great Bradley Burial Ground, Tiverton
    • Conqueror Wood. Torbay
    • Sharpham Meadow Burial Ground, Totnes
    • Bidwell Woodland Burials. Rattery, Nr South Brent
    • Yealmpton Woodland Burials, Plymouth

    Please go to our Links page for further information.

  • Cultures and religions

    With over 100 years of experience in a multi-cultural city, we have conducted funerals for all the major religions and many lesser-known traditions too.

    As a company, we represent no single culture, race, religion or nationality and will assist you in whatever requirements you have. Should you need help in finding a religious or non-religious celebrant to conduct the funeral or advise you in a religion that may not be your own, we will gladly help.

    We warmly welcome people from all cultures and religions to M. Sillifant and Sons. In most areas we are highly experienced, but occasionally, we require families or religious leaders give to us detailed instructions. Every funeral we undertake should be seamless, entirely fitting, and of comfort to everyone involved.

Get in touch

If you require guidance with making Funeral arrangements, contact the understanding professionals at M. Sillifant & Sons in Exeter.
To speak to a member of our team in Exeter, please contact us via the number listed at the top of our website. Alternatively if you wish to send us an email with any enquiries you can fill out the form located on the Contact Us page of this website.

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