Where does the term “lich gate” come from and What does lich gate mean?

Our remote forebears went all out at a burial, and this is just one of the reminders.

The lich (rhymes with rich) was the corpse, borne from house to churchyard.

It was carried over a lich way or path to the solemn sound of a lich bell, and at the lich gate, or roofed entrance to the churchyard, the coffin was placed upon a lich stone to await the arrival of the clergyman, and was then finally carried to the lich rest or grave.

Previous to death, perhaps, a lich owl may have shrieked its ominous prophecy.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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