A dead body. (Anglo-Saxon, lic; German, leiche.)
in Staffordshire. The field of the dead, i.e.
martyred Christians. Lich-fowls.
Birds that feed on carrion, as
night-ravens, etc. Lich-gate.
The shed or covered place at the
entrance of churchyards, intended to afford shelter to the coffin and
mourners, while they wait for the clergyman to conduct the cortège
into the church
The screech-owl, superstitiously supposed to foretell death. Lich-wake
The funeral feast or the waking of
a corpse, i.e.
watching it all night. Lich-way.
by which a funeral is conveyed to church, which not unfrequently
deviates from the ordinary road. It was long supposed that wherever a
dead body passed became a public thoroughfare.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894