Monday, March 20, 2006

Hampshire - 18/19 March 2006

A coffin restEn route to our Saturday walk we stopped of in the delightful village of Chiddingford. The info said it had a rare high coffin rest in the church lych-gate and that coffin rests were the original reason for the covered lych-gates that are such an attractive feature of English country churches. However, it did not say why. Cowdray ParkFortunately the web tells all and it seems that back in the days when the dead may have had to have been carried a reasonable distance to the church, the pallbearers placed the coffin on the coffin rest and sat on the benches either side of the lych-gate to regain their breath and composure before carrying the departed into the church with due decorum. After all, it would not do for the pallbearers to be huffing and puffing up the aisle. Neither would they want to arrive all wet and bedraggled, hence the roof over the lych-gate.

Having seen our first coffin rest, we went for a walk from Cowdray Park to Lickfold and back again.

Looking down on SelborneSunday’s village of note was Selborne where the attraction was a zig-zag path cut by naturalist Gilbert White up the steep escarpment, Selborne Hanger, behind the village. The 29 switchbacks allowed us to climb quickly for sweeping views over the village and surrounds.

What could be prettier?We then motored a little way north to Oakhanger and walked from there to Wyck and back. As we returned to Oakhanger we passed a couple of cottages that were among the best we have seen in terms of embodying all that is quintessentially olde English cottage architecture.

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

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