John Murray (Firm).

Handbook for travellers in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Staffordshire .. online

. (page 29 of 41)
Online LibraryJohn Murray (Firm)Handbook for travellers in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Staffordshire .. → online text (page 29 of 41)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

drapery. The semi-effigy in the
choir represents Canon Strangeways ;
it is mutilated. These three date
from the 11th cent. The Perp.

tomb of Sir John Stanley represents
a knight, bare to the waist, ready to
receive flagilation at the hands of
the clergy. The legs are in armour,
and above them, a skirt, painted witli
the arms of Stanley, depends from
the waist. During the siege the
tomb was mutilated ; it was repaired
in 1877. This monument is said to
be unique. Near the door of the N.
transept may be seen the emaciated
figure of Dean Heywode (1492) ; it is
a portion of a larger monmnent.
There are in the S. choir aisle two
ancient monuments to bishops, one
supposed to represent Hugh Patte-
shuU (1241), the other Walter de
Langton (1321). There are also a
memorial tomb of Archdeacon Moore,
by Armstead, erected in 1879 ; and
a very beautiful tomb of Bishop G. A.
Selwyn, erected in 1881. Leading
out of the S. choir aisle are the sacristy,
and consistory courts, formerly the
Treasure House, E.E. In an upper
room are kept the docimients of the
Cathedral. Over the door is a gallery,
which probably served as a watch-

The retrochoir formerly held the
great shrine of St. Chad, which
attracted pilgrims from aU parts. A
portion of this shrine was found
during the restoration in the screen
of masonry which separated the nave
and the choir, and has now been
worked up into the sedilia on the
S. side of the sanctuary within the
altar rails.

The Lady Chapel, commenced by
Bishop Langton m 1296, is a con-
tinuation of the presbytery, and ter-
minates in a polygonal apse. The
windows were originally tilled with
geometrical tracery, but have been
altered since the devastation at the
siege. The arcade with its pro-
jecting canopy running round the
lower part of the chapel is of the
utmost elegance and richness. But
it is chiefly remarkable for its paint-
ed windows, two of which were made

M 2


Boiite 28. — Lichfield : CatJiedral.

by Sir Jolm Beilou, aud are filled
with coats of arms of the bishops and
prebends of Lichfield. The other 7
are probably the finest in this conn-
try. They were brought from the
ancient dissolved abbey of Herck-
enrode, a Cistercian nunnery near
Lie'ge, by Sir Brooke Boothby, who
handsomely transferred them to the
cathedral for the price they had cost
him, viz. 200?., not one-fiftieth part
of their actual value ; they are ad-
mirable specimens of t'le art of
glass-painting and staining, as it
flourished in the hands of the scholars
of Van Eyck, at the beginning of the
16th centy., in the Low Coimtries.
Mrs. Jameson attributes these de-
signs to Lambert Lombard, the first
and by far the best of the Italianized-
riemish school of the 16th centy.
Two of the windows (date 1532) con-
tain portraits of members of the fa-
milies of De Lechy and Mettecoven,
benefactors of the abbey, with their
patron saints. One conspicuous
figure in the left-hand window is the
Cardinal Everard de la Marc, Arch-
bishop of Liege (1505), on his knees,
with St. Lambert behind him. In
two other compartments are portraits
of knights of the illustrious houses
of Egmont. Flores, and Maximilian,
Coimts of Buren. The other 5 win-
dows (date 1539) contain Scripture
subjects, many of which may easily
be identified, and exhibit in their
execution all the characters of the
early German and Flemish schools of

The beautiful Chapter-house is en-
tered from the N. aisle by a corridor,
lined with a fine arcade of E. E.
niches, curiously groined. The chap-
ter-house, an excellent specimen of
that style, is in plan an elongated
octagon, with a central clutched pier,
radiating into ribs, which support
the roof. The richly carved foliage
of the capitals of the piers, as also
the arcade of 49 arches, deserve
attention. A fresco of the Assump-

tion of the Virgin of the loth century
has lately been discovered above the
doors which lead into the chapter-
house. It is very interesting in
some of its details.

