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The Bier House, Keysoe

The bier house February 2016
The bier house February 2016

The bier house stands opposite Keysoe church. It was listed by the former Department of Environment in August 1983 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the mid-19th century and is built of red brick with a pantiled roof and has double doors at the north-west gable end. It used to house the parish bier, essentially a horizontal piece of wood attached to wheels (two or four) in which the coffins of parishioners could be pulled or pushed from the house of the deceased to the church. There are not very many left, but there is another one at Cople.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting the bier house at that date [DV1/C211/127] remarked that it “was used as Garage”, the owners being the trustees of G Newell rather than the rector and churchwardens.