Lichfield, Staffordshire

Lichfield is a small city in the South of Staffordshire. The most well know landmark is the Cathedral which has three spires and is a truly beautiful building. Within the historic Cathedral City you will find stunning, architecture combined with modern facilities.There is a Heritage Trail which guides you around the City, helping you to discover more about Lichfield. Lichfield is a lovely city the centre it is filled with lovely little shops and things to do. There are two railway stations and excellent road links with the Motorway network nearby. There are festivals and markets, famous museums, university campus and Lichfield college. A must to visit.

Places to see

Lichfield Cathedral - in a wonderful setting and a fascinating history. Its unique three spires in medieval cathedrals and are sometimes reffed to as "the Ladies of the Vale'.

Lichfield Heritage Centre - Market Square

The Guildhall in Bore Street

The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum & Bookshop - Breadmarket Street

Darwin House - Beacon Street

Beacon Park - 78 acres for walking, golf, football play area and wildlife.

National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas

Stafforshire Regiment Museum – Nr Whittington, Whittington Barracks

Curborough Sprint Course – Fradley

Fradley Junction (canal junction) Nr Alrewas

Tudor Café – Bore Street

Lichfield Garrick – Castle Dyke

St Johns Hospital & Chapel St Johns Street

Stowe Pool – Stowe Street

The Bishops Palace & Theological College next to cathedral

Milleys Hospital

Church's Christ & St Chad

The George Hotel

Market Square

Lichfield Festival is usually held at the beginning of July every year

King Edward VI Leisure Centre on Kings Hill

Friary Grange Leisure Centre - Eastern Avenue


At Wall, 3 miles to the south of the city, there was a Romano-British village called Letocetum (from the Celtic for "grey wood"), from which the first half of the name Lichfield is derived. It was based on a Roman fort next to Watling Street which was used in the first centuries AD, until about AD 160-170, when the fort's mansio was destroyed by fire at the same time the forum in Wroxeter was also destroyed by fire. This suggests a revolt of the local British. The history of Lichfield in the following centuries is obscure. The Historia Britonum lists the city as one of the 28 cities of Britain around AD 833. In the Welsh poem The Lament of Cynddylan, Caer Luytcoed (cf modern Welsh Caerlwytgoed — Lichfield) or Lichfield is said to have been taken by the sword by pagan opponents, most likely the Mercians to the east.

The first authentic notice of Lichfield occurs in Bede's history, where it is called 'Licidfelth' and mentioned as the place where St Chad fixed the episcopal see of the Mercians in 669. The burial in the cathedral of individual kings of Mercia, such as Celred in 716, further increased the prestige of Lichfield. In 786, Pope Adrian I raised it at the request of Offa, King of Mercia, to the dignity of an archbishopric, but in 803 the primacy was restored to Canterbury. In 1075 the see of Lichfield was removed to Chester, and thence a few years later to Coventry, but it was restored to Lichfield in 1148. At the time of the Domesday survey, Lichfield was held by the bishop of Chester, where the see of the bishopric had been moved in 1075: it is not called a borough, only a small village. The lordship and manor of the town were held by the bishop of Chester until the reign of Edward VI, when they were leased to the town corporation.

There is evidence that a castle existed here in the time of Henry I, and a footpath near the grammar school retains the name of Castle-ditch. Richard II gave a charter (1387) for the foundation of the gild of St Mary and St John the Baptist; this gild functioned as the local government, until its dissolution by Edward VI, who incorporated the town in 1548, vesting the government in two bailiffs and twenty-four burgesses; further charters were given by Mary, James I and Charles II (1664), the last, incorporating it under the title of the "bailiffs and citizens of the city of Lichfield," was the governing charter until 1835; under this charter the governing body consisted of two bailiffs and twenty-four brethren.

Lichfield sent two members to the parliament of 1304 and to a few succeeding parliaments, but the representation did not become regular until 1552; in 1867 it lost one member, and in 1885 its representation was merged in that of the county. By the charter of James I, the market day was changed from Wednesday to Tuesday and Friday; the Tuesday market disappeared during the 19th century; the only existing fair is a small pleasure fair of ancient origin held on Ash Wednesday; the annual fête on Whit Monday claims to date from the time of Alfred the Great.

