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History of Butterfields - independent funeral directors

In 1874 John Butterfield a time served joiner, wheelwright and carriage builder, began supplying high quality coffins to families. Around the start of the first World War the business was carried on by Charles Thompson Butterfield, who took the business to the next level by providing fully furnished funerals, he also became carriage master to a number of village joiner undertakers, with his 23 horses and fleet of hearses and carriages.

It was about this time that 3 of his sons joined the business William, Alfred and Ronald, and were instrumental in creating what at the time was believed to be the first Chapel of Rest in the area. By this time the funeral side of the business had replaced the carriage building and funerals were the main operation and the reputation of C.T.Butterfield and Sons grew. 

By the mid 1950’s Roland (son of William) and Brian (son of Alfred) had joined the business, which had by this time evolved into Funeral Directors and Carriage Masters, continuing to supply 14 small local funeral directors with transport and other services, with their fleet of Rolls Royce vehicles (2 hearses and 9 limousines). Over a period of a few years in the late 60’s - early 70’s, when the qualification was first introduced, the members of the family attained their N.A.F.D. diploma’s in Funeral Directing. Brian also qualified as an embalmer and became a member of the British Institute of Embalmers. In 1982 David (son of Brian) joined the Company and achieved the N.A.F.D. Diploma in 1984 at the age of 18. 

By 1994 the Company was in the hands of Brian, his wife Doreen, their son David and his wife Susan, this saw the beginning of a major programme of development and improvement. This included all new Funeral Home facilities, replacement and upgrading of the fleet of vehicles, which are now replaced with new current model Jaguar vehicles every 3 years, creation of a new memorial workshop and showroom, and our buffet room and catering facilities, plus replacement and improvement of office equipment and state of the art mortuary. This development programme culminated in the creation and opening of our unique Memorial Garden and Gallery on the 24th June 2011.

We are immensely proud of our facilities and will continue to maintain and improve them as required. 

In 1971, the Directors of the Company felt that the Horse Drawn Hearse, for which there was no demand, and was in storage and requiring some attention should reluctantly, be disposed of. It was sold to a Conisbrough motor dealer who had been expressing an interest in it for a while, as it had been used to carry victims of the Cadeby Mining Disaster in 1912, and is thought to appear in one of the few photographs of those funerals. It appears that he sold it on, and it was subsequently exported to Australia.

20 years later the demand for Horse Drawn Hearses was rekindled and families started to request the use of them on their funerals. This resulted in a number of stables and horse owners searching out and restoring these vehicles for hire, one of these stables was used by us in the early 90’s when we needed to hire in for families to use. In May 2008 when talking to the stable, it was mentioned by the groom that his employer had repatriated some vehicles from an Australian Horse Drawn Vehicle sale. This set our minds working, and following further extensive investigation, it was established without doubt that our Hearse was indeed one of them. He kindly allowed us to purchase it and return it to Swinton, where it is now used when our families require it. Being well over 100 years old it does however require constant attention and maintenance, which we are pleased to carry out, it being part of our, and the local heritage.  

Butterfields Horse Drawn Marston City Hearse purchased by Charles T. Butterfield around 1898.

We are here to help you

Butterfields strive to provide a sympathetic understanding to every situation. We use our expertise and guidance to make the passing of loved family member as painless as possible.

Please use the contact form below to inform us of your requirements and we will contact you at your preferred time, whether that be by phone, email or in person.

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