What is a Bier?

by P-Francone

This is an old wheeled bier from Grendon church in Northhamptonshire in England.

A bier, not to be confused with the tasty alcoholic beer, is actually a stand which is placed under a casket, that can be used to assist pallbearers when they are carrying it. There are some that have wheels that are used by the modern funeral industry. These are sometimes referred to as ‘church trucks’, and are used to move the coffin to and from the church or funeral home for services.

The word comes from the French biere, meaning ‘coffin’. A type of bier is the ‘catafalque’, which is a decorated bier where the body lies in state before or during a funeral, usually used by the Roman Catholic Church.

Biers are generally smaller than the casket they support, because of aesthetics. Make sure whenever you’re moving a casket on a bier you hold on tight, as they are not that stable and can tip over unless well centered!

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