In the English Civil War, Lichfield was divided. The cathedral authorities with a certain following were for the king, but the townsfolk generally sided with the parliament, and this led to the fortification of the close in 1643. Lichfield's position as a focus of supply routes had an important strategic significance during the war, and both forces were anxious to control the city. Lord Brooke, notorious for his hostility to the church, led an assault against it, but was killed by a deflected bullet on St Chad's day, an accident welcomed as a miracle by the Royalists. The close yielded and was retaken by Prince Rupert of the Rhine in this year; but on the breakdown of the king's cause in 1646 it again surrendered. The cathedral suffered extensive damage from the war. It was subsequently restored, particularly the central spire, at the end of the common wealth period, thanks in part to the gratitude and generosity of King Charles II of England. There is a statue of Charles II by the south door of the Cathedral.

During the 18th century the city thrived as a busy coaching city on the main route to the northwest and Ireland. It also became a centre of great intellectual activity, being the home of many famous people including Samuel Johnson, David Garrick, Erasmus Darwin and Anna Seward, this prompted Johnson's remark that Lichfield was "a city of philosophers". Today the city continues to expand; to the west, a new area of housing has been under development for a number of years.

* Legend has it that a thousand Christians were martyred in Lichfield around AD 300, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and that the name 'Lichfield' actually means 'field of the dead'. There is however, no evidence to support this legend.

* In 1553 Queen Mary made Lichfield a county separate from the rest of Staffordshire. It remained so until 1888.

* In 1291 Lichfield was severely damaged by a fire, which destroyed many buildings. In 1690 thatched roofs were banned in Lichfield because of the risk of fire.

* The last person in England to be burnt at the stake for heresy was in Lichfield. Edward Wightman from Burton upon Trent was burnt at the stake in the Market Place on 11 April 1612.

* The motto on Lichfield's coat of arms quotes Samuel Johnson's tribute to his native city in his Dictionary, "Salve, magna parens" — "Hail great Mother".

* The Diocese of Lichfield covers all of Staffordshire, much of Shropshire and part of the Black Country and West Midlands

* Each year there is an International Arts Festival based primarily around the cathedral. Spin off events include a fringe festival, jazz, blues and Real Ale Festival and a Medieval Market.

* Once every three years, The Lichfield Mystery Play cycle is performed in the Cathedral, the Market Place and on Stowe Fields. The next cycle is due in 2009.

* Lichfield Cricket Club nick-named after the cathedral: 'Three Spires', is a thriving club which plays at Collins Hill.

* There is a statue of Edward Smith, Captain of the Titanic and sister ship Olympic in Beacon Park

* The furthest point in England from high tide mark (including tidal rivers) is between Hammerwich and Wall, to the south west of Lichfield. It is 56 miles from high tide mark.

* In May 2006, a report commissioned by British Gas [1] showed that housing in Lichfield produced the 16th highest average carbon emissions in the country at 7,118 kg of carbon dioxide per dwelling.

Lichfield's wealth grew along with its importance as an ecclesiastical centre. The original settlement prospered as the place where pilgrims gathered to worship at the shrine of St Chad, this practice continued up until the Reformation when the shrine was destroyed.

In the Middle Ages the main industry in Lichfield was making woollen cloth. There was also a leather industry in Lichfield. Much of the surrounding area was open pasture and there were many surrounding farms.

In the 18th century, Lichfield became a busy coaching centre, there was little industry, the main source of wealth to the city coming from the money generated by its many visitors. The invention of the railways saw the decline in coach travel and with it came the decline in Lichfield's prosperity.

By the end of the 19th century, brewing was the principal industry, and in the neighbourhood were large market gardens.

Today there are a number of light industrial areas predominantly in the east of the city, not dominated by any one particular industry. The district is famous for two local products: Armitage Shanks, manufacturers of baths/bidets and showers, and Arthur Price of England, master cutlers and silversmiths. Many residents commute to Birmingham.