‘Bring Out Yer Dead!’ – Walking Corpse Road

Dagley01
Illustration from “Death’s Doings” by Richard Dagley (1827) (via British Library)

From Allison Meier from Atlas Obscura:

Funerals in the Middle Ages were very DIY. Not only did you personally tend to your loved one’s decomposing corpse, you had to carry it all the way to the churchyard. And for many medieval citizens, that could be quite a journey.

Churches at the time were very protective of their flocks, both living and dead. When a parishioner died, they wanted him or her interred with all the rituals of the parish church. They also wanted the money that having those burial rights entailed. Yet as communities were growing more spread out, this meant the parish church could be miles from your home. Thus was born the corpse road, also known as the coffin road, bier way, church way, lych way, or burial road. These paths connected villages to the cemetery.

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