A red bicycle sheltering from the rain.

I took this picture with my iPhone this morning. I liked the contrast of the modern bicycle parked under the lychgate of our  traditional village church.


Lychgate St John the Evangelist's church Lund Parish Clifton village Lancashire

A Bicycle Parked under the Lychgate ©HelenBushe

When I posted it on Instagram (MiPhoneography) my blogging friend Mitchell  commented on the Lychgate.  (Mitchell’s website Heritage Basket Studios is well worth a visit). 

Apart from knowing what they were called, I’d always thought lychgates were there just because they looked nice.

A little googling brought up some information about the word Lychgate :

A lychgate, also spelled lichgate, lycugate, lyke-gate or as two separate words lych gate, (from Old English lic, corpse) is a gateway covered with a roof found at the entrance to a traditional English or English-style churchyard.wiki

And about what they were originally used for:

In the Middle Ages, before mortuaries, and at a time when most people died at home, the dead were placed on a bier and taken to the lychgate where they remained, often attended against bodysnatchers, until the funeral service, which may have been a day or two later. The lychgate kept the rain off, and often have seats for the vigil watchers. Bodies at that time were buried in just shrouds rather than coffins. At the funeral, the priest conducted the first part of the service under the shelter of the lychgate.wiki


Isn’t it amazing what you can learn in the course of a morning thanks to the internet in general and to blogging in particular.

And of course to Cee for her OddBall Photo Challenge.


elleturner4 · 4 July 2017 at 19:44

How interesting. So many bits of history all around that we know nothing about.

    HMB · 4 July 2017 at 19:51

    That’s exactly what I was thinking. And right under our noses!

hbs1991 · 4 July 2017 at 14:22

You are so nice Helen, I am so glad that I mentioned the gate, I just had never seen one like that, and thought truly, like you that is was a decorative element to the entrance to the churchyard. Now, know differently thanks to you and, it makes perfect sense as well. Upon reading your post. it also makes perfect sense that the body, needed to be away from the church at a good distance, as in up to two days time, decomposition would be a major concern depending on the time of the year. and thusly would need to be out in the open due to unpleasant odors (hopefully a good breeze) was available, as well as when you think about it the body in that location as you see in your photograph, would be right on the boundry of sanctified or holy ground as well. So interesting, we all have learned a lot, “A picture is worth a thousand words” Helen.

Thank you for kind mention of me and my blog in your post. You are so NICE! 🙂

    HMB · 4 July 2017 at 15:53

    Thanks Mitch. My pleasure to pingback to your blog.

Laurie Graves · 4 July 2017 at 14:04

Oh, my goodness! That certainly falls under the category of “you learn something new every day.” Nice capture of the red bike against the old stone and gate.

    HMB · 4 July 2017 at 15:52

    Thanks Laurie. It was a bit of a surprise to me too!

Joanne Sisco · 4 July 2017 at 12:49

That was an interesting little piece of history … and it does look pretty too 🙂

    HMB · 4 July 2017 at 12:51

    Thanks Joanne. I’m glad I’ve learned about this arch which I walk under every week

I'm always pleased to read comments.....

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