Monday, April 8, 2019

More (yes more) on Newfoundland Lych Gates for #MortuaryMonday

Yes, I've blogged before about my ongoing obsession with lych gates (read back if you dare).  I continue to find new pieces of information about this little-known NL tradition.

A lych gate is, as the Evening Telegram told us in 1922, "a churchyard gate, with a roof over it, under which, on the occasion of a funeral, the corpse and its bearers may await the coming of the officiating minister."

Well, I've got a few more gems from the Digital Archives Initiative. First up, above, is an advertisement that was run in The Daily News (St. John's, N.L.), 1955-07-06 page 16. I've written about this particular gate and its lettering here.  I still haven't figure out what the lettering says, so email if you have ideas.

Next up, two notices about flower services at the same cemetery.

Evening Telegram 1921-08-06 Flower Service p4

Evening Telegram 1922-08-01 Flower Service at Anglican Cemetery p6

This adds a little bit to my understanding of the uses of the lych gates. While used primarily for part of the funeral service, they were also used in some English churches as part of informal post-wedding rituals, and these clippings indicate they were used, at least in St. John's, as a spot for collecting funds during flower services. Note that the 1921 article refers to this as the "usual collection at the lych gate" which suggests to me that this was a recurring practice.

As always, if you have any memories (or even better, photographs) of any of the NL lych gates, let me know! So far, I know of only four: Bonavista and Corner Brook (extant) and St. John's and New Perlican (demolished).  

1 comment:

Ken O’Brien said...

The collection at the Anglican Cemetery lych gates is similar to the collection at the cemetery gates for Roman Catholic cemeteries. It’s where the collectors stand as people come into the cemetery for the outdoor mass or service.