Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Monday, 10 October 2011

St Georges Lych Gate

 lychgate, also spelled lichgate, lycugate, or as two separate words lych gate, is a gateway covered with a roof found at the entrance to a traditional English or English style Churchyards.

The word lych survived into modern English from the Old English or Saxon word for "corpse".

Lychgates consist of a roofed porch-like structure over a gate  often built of wood. They usually consist of four or six upright wooden posts in a rectangular shape. On top of this are a number of beams to hold a pitched roof covered in thatch or wooden or clay tiles. They can have decorative carvings and in later times were erected as memorials. They sometimes have recessed seats on either side of the gate itself.
The gateway was really part of the church. It was where the clergy met the corpse and the coffin rested while part of the service was read before burial. It also served to shelter the pall-bearers while the bier was brought from the church. In some lych gates there stood large flat stones called lich-stones upon which the corpse, usually uncoffined, was laid. The most common form of lych gate is a simple shed composed of a roof with two gabled ends, covered with tiles or thatch.


This is the Lych Gate to St Georges Church.
It was built from the oak beams that were taken from Syddall Fold Farm when it was demolished in 1885.
According to Thomas Middletons's The History of Hyde , "Syddall Fold Farm stood  between Syddall Street and Church Street opposite St Georges old school."

Syddall farm

Tithe map of 1836-51 showing Syddall (Siddall) Fold Farm .


A recent map showing the area today.


John Darch said...

The lych gate as it now stands is a late 1990s re-build using mostly the original materials. The reason for this was that it was accidently demolished one Thursday morning about 1997 (I don't have the actual date to hand). A furniture van travelling too fast up Great Norbury Street failed to make the left turn into Church Street and hit the lych gate, demolishing it. The congregation of the Thursday morning Communion service at St George's Church was obliged to leave by way of St George's School as the churchyard entrance from Church Street was completely blocked by the debris.

Hydonian said...

What a great story, John , and one I was unaware of ! :)

Tom said...

Nancy now that John as mentioned it I recall it being in one of the local papers.. either the North Cheshire or the Advertiser, lets hope someone as a clipping of this.

Werneth Low said...

Where I live, on the North Yorks|Co Durham border there are two churches with very attractive lych gates which, unlike St George's, are actually gated. When a wedding takes place the village children tie up the gate during the ceremony and the couple have to pay them oin order to get out!

Tom said...

That's a great custom I might get some gates knocked up and a collection tin... ;o)

John Darch said...

Further to my earlier comment I've now been able to check the date - the traffic accident which demolished the lych gate took place on 6 July 1995.

Tom said...

Thank you John for taking time out and letting us know the date John.. it's snippets of information like this we are always pleased to receive..