A lychgate is a gateway covered with a roof found at the entrance to some English churchyards. While most lychgates are now memorials, the lychgate is still considered as part of the churchyard because of its original purpose. The name itself provides a clue: 'Lych' from the Old English (perhaps Saxon) word 'Lic', which means 'corpse'.
In the Middle Ages, most people were buried in just a shroud rather than a coffin. The dead were carried to the lych gate and placed on a bier (in Medieval times a wooden stand - from Victorian times often a small wheeled cart) and a hand bell (the lych bell) rung before a corpse.
Depending on the region, sometimes a funeral service with a Priest was held and started in the lychgate before the actual church service. Afterwards, sometimes the pall-bearers could also rest on the lychgate before carrying the corpse or coffin down the lych way, the path along which a corpse was carried to burial. On occsaions, ceremonies such as lyke-wake (a night watch over a corpse) would be held.
Various folk tales exist around the lychgate, such as the sound of the lych owl (the screech owl) and how its cry is heard to be a portent of death. In counties such as Sussex, small carvings can be seen - the purpose of which is to confuse (and sometimes trap) the Devil to keep him away from the Church itself.
Fortunately nowadays the Lychgate is a great setting for those romantic images!
Product Features (Wavefront OBJ): - Approx 6508 polygons. - Includes group information (for the main lychgate and two side gates), which your software should read as separate parts. - This version includes an mtl file, which your software program should read to colorize the model. - The model is UV mapped. - Includes highly detailed texture maps AND bump maps (in jpg format) at 2500x2500 pixels.
Original model created by Dark Anvil; uploaded for sale here with permission.