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Lichfield Town Information

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Many important and famous people have been born in this wonderful medieval cathedral city, which also boasts Georgian houses, 16th century cottages and fine timber-framed buildings. The 13th century cathedral is dedicated to St Chad, Bishop of Mercia, and is made from blush-red sandstone. It is unusual in having three separate spires known as the ‘Ladies of the Vale’. The cathedral’s west front has over 100 statues while the 16th century stained glass windows of its Lady Chapel are among the finest in the country. In the cathedral’s library can be found St Chad’s Gospels, a fabulous illustrated manuscript. The 17th century Bishop’s Palace is contained within the cathedral close.

Among Lichfield’s most notable sons was the 18th century lexicographer Samuel Johnson, who lived in Breadmarket Street until he left for London at the age of 27. His old house in a now a museum. A statue of the great man stands in Market Square near two others – one of his biographer James Boswell and one of Edward Wightman, the last man in England to have been burned at the stake for heresy (1612). Nearby is the Lichfield Heritage Centre, tracing the city’s 2,000-year-old history.

Lichfield Cathedral - Photo © George Mahoney
Lichfield Cathedral - Photo: George Mahoney CCL

Stowe pool, Lichfield - Photo © Angella Streluk
Stowe pool, Lichfield - Photo: Angella Steluk CCL

The antiquarian Elias Ashmole (1617-92), whose vast wealth was behind the creation of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, was also born in the city, as were the famous Shakespearian actor David Garrick, the poet Anna Seward and the botanist and inventor Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles. Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood, Matthew Boulton and James Watt founded the Lunar Society, which met here on bright, moonlight nights. Darwin’s house is also a museum.