The original library was a detached
building to the N. of the N. transept,
built by Dean Heywode (1457-1493).
The present Library is over the
Chapter House, and was established
about 1793, when the Duchess of
Somerset bequeathed more than one
thousand volimies. The library is
rich in Bibles, and contains many
17th - century controversial works,
and some curious tracts relating to
the civil war. Here also are preserved
the MS. Household Book of Prince
Henry, eldest son of James I., and a
MS. of Chaucer. One relic may be
seen here, however, of which the
interest can hardly be exaggerated.
This is the volume known as the
" Gospels of St. Chad," containing
the Gospels of St. Matthew, St.
Mark, and part of St. Luke. The
style of its writing, miniatm-es,
and profusion of scroll work may
certainly be ascribed to the Hiberno-
Saxon school. There is a tradition
that it was written by St. Gildas,
and on the margins of several of
the pages are entries in Welsh, one
of M'hich states that the volume
had been purchased by Gelhi, and
presented to St. Teilo, the patron
Saint of Llandaff. It was probably
written in the 8th century. On a
blank page of the MS. the Lord's
Prayer according to the Vulgate
version has been inserted in a writing
of later dal^e — the version of the
Lord's Prayer in the MS. of St.
Matthew being taken from the Vetus
Itala. On this page all solemn oaths
were formerly taken. The relics
of St. Chad are now deposited in the
Konian CatholicCathedralatBirniing-
ham, having been abstracted from
the shrine in the retrochoir in
Edward VI. 's reign by Prebendary
Arthur Dudley.

The length of the cathedral within

Moute 2S. — Lichfield : Cathedral.


is 375 ft., aud its height is 60 ft.
from the pavement to the roof. The
building does not stand due E. and
W., but inclines 27 degrees to the N.,
and the walls of the choir and the
nave are not in a straight line. It
stands within a tranquil and neatly
kept close, laid out in grass-plots, and
planted with trees. On the N. side
are the Bishop's palace (built 1687
by Bp. Wood, and enlarged by Bp.
Selwyn) and the Deanery, and on
the S. the prebendal houses, with
gardens stretching down to the Min-
ster pool. At the N.W. angle is
a remarkable timber house, at the
S.W. Newton's College for the widows
of the clergy, and at the S.E. angle
is the Theological College. The
close -was walled and moated by
Bishop Langton — " Lichfield's moated
pile " — but the walls have in great
part been demolished, except a small
portion in the Palace garden, aud
the Eastern portion of the moat has
been drained and used as a garden,
whilst the southern portion is now
the bright clear Minster pool, beside
which runs a pleasant public walk.

At the time of the Great Rebellion,
in 1643, the close was strengthened
and put into a state of defence, and
garrisoned for the king, and the red
flag of defiance was hoisted on the
central tower ; the town, however,
took the opposite side.

Parliament soon despatched troops
to attack and dislodge the Royalists
from their stronghold, and the com-
mand was given to Lord Brooke, a
warm enthusiast, and in strong op-
position to both the Church and the
King of England, although Baxter,
in his ' Saints' Rest,' enumerates him
as one of the persons whom he looks
forward to meeting in heaven.

On the second day of the assault,
while directing his artillery, which
was planted on the extremity of the
causeway, now called Dam-street
(leading to the Market-place), against
the S.E. gate of the close, a musket-
shot glanced through a side opening,

and struck Lord Brooke as he was
coming out of the porch of a house.
It was fired by a deaf and dumb
gentleman named Dyott, posted on
the central tower. This event,
which dispirited the assailants, and
caused them to cease their attacks
for the rest of the day, gave new life
to the loyal garrison, whose leaders
were not slow to point it out as a
visitation of Providence that Lord
Brooke, who had openly vowed the
extermination of episcopacy, and de-
struction of all cathedrals, had re-
ceived his death-wound from St.
Chad's Ch. upon St. Chad's day.
Lord Brooke's buff-coat was pre-
served at Warwick Castle until it
perished in the fire there in 1871.
and the gun with which he was shot
was in the possession of General Dyott,
of Freeford, near Lichfield.

