Lych gate


Many English churches  have a Lych gate at the entrance to the graveyard.   I have not yet seen a Lych gate in the USA.   The brief description of the gate I’ve found repeated across the web is:

a roofed gate to a churchyard, formerly used as a temporary shelter for the bier during funerals (noun)

The corpse waits in the Lych (Corpse) gate for the priest to come to it and start the ceremony.   I have not found any online  references to the ‘folk’ belief I somehow gathered as a child.   My folk belief is that placing the corpse down in the lych gate somehow stopped evil (pagan?) spirits riding the body into the concecrated grounds of the churchyard.

St. Mary the Virgin, Portbury’s churchyard Lych Gate, dustbin and daffodils:

Lych gate
rate wendys scribble

2 bits of lovely banter on “Lych gate”

  1. Mary-Alice writes:

    Wendy–I am so please to find you post on a Lych-Gate! I live in Florida (America) and have started doing research on these wonderful little fascinating things! I grew up on the coast of Maine attending St. Mary the Virgin Church which had a Lych-Gate, only we didn’t know it at the time! Know, here in FL, the local Anglican Church has an Historical Lych-Gate as well. I am now on a mission to find all the Lych-Gates in the United States. So far I have found around 18. Most of them are associated with Episcopal or Anglican Churches or Cemeteries, however, I am finding they might be just at the entrance of a protestant cemetery, in a park or in a garden of an Historical House. The oldest I have found so far appears to be around 1890, however there is no proof of the date. For the most part they seem to be in the eastern part of the country. I will be in England in June and will be looking at as many Lych-Gates as I can while I am there. Take care. ~Mary-Alice



  2. wendy writes:

    Mary-Alice, an inspiring comment! I’ve sent an email to you, and will be happy to help you plan your lych gate hunting this summer. W x



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