Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > North Side of a Churchyard.

 North Side of the Altar (The).Northamptonshire Poet. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
North Side of a Churchyard.
The poor have a great objection to be buried on the north side of a churchyard. They seem to think only evil-doers should be there interred. Probably the chief reason is the want of sun. On the north side of Glasgow cathedral is shown the hangman’s burial place.   1
   There is, however, an ecclesiastical reason:—The east is God’s side, where His throne is set; the west, man’s side, the Galilee of the Gentiles; the south, the side of the “spirits made justand angels, where the sun shines in his strength; the north, the devil’s side, where Satan and his legion lurk to catch the unwary. Some churches have still a “devil’s door” in the north wall, which is opened at baptisms and communions to let the devil out.   2
        “As men die, so shall they arise, if in faith in the Lord, towards the south . . and shall arise in glory; if in unbelief … towards the north, then are they past all hope.”—Coverdale: Praying for the Dead.

 North Side of the Altar (The).Northamptonshire Poet. 


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