" Fanatic Brooke
The fair cathedral stormed and took ;
But thanks to God and good St. Chad,
A guerdon meet the spoiler had."

Though the house in which Lord
Brooke was killed is removed, the
spot where he fell in Dam-street is
marked by a white marble tablet in
front of a modern red-brick house.
The siege was renewed, after Lord
Brooke's death, with great vigour by
Sir John Gell, and the want of am-
munition and provisions compelled
the garrison of the close to send a
messenger in white, who was con-
ducted blindfold to the quarters of
the Parliamentary general to treat.
The close smTendered March 5th.
1613. Not many weeks after, it
was I'egained by the Royalists,
headed by Prince Rupert, aud Villiers
Duke of Buckingham, who both
fought in the breach.

Lichfield was besieged for the
third time in 1646, and yielded only
when the cause of King Charles had
become hopeless. The lead was on
that occasion stripped from the
cathedral, and, with the bells, melted
to make bullets and cannon.


Boute 28. — Liclifield : Churches.

There is a pretty walk from the
Cathedral by the side of Stowe Pool,
passing the spot where Dr. Johnson's
willow stood, to Stowe, or St. Chad's
Ch., an interesting Gothic building,
at the fui-ther end of the pool. The
S. aisle, and the tower with its fine
Dec. window and massive buttresses,
are the oldest portion, the N. aisle,
chancel, clerestory, and S. porch
having been restored. Here St. Chad
was buried before his remains were
transferred to their costly shrine in
the cathedral. The saint lived here
in a cell the life of a pious anchorite.
The Ch. contains a monumental
tablet to Lucy Porter, Johnson's
stepdaughter. His favourite Molly
Aston lived on Stowe Hill.

St. Chad's Well, in a garden hard
by, was looked upon as holy, and
was in former times dressed out with
flowers on Holy Thursday, on which
day the Choristers of the Cathedral
still walk in procession to the well,
carrying green boughs, and sing the
old iuoth Psalm, and the Priest Vicar
reads the Holy Gospel for that day.
The tree called Johnson's willow, be-
cause it was supposed to have been
planted by him, was blown down in
1815. A slip, however, from it now
represents the size and vigom- of the
former one. Johnson's father had a
parchment manufactory near this
spot, and was prosecuted by the
Excise for some infringement of the
law, which may perhaps account for
the son's acrimonious definition of the
word " Excise '' in his Dictionary.

St. Mary's Ch., in the Market-
place, which was of the poorest style
of the 18th centy., had, in 1853, a
lofty toM'er and spire added by Street
at the W. end, and the body has
since been rebuilt as a memorial of
Bishop Lonsdale. Here is the Dyott
family vault, where the members of
this family have been for generations
buried at midnight, There is a
monument to one of the sons of Sir
Richard Dyott.

In St. Michael's Ch., which is out-
side the town, Johnson's father, the
bookseller, was buried, opposite the
pulpit. The inscription on the pave-
ment is by his son, whose own name
appears in the baptismal register.
There is also a monument to Mrs.
Cobb, whom Johnson considered the
" most impudent " woman he had
ever met with. During some altera-
tions, a recumbent figure, supposed
to be that of William de Waltone,
full-length, in civil costmne of the
time of Eichard II., was discovered
and deposited in the chancel. " The
chancel and aisles of this Ch. seem to
have been rebuilt ; the piUars and
arches, the groining of the chancel,
the -woodwork of the ceiling in the
nave and aisles, and the windows
generally, filled as they are with
beautiful painted glass, are notable

Christ Ch. was built in 1847 and
was enlarged in 1885 by the addition
of two transepts. It contains a
wrought-iron screen of good design
at the entrance to the chancel.

