When JC Atkinson and Musgrove Willows met at the National Funeral Exhibition in June 2017, it was clear they were a perfect match and that a partnership between the two companies would be special. Now in its seventh year, the popularity of the willow coffins the partnership offers is greater than ever. Made exclusively from willow grown on the Musgrove family’s farm on the Somerset Levels, now the only area in the UK where commercial willow growing survives, the care, craftsmanship and quality that goes into every coffin is what sets them apart. Everything is grown and woven on site and all aspects of producing the coffin from the willow to the lining are undertaken in-house to ensure the highest quality product. This means full quality control and the ability to produce bespoke styles and sizes on demand.
The coffins are available in curved or traditional shapes with six willow or rope handles. Bases can be made with a woven base for green woodland burial sites or with a flat ply base for cremation and burial. No glue or nails are used in the weaving of the coffin, they are FFMA-approved, and the base and handles are fully load-bearing. They can be fastened with a toggle or screw closure.
Personalisation and environmental care, so important to JC Atkinson, is greatly valued by Musgrove Willows too, and like at JC Atkinson’s factory, wood offcuts, not fossil fuels, provide the fuel, in this case to heat the willow boiler. Families are welcome to come and help weave by appointment. They can bring items that can be incorporated into the coffin design or used for the lining of the coffin. Bespoke requirements like colouring of these coffins are increasingly popular. Coloured bands and vibrant rainbow coffins are made using white willow that has been hand dyed in small batches with non-toxic dye. Coffins are lined with a corn starch absorbent liner and a natural calico liner. Coloured linings are also available.
Even the mattresses and pillows are filled with hay from Musgrove’s fields and name plaques, keepsakes, and ashes caskets are available in several styles and designs. Baby and children’s caskets come with a keepsake flower in colours to match the chosen casket.