Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Lichfield, Staffordshire

Brief update after a week off work through illness so very little painting has been done. After recovering I have been on a number of historical day trips with my brother. First up is the small Staffordshire city of Lichfield, notable for its three-spired cathedral and as the birthplace of Dr. Johnson.

Several highlights of the cathedral include:

Trinity stained glass window shows the rebuilding work undertaken to repair the centre spire which collapsed under bombardment during the war.

Located in the Chapter House is a original copy of the the Lichfield gospels, written 50 years before the more famous Book of Kells, saved after a local hid the book to prevent it ended up as fire lighter dring the siege. With this link you can look more closely at the book - St Chads Gospels Lichfield cathedral and even turn the pages.

Also in the chapter house is the Lichfield Angel, recently discovered (2003) and is a remarkable survival of early medieval sculpture. The carved limestone panel, which is dated to around 800 A.D still displays traces of the orginal paint.












Near the entrance to the charter house there are numerous markings either caused by iconoclasts or by Civil War troops sharpening their swords. The most obvious marks are on columns.

On the opposite side of the chancel and easily missed but worth seeing is Richard Bagot’s memorial (just to the left of the Trinity window). Although written in latin it describes how he was a "victim of the recent conspiracy of fanatics". He fought at Nasby and but later died of a gunshot wound to his right arm.
Richard Bagot's details - Sealed Knot

Further along is the Staffordshire regiment chapel with its unique (as far as I’m aware) South African memorial names are written on Zulu shields.

38th/Staffordshire Regiment chapel. Note the miniature Zulu shields attached to the metal railings. The soldiers names are actually written in the bands.













Names of those soldiers from the regiment killed during the Zulu Wars are written on the actual shields laces.













A few hundred yards outside the cathedral is another site connected with the siege.
View of the house on Dam Street outside which Lord Brooke was shot on St Chad's day (2nd March) 1643.
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View from doorway of Brooke's house looking back towards the Cathedral with its rebuilt central spire. It wasn't a 'lucky shot' either by John Dyott, the Royalist sniper, using a fowling piece. A soldier who went to Brooke's assistance was also shot and wounded.















Remains of Lichfield 'castle'. Only diehard fans of castles would find this interesting (hence why I took this photo). This located further up the road on the right hand side in the above photograph. This is actually the base of the gatehouse which was being attacked with the demi culverin gun 'Black Bess'. Brooke was checking progress of this area of attack when he was shot.










Nearby in the Lichfield heritage centre contains the Blithfield Sallet, supposedly worn by a Richard Bagot. Apparently he fought and died for Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth (1485).This family heirloom was later used as a funeral helm, hence an enlarged plume hole to accommodate a funeral crest. It is one of only three medieval German style sallets in Britain; the others are in Coventry and Durham

You can still drink in the hotel where Lillingstone's formed his regiment, the King's Head Tavern in Bird Street in 1705. In 1751 the regiment was numbered the 38th.

Samuel Johnson's birthplace musuem is definitely worth visiting if you're in the area (and it's free!) . And no, I'm not on commission with the local tourist board. 

Newcastle's Whitecoats countdown:
36 down, 28 to go.