BEFORE the 19th century, Heversham parish, apart from Heversham village, embraced the modern parishes of Hincaster, Levens, Milnthorpe, Preston Richard (Endmoor), Sedgwick, Stainton and Crosthwaite.

As only the better off had horses or conveyances, everybody else had to walk to church.

Fortunately for the outlying areas, there were chapels of ease at Crosscrake and Crosthwaite, but the 1000-plus inhabitants of Milnthorpe, the parish’s biggest township, had to walk a mile ‘up the hill’ to the church.

This is why (to the confusion of strangers) the A6 route to Heversham is called Church Street even though it leads away from Milnthorpe’s newer church, which is on Main Street.

In 1556, Crosthwaite successfully gained burial ‘rights of sepulchre’ because ‘of the great distance from the parish church, so they cannot get their dead to be buried or their children baptised without great charge and danger to body and soul’.

Consequently, the cortege of a shrouded corpse or of the parish coffin must have been familiar as mourners zigzagged though the mosses and meadows to reach the mother church at Heversham.