St. John's Hospital, in St. John's-
st., was built 1195, soon after the
general introduction of chimneys,
and has 8 of these appendages pro-
jecting into the street like buttresses,
with small windows between them.
It is a curious specimen of domestic
architecture. The chapel (restored)
has an open timbered roof, and win-
dows of Perp. and Dec. date.

The Friary, in Bird St., once the
old Franciscan establishment, is now
a private house, which has built into
the wall the tombstone of Eichard
the Merchant, its founder, together
with some verses in Lombai-dic char-

The Free Library and Museum,
standing in well kept grounds, to
which a recreation gromid has re-
cently been added, is a plain brick

Route 28. — Liclificld.


structure in the Italian style, and
contains interesting local collections.
The Guildhall in Bore St. is a
modern stone building in Gothic
style. There are some tine timber
houses in this street. The Market
Hall may also be noticed.

Lichfield has no little glory in the
number of eminent men born in it. at
the head of whom may be placed
Samuel Johnson. The house in
which he was born, 1709, is at the
corner of the Market-place, partly
resting on 3 stone pillars ; it is now
a restaurant. It is much to the credit
of the corporation that they pre-
sented to him, in token of respect,
the lease of this tenement, which had
been built by his father, and which
he held till his own death. A Statue
of the great moralist, in a somewhat
rustic style of art, was set up in the
Market-place in 1838 by the Rev.
Chancellor Law. The bas-reliefs are
intended to represent events in his
life. 1. Johson. perched on his father's
shoulders, listening to a sermon from
Dr. SacheverelLf 2. Carried on
the back of his schoolfellows to
school. 3. Doing penance in the
Market-place, Uttoxeter, for having
disobeyed his father. After his mar-
riage with a lady twice as old as
himself, he attempted to establish a
school at Edial Hall, a large square-
built mansion, surmounted by a
cupola and balustrades, about a
quarter of an hour's walk from the
city. Among his pupils was Garrick.
Boswell records that, in visiting
Lichfield with Johnson for the first
time, he ascertained that oats, which
Johnson had sneered at as " the food
of men in Scotland," were also the
food of his fellow-townsmen. Other
buildings associated with him are,
Lucy Porter's house in Tamworth-st.,
and that of Mrs. Gastrall at Stowe-

f This episode of Johnson's life has been
shown by .Mr. Crol<er (' Boswell,' p. 6) to be
apocryphal, as it has been proved by the
corpor^ition records that he could only have
been 9 months old when Dr. Sacheverell
visited the town.

hill, which was afterwards succes-
sively occupied by the author of
' Sandford and Merton,' and Miss
Edgeworth's father. Other distin-
guished natives are. Judge Weston,
Ashmole the antiquary. Bishop Small-
ridge, and Bishop Newton.

The George Hotel was the scene
of the ' Beau's Stratagem ' ; the
author, Farquhar, was stationed here
some time as a recruiting officer, and
makes his Boniface praise the ale.
The Swan is one of the oldest
hotels, it was in repute in the days of
Charles I.

On the Monday in Whit-week an
annual fair is held in Lichfield.
The morning is ushered in with bell-
ringing, and towards mid-day, after
breakfast at the Guildhall, the Mayor
and Corporation, in state robes, pre-
ceded by the Town Crier, Constable,
Mace and Sword Bearers, walk through
the town to the Cathedral, and thence
to Green Hill, where a '■ Bower " or
teut, decked with branches and
flowers, is erected ; here cake, wine,
and other refreshments are given
freely to all comers during the day.
The procession usually includes men
in armour, men with " posies " or
flower-bedecked models, representing
different trades, and cars filled with
men at work also represent various
city guilds and fraternities of crafts-
men. The pageant is, in fact, much
like the Lady Godiva show at
Coventry, and sometimes that famous
lady's modern representative rides in
the procession.

There are large Barracks on Whit-
tington Heath about 2 m. outside the
city. They are the depot and centre
for the Staffordshire regiments.

Lichfield has 2 Kly. Stations, which
are connected : the South Stafford, or
City Stat., near St. John's-st., and
the L. & N.-W., or Trent Valley
Stat., on the Burton road, '\ m. from
the Catlicdral.

