hearse / rehearse Farmers in Old England would rake their land with a harrow. However, when the Norman invaders came to England in the 11th century, they referred to the same instrument as a herse, which was a term that had come to them from the French, and was an adaptation of the Latin hirpex, which was a rake. This was a heavy, triangular tool made from wood, with spikes projecting from the lower side. When it was overturned, this device resembled the framework for holding lighted tapers used in religious ceremonies, with the tapers taking the place of the spikes. Consequently, the ecclesiastical device came to be known, in France, as a herse, a term that was brought to England by the Normans. The framework, although still called a herse, became more elaborate. More candles were added than the original thirteen used in Holy Week, and the structure was placed over the bier during the funeral services of distinguished people. Such structures were no longer in use in England by the 16th century, but the name, whose spelling had changed to hearse, was now applied to the vehicle that transported the coffin to the funeral. The word rehearse more closely retains the sens of the old French term, herse, which was a harrow or a rake. The act of repeating something that had been previously said was compared to the act of raking a field that had been previously raked. Thus, to herse again, or to rehearse.