Rededication of lychgate at St Nicholas Church in Ashill

The Bishop of Lynn re-dedicates the lychgate.
The Bishop of Lynn re-dedicates the lychgate.

A re-built lychgate at St Nicholas parish church in Ashill, completely destroyed when a car crashed into it, was re-dedicated by the Bishop of Lynn on Palm Sunday.

The dedication formed the first part of the annual service which commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem before his crucifixion and resurrection.

Parochial church council chairman Richard Leyton examines  part of the European oak structure of the restored lychgate.

Parochial church council chairman Richard Leyton examines part of the European oak structure of the restored lychgate.

A large congregation processed from the church to the gate for the ceremony, conducted by the Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick, before returning to the church afterwards for the rest of the service.

The gate is where pall bearers with their coffin would rest, protected from the weather, before entering the church.

“It’s the first re-dedication of a lychgate I’ve done,” said the Bishop.

Most lychgates were built in the 15th century though rare examples from the 13th century still exist.

The St Nicholas gate is a much late addition, however.

Parochial church council chairman Richard Leyton said: “We believe it was built in 1920 or 1921.”

After the destruction of the gate residents quickly rallied round and £4,000 was raised by an envelope collection to help with the cost of restoration.

The car driver was then identified and his insurance paid for the repairs.

The work cost £15,000 and the collection has been handed to the parish council which will use it in coming years for the maintenance of the gate which is constructed of bricks and green European oak.

Mr Leyton said: “It’s been re-built exactly like the old one except it’s two courses of bricks higher because the original height was found to be inadequate.”

“The pall bearers must have grown by two bricks,” added Mr Leyton.

The names of everyone who helped with the project have been placed in a sealed container within the brick part of the structure which was built by local craftsman Andrew Hyde.