Friday, April 8, 2016
I really enjoyed my visit to the church at Anstey, which took place as the ringers were at work before a wedding, making it memorable sonically as well as visually and historically. But even before I got inside and started to look at the wonderful font, medieval graffiti, and other delights, the interest had started – right at the entrance to the churchyard.
This lychgate, said to be 15th-century or even older in its original form, is a timber-framed structure with a beautiful red-tiled gabletted roof, set on a gently rising footpath and framed by banks of grass dotted with primroses. So far, so marvellous. But what’s the bit walled in with flint and brickwork on the right-hand side? Once you’re through the gate, things become clear – it’s the village lock-up! It’s rather utilitarian from the other side, but no doubt served its purpose. The lock-up or “cage” was added to the lychgate in 1831 and kept drunks and other minor malefactors off the streets until, apparently, the beginning of the 20th century.