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Lych Gate to All Saints' Church, Ockbrook
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A Lychgate is a covered open structure, found at a church gate. It normally consists of four or six oak posts embedded in the ground in a rectangular shape. On top of this are a number of beams to hold a steeply sloping straight pitched roof covered in wooden or clay peg tiles. The name is derived from the Saxon 'Lych' meaning 'corpse' and gate meaning entrance. Hence corpse entrance. Lychgates were built from about the mid 15th century. It was the custom at the time for priests to conduct the first part of the funeral service under its shelter. During medieval times the rich were the only people buried in coffins. The poor were carried to the lychgate and placed on a stone plinth or wooden table covered in a shroud before burial. Some Lych Gates still retain their stone plinths, and today these seem a somewhat obstructive feature in an entrance.