Redcar Corpse Road

A Corpse road once ran between Redcar and St. Germain’s Church in Marske, Minnie Horton suggests that the route probably followed the modern path of Green Lane. Corpse roads were Medieval routes along which bodies were carried for burial in consecrated ground.

Corpse roads can be found all over Europe, in Britain they are also known as Church Ways, Lych or Lyke Ways from the Old English for corpse, Lic, hence the modern Lyke Wake Walk with its associated coffin symbol and dirge.

In the case of the Redcar Corpse road, it would have been far simpler to carry the body along the beach from Redcar to Marske. This was not done as it was commonly believed that the souls of the dead travelled along the corpse road and any deviation from the prescribed route would risk unsettling the soul of the recently departed.


Now it is that time of night

That the graves, all gaping wide,

Everyone lets forth its sprite,

in the church-way path to glide

A Midsummer Nights Dream – William Shakespeare


The Story of Cleveland. Minnie Horton 1979

Spirit Roads: An Exploration of Otherworldy Routes. Paul Devereux 2007

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