Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Aug 2012 - Day 28: Gate

Photo-a-Day - Aug 2012 - Day 28: Gate
Books set in the UK are some of my favorites, particularly when they talk about the architecture and churches.  One thing I had frequently seen referenced was a lych gate as an entrance to churchyards. 

The town in which I stayed, Sonning-on-Thames, had a lovely church, the oldest part dating back to the 1400s.  At both sides of of the churchyard was this wonderful gate.  I was so excited thinking I had finally walked, several times, through an actual lych gate.

Imagine my surprise when, only recently, I discovered it wasn't a lych gate at all, but a kissing gate.  From Google--the source of all knowledge--I have learned the following:

Kissing Gate - The kissing gate is a small gate that swings freely within a small angled of semicircular enclosure--sometimes called a swing wicket or turn-stile gate.  The walker pushes the gate to the far side of the enclosure, stands in the space between the enclosure and the gate, and then moves the gate to one side and walks through.  The idea is that the gate provides easy passage for walkers, but denies access to bicycles, baby carriages, cattle and the like.  As to how the gate got its name, there are two schools of thought.  One says that if two people try to use the gate at the same time, they get pressed together; the other say that there was once a tradition that allowed couples to kiss at such gates.

The gates weren't completely effective at denying access to bicycles as I saw several young people lift and carry their bikes at shoulder-height while through the gates.

So there you are.  I didn't find at lych gate, but found something completely unexpected and about which I had never known.  And isn't that the best part of travel, after all?

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