Borrowcop Hill, J m. S.E. from
the city, may be visited for the sake


Boute 28. — Wnll—Alreivas.

of its view ; of it Johnson wiites,
" I believe you may find Borow or
Boroughcop Hill in my dictionary,
under Cop or Cob. Nobody here
knows what the name imports."

The antiquary should visit "Wall,
a village with a pretty Ch.. and
charmingly situated on a ridge of
wooded hill, about 2 m. to the S. of
Lichfield. Wall was the Etocetum
of the Eomans, though scarcely any
foundations are visible. Coins of
the reigns of Nero and Domitian, as
well as portions of Koman pavement,
have been dug up here, and bricks,
tiles, and pottery may be frequently
found on the road. The Watling
Street passes through it, and is here
crossed by Icknield Street, which
runs from Alcester by way of Bir-
mingham and Sutton Park to Wall.
" A trench, dug northwards through
the foundations of the wall from
which the place is named, and which
formerly, in the memory of the in-
habitants, existed breast-high, brought
to light the base of a square apartment,
with walls of strong masonry, and a
floor of plaster laid on extremely hard
concrete. This apartment had been
plastered and coloured in red, green,
yellow, and white, with well-made
stripes." — Garner. Several of the
objects found are preserved in the
Musemn at Lichfield.

^ m. S. of Wall is Chesterfield,
where the Elizabethan half-timber
manor house of the Aliens is worth
notice. Other hamlets, with names
suggestive of the Eonian dominion,
occur in the neighbourhood, as Eoss-
way, Streethay, &c.

In the vicinity of Lichfield are
many fine seats, of which notice
should be taken.

2 m. N. is Elmhurst HaU (G. Fox,
Esq.) ; and 1 m. W. is Maple Hayes
(A. O. Worthington, Esq.). 1 m. E.
is WhittingtonHall, very near which

is Freeford (belonging to the Dyotts),
a very old seat of that family. Swin-
fen Hall (Major A. Finlay), a short
distance from Freeford. It is a noble
domain, with a fine sheet of water. It
was the property of John Swinfen, a
sturdy Parliamentarian, who fought
against Charles I., he laboured hai'd
to exclude the Duke of York from the
throne, and was a warm adherent of
the Prince of Orange (d. 1694) ; he
was commonly called " Russet-coat,"
from his affected plainness of dress.

3 m. S of Lichfield is Shenstone
(Stat., Sutton Coldfield branch L. &
N.-W. Ely.), which was granted by
William I. to Eobert d'Oiley, and
has been since held by many suc-
cessive Earls of Warwick. Only the
tower of the old cruciform Perp. Ch.
remains ; a new Ch. in the Early
Dec. style was built on another site
in 1853. Shenstone Lodge (the pro-
perty of Su- W. B. Parker, Bart.) is
a plain house of the time of George I. ;
the estate was held by the Grendons
in 1236.

From Lichfield the S. Stafford
Ely. continues a N.E. course, crossing
the L. & N.-W. (Trent Valley) line
(Ete. 31), and keeping parallel with
the ancient Iknield Street, which
runs from Etocetum to Derventio
(Little Chester, near Derby).

28 m. Alrewas (Stat.). The CTi.
(founded a.d. 820), which was one of
the earliest prebends of Lichfield, is
mixed Dec. and Perp., and has been
completely restored. It contains a
Norm, door, a high-pitched chancel-
roof, a good Perp. font, and some
ancient carvings.

I m. S. is Fradley Hall, a half-
timbered house, with the arms of
the Goriugs over the door ; it be-
longed to the Gilberts in the early
part of the 17th centy.

About 1 m. further the Ely. crosses
the Trent close to its junction with

Boute 29. — Birmingliam to Burton-on-Trent.


the Tame, aud very soon after unites
with the Midland Ely. at Wichnor
Junction, and after passing Barton
and Walton (Stat.) arrives at Burton-
on-Trent (see Kte. 29).




