the earth is verging on flat, and if it isn’t, in this here graveyard, we’ll roll the earth ’til it darn well looks flat.
This ancient rusty garden roller was hidden under a Yew tree in a Devonshire graveyard, covered in recent mowings and this year’s Ivy growth ready for use in the summer. In the Church of England Vergers often arrange for the care of the graveyard, rolling the grounds.
Is there a connection between the verge at the roadside and a Verger? I’ve only been able to find, create, a tenuous link using this phrase on the Vergers Guild of the Episcopalian Church website, my highlight:
“assists the clergy in the conduct of public worship, especially in the marshalling of processions“
it looks like part of the verger’s job description is making sure that processors don’t trample on the verges.
The Merriam-Webster defintion of Verge differentiates the meanings like this:
1 a (1) : a rod or staff carried as an emblem of authority or symbol of office (2) obsolete : a stick or wand held by a person being admitted to tenancy while he swears fealty b : the spindle of a watch balance; especially : a spindle with pallets in an old vertical escapement c : the male copulatory organ of any of various invertebrates
2 a : something that borders, limits, or bounds: as (1) : an outer margin of an object or structural part (2) : the edge of roof covering (as tiling) projecting over the gable of a roof (3) British : a paved or planted strip of land at the edge of a road : SHOULDER b : BRINK, THRESHOLD <a country on the verge of destruction — Archibald MacLeish>
One way of imagining the relationship between these two meanings is that the stick/wand/staff (1a) is used to shepherd people on the borders/limits/marigns/edge (2a) back into the fold.