The first and second Presbyterian congregations of Belfast, in Rosemary Street, owned a collection of palls, cloaks and hats which were hired out for funerals. They were used by most of the betteroff inhabitants of Belfast, regardless of religion, and many of the gentry, clergy and substantial farmers in the surrounding countryside. This register, which covers the years 1712 to 1736, is a record of the hiring of this funeral gear for about 2,000 funerals which took place in the town, and as far afield as Counties Londonderry and Tyrone. In this period both the population and trade of Belfast were growing rapidly and the town was well established as the social and economic centre of Ulster.
Much of the original register has been printed here together with an index of names, making it immediately accessible for research. To this has been added a series of biographical notes on many of the merchants, gentry, clergy and tradesmen whose funerals are noted. The register is the single most important genealogical source for Belfast in this period but this book will fascinate anyone with an interest in local history. Finally, the transcript retains the phonetic spelling of the original enabling, us to hear the authentic voice of eighteenth century Belfast.