Lichfield, Staffordshire – Cathedral church of St Chad, Nave and Transepts

Lichfield Cathedral is located at SK 116097, dedicated to St Chad, website here. You can read the whole of the Victoria County history here, but sadly a 360 degree panorama shot by the BBC here no longer seems to be available. Julie and I first visited when we were young and in love. I went on a Precentors’ Conference visit when I was at Bury, and we have been back once since. Today was a chance to have a proper look round. Outside was a bit grey, so we need to go back and walk round properly.

Having entered the Cathedral, one of the first things we saw was a kneeler which reminds us how big Lichfield diocese is. I wonder how different life would have been if I got the job in Oswestry in 2008?

The first Cathedral was built by Bishop Hedda in 700 to house the bones of St Chad. The Normans rebuilt it, and it was rebuilt again in the 1300s. The Lady Chapel is C14. The Shrine of St Chad was demolished at the Reformation, and the Cathedral suffered in the Civil War. By time the monarchy was restored, only the Chapter House was useable. In the C18 the architect James Wyatt reordered the Cathedral, the George Gilbert Scott did another reorder in the C19. The C20, especially the end of it, and the start of this century, have been the times of restoration.

Let’s start in the Nave. This is the West Window.

Why didn’t I move the yellow cleaning sign in front of the Nave Altar, or at least park Julie in front of it? It is a 2003 altar – rather nice.

I think the choir stalls and plastic chairs need replacing with something better.

I think I like the saints by the prayer stands.

There is some good Victorian glass – including St Edmund.

The South Transept and St Michael’s Chapel is an area of remembrance. Dr Johnson, compiler of the 1755 dictionary – go and watch the Blackadder episode – and David Garrick, the actor. The busts are by Richard Westmacott (1799-1872), who also produced the pediment of the Royal Exchange in London – wikipedia is here.

There is a row of fascinating stones opposite – all of them would have wonderful stories to tell.

There are lots of fascinating military memorials too – I like this one with the Egyptian theme. It commemorates the 80th Regiment of Foot, which was the forerunner of the Staffordshires, later the Mercians, and their involvement in the Nile Campaign 1801-2.

The screen by Hardman of Birmingham commemorates the Zulu War (1879). The chapel is a World War 1 memorial.

Pretend you are the eagle, fly up to the roof, and enjoy the windows. I don’t know who made what – just enjoy them.

The south window is a Kempe window, showing Christ in Glory and the spread of the church.

Coming back down to earth – the Rummer is an early C18 goblet which holds 2 1/2 pints and was originally used to measure the daily allowance of beer for each of the gentleman of the choir of Vicars Choral. It is still used annually by the lay vicars as a loving cup.

The North Transept has children’s activities, with an amazing font,a rather nice cross, and a very patient bishop.



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