Leaving Birmingham from the
New Street Stat, the line pursues a
N.E. course (see Handbook for
WanvicJcsMre), and enters Stafford-
shire at Tamworth.

17 J m. $ Tamworth (Stat.; which
also serves for the Trent Valley
line of the L. & N.-W. Ely., Ete.
30) is a well-to-do midland town,
having a fair number of opulent
residents, and dependent partly on
the surrounding rich grazing dis-
trict, and partly upon its own inter-
nal trade. It is partly in Warwick-
shire, standing on both banks of
the Tame, over which and its tribu-
taries there are several bridges.
There are two large stretches of
common land, called the Warwick
and the Stafford moors, upon which
the inhabitants have rights of pas-
ture. A thousand years ago the
natural advantages of this place
induced the Saxon kings of Mercia
. to select it as a residence. Deeds
and charters exist dated from the
Eoyal palace of Tamworth in the 8th
and 9th centuries. " No one who
looks on the district^ — no one who
sees the extent of its woodlands, the
delightful rivers that water it, en-
riching the spacious meadows that

border them, who sees also the ex-
tensive champaign coimtry, affording
the opportunity of arable cultivation
for pleasure and profit, can be sur-
prised to find that, in the earliest
times, it was the chosen seat of those
who were the conquerors of the
country." — Sir E. Peel.

In the fields W. of the town, says
the legend, the combat took place
between Sir Lancelot of the Hall
and Sir Tarquiu, knights of the
Eound Table ; and a castle was built
near the junction of the Tame and
the Anker by Ethelfleda, the daughter
of Alfred, The town was given by
William I. to Eobert Marmion, of
Fontenay in Normandy, who thus
became Lord of " Tamworth tower
and town." From the Marmions it
descended to the FreviUes and the
Ferrers, and from them, with the
barony, to the Marquis Townshend.

The Castle (occupied by T. Cooke,
Esq.) occupies the site of Ethelfleda's
fort, on the rt. bank of the Tame,
but is mainly a Jacobean building,
placed on a lofty artificial mound ;
its most striking feature is a mult-
angular ivy-clad tower. The haU
has an open roof of wood, springing
nearly from the floor, and is cm-ious,
but very gloomy. Two chambers are
panelled and decorated with armorial
bearings. There is little else to see
in the interior, which is fitted up as
a modern residence. From the leads
of the tower is a very fine view of
the Vale of Trent, Drayton Manor,
and Lichfield spires. During the
Civil Wars the Castle was taken by
the Parliamentarians, and held by
Governor Waldyke Willington.

The Ch., dedicated to St. Edith,
the daughter of King Edgar, who is
buried here, is a very fine building,
of Dec. and Perp. dates, with a
handsome and conspicuous tower,
intended to carry a spire, of which
the base only remains. The first
Maniiion, accorduig to the legend.


Boute 29. — Fazeley — Hints.

seized all the property of the Ch.. but
on receiving a noctm-nal visit from
the saint, he not only restored the
spoil but gave many additional
manors, and made the Ch. collegiate,
which it remained until the Disso-
lution. The Norm. Ch. was burnt
in 1345, but some fragments remain,
worked up in the present building,
which was in part restored by Butter-
field. There is a crypt filled with
human bones, and, in the tower, a
curious double staircase, conmiuni-
cating, the one with the inside, the
other with the outside, both distinct
though intertwining. In the chancel
are several monuments of early date,
presmnably of the Mamiions and the
Frevilles, but the great monument
of the last of the Ferrers has been
placed imder the tower. To the E.
of the Ch. are some rude walls of
early date, and m Church-st. is a
pictm'esque timber house, figured in
Parker's ' Dom. Architecture.'

Thomas Guy, the bookseller and
founder of the noble London hospital
that bears his name, represented
Tamworth for 7 Parliaments ; he
founded some almshouses, and rebuilt

Online LibraryJohn Murray (Firm)Handbook for travellers in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Staffordshire .. → online text (page 29 of 41)