Visit Lichfield and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Lichfield, Staffordshire. Although Lichfield is a thriving centre of light engineering, it is not industrial installations but the “Ladies of the Vale”, the three spires of the cathedral, that the visitor first sees, from whatever direction one approaches the city.
The present red sandstone cathedral, begun in the 1190s and completed about 150 years later, shows splendid Early English and Decorated work. Although this is one of the smallest and most heavily restored cathedrals in the country, the west front has an indisputable grandeur. The twin spires flanking the doorway are almost 200 ft high; the central tower is 60 ft taller. Within the arcades and panels of the front are 113 statues: figures from the Old Testament, the Holy Family, the Apostles, saints, bishops, 24 kings of England, including William the Conqueror and Edward the Confessor, and two genealogies of Christ. Much of this carving dates from the 19th century.
The most prized treasure is the early 7th-century manuscript book known as the St Chad Gospels — the complete gospels of St Matthew and St Mark, and part of the gospel of St Luke. The name of the manuscript commemorates the first bishop to have his cathedral at Lichfield, in 669, though the gospels themselves did not come to Lichfield until many years after his death. (Lichfield was made an archbishopric in about 787, in mighty Offa's reign, but was a bishopric again by 803.) Another priceless possession are the Herckenrode Windows in the Lady Chapel, among the most beautiful glass in England. The glass was originally in a Cistercian abbey at Herckenrode, near Liege in Belgium, and was brought to England by Sir Brooke Boothby in 1802. He presented it to the cathedral for just £200, the price he had paid for it. At the east end of the south aisle is the famous “Sleeping Children” monument by Sir Francis Chantrey.
Lichfield has a pleasant cathedral close, a cobbled market square, narrow streets, and many links with Dr Johnson. A statue of the great man sits at one end of the Market Square, facing— but not looking at — his birthplace on the corner of Breadmarket Street. This house, where Samuel's father Michael had his bookshop, is now a museum of Johnsonian relics: it has his favourite armchair, his walking stick, his silver teapot, and many of his manuscripts and letters. Johnson's birthday, 18 September, is celebrated on the Saturday nearest to it with an official gathering round his statue and a candle-lit supper in the Guildhall.
At the other end of the Market Square, looking in the direction of the cathedral, is a statue of Johnson's biographer, James Boswell. At this end, too, is a memorial to Edward Wightman of Burton-upon-Trent, who was burnt at the stake there for heresy on 11 April 1612, the last person so to die in England.
Further along Breadmarket Street is the birthplace of the antiquary and herald Elias Ashmole, who presented his unique collection of antiquities and documents to Oxford University. In Beacon Street is the house where Dr Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles, lived and the site of one where David Garrick, the actor, often stayed.
Lichfield also has long military associations. At Whittington Barracks, home of the Staffordshire Regiment, a little way out on the Tamworth road, the Regimental Museum is open to visitors.
Nearby towns: Brownhills, Burntwood, Burton-upon-Trent, Cannock, Rugeley, Tamworth
Nearby villages: Aldridge, Alrewas, Armitage, Barton-under-Needwood, Branston, Chasetown, Colwich, Croxall, Curborough, Drayton Bassett, Dunstall, Edingale, Elford, Farewell, Fazeley, Four Oaks, Glascote, Hammerwich, Hamstall Ridware, Haselour, Hednesford, Kings Bromley, Longdon, Lower Stonnall, Middleton, Norton Canes, Pelsall, Pipe Ridware, Rosliston, Rushall, Stonnall, Streetly, Upper Stonnall, Walsall, Walsall Wood, Walton upon Trent, Weeford, Whittington, Wilnecote, Wychnor, Yoxall
Have you decided to visit Lichfield or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Lichfield bed and breakfast (a Lichfield B&B or Lichfield b and b)
- a Lichfield guesthouse
- a Lichfield hotel (or motel)
- a Lichfield self-catering establishment, or
- other Lichfield accommodation