The bodies were carried in wicker coffins and rested from time to time on large flat stone slabs - some can still be seen today.
The Corpse Way avoided villages for fear that the spirit of the dead would be enticed to return. This fear came from Norse mythology, in which the corpse way was thought to mirror the last journey of the soul from the earth to the underworld.
Nowadays the route makes a pleasant, if slightly strenuous walk described here.
There's more evidence of burial traditions at Grinton church. The woollen trade had been very important to England's prosperity but new materials and imports threatened the livelihood of landowners who relied on wool and sheep for their income. Many of these were members of parliament so they joined together to pass an Act to try to maintain demand for English wool. The first act was passed in 1666. In 1692, Adam Barker was the last person in Swaledale to be fined for sticking to the local tradition of burial in linen, breaking the law which required bodies to be buried in wool. His daughter, Ann, is buried inside Grinton Church, and a stone slab records the £5 fine he was forced to pay.