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Encyclopedia > Lichfield Cathedral
The West Front of Lichfield Cathedral
The West Front of Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield Cathedral is situated in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England. It is the only medieval English cathedral with three spires. The Diocese of Lichfield covers all of Staffordshire, much of Shropshire and part of the Black Country and West Midlands. The present bishop is the Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill, the 98th Lord Bishop of Lichfield. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2304x3072, 3247 KB) Summary Picture released into public domain by author - Feb 2006 Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2304x3072, 3247 KB) Summary Picture released into public domain by author - Feb 2006 Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Statistics Population: 27,900 Ordnance Survey OS grid reference: SK115097 Administration District: Lichfield Shire county: Staffordshire Region: West Midlands Constituent country: England Sovereign state: United Kingdom Other Ceremonial county: Staffordshire Historic county: Staffordshire Services Police force: Staffordshire Police Ambulance service: Staffordshire Post office and telephone Post town: LICHFIELD Postal district... Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2005 est. ... The Diocese of Mercia was created by Bishop Diuma in around 656 and the see was settled in Lichfield in 669 by the then bishop, Ceadda (later Saint Chadd). ... Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. ... Shropshire (abbreviated Salop or Shrops) is an English county in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom. ... The Black Country is a loosely-defined area of conurbation to the north and west of Birmingham, and to the south and east of Wolverhampton in the English West Midlands, around the South Staffordshire coalfield. ... The West Midlands is a geographical term describing the western half of central England, known as the Midlands. ... The Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill The Bishop was enthroned as the 98th Bishop of Lichfield in Lichfield Cathedral on November 15th 2003. ... Arms of the Bishop of Lichfield The Bishop of Lichfield is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield in the Province of Canterbury. ...

Contents

Overview

The Cathedral is dedicated to St Chad and Saint Mary. Its internal length is 370 ft., and the breadth of the nave 68 ft., the central spire is 77m (252') high and the western spires about 58m (190') high. Chad of Mercia (died March 2, 672) was a monk and priest in 7th century England. ... Gabriel delivering the Annunciation to Mary. ...


The stone is sandstone and came from a quarry on the south side of Lichfield. The walls of the nave lean outwards slightly, this was caused by the weight of stone used in the ceiling vaulting, some 200–300 tons of which was removed during renovation work to prevent the walls leaning further. Red sandstone interior of Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona, worn smooth due to erosion by flash flooding over millions of years Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-size mineral or rock grains. ...


Lichfield suffered untold damage during the Civil War in which all of the stained glass was destroyed. However, the windows of the Lady Chapel contain some of the finest medieval Flemish painted glass in existence. It came from the Abbey of Herckenrode (now in Belgium) in 1801 having been purchased by Brooke Boothby when that abbey was dissolved during the Napoleonic Wars. It was then sold on to the cathedral for the same price. It dates from the 1530s. There are also some fine windows by Betton and Evans (1819), and many fine late 19th century windows, particularly those by Charles Eamer Kempe. The chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and attached to churches of large size. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ... Flanders (Dutch: ) has several main meanings: the social, cultural and linguistical, scientific and educational, economical and political community of the Flemings; some prefer to call this the Flemish community (others refer to this as the Flemish nation) which is, with over 6 million inhabitants, the majority of all Belgians; a... An abbey (from the Latin abbatia, which is derived from the Syriac abba, father), is a Christian monastery or convent, under the government of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serve as the spiritual father or mother of the community. ... Combatants Allies: Great Britain (until 1801)/United Kingdom(from 1801) Prussia Austria Sweden Russia Ottoman Empire Portugal Spain and others France Client States to France: Denmark-Norway Kingdom of Holland Kingdom of Italy Kingdom of Naples Grand Duchy of Warsaw Confederation of the Rhine: Bavaria Saxony and others Commanders Mikhail... Charles Eamer Kempe (1837 - 1907) was a well-known Victorian stained glass designer. ...

The Lichfield Gospels are the gospels of Matthew and Mark, and the early part of Luke, written in Latin and dating from around 730. There were originally two volumes but one went missing around the time of the English Civil War. It is closely related in style to the Lindisfarne Gospels. The manuscript is on display in the Chapter House from Easter to Christmas. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1536x2048, 541 KB)Sculpture of King William I on the exterior of Lichfield Cathedral I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1536x2048, 541 KB)Sculpture of King William I on the exterior of Lichfield Cathedral I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... William of Normandy (French: Guillaume de Normandie; c. ... A line drawing entitled Domesday Book from Andrew Williamss Historic Byways and Highways of Old England. ... The Lichfield Gospels (also known as the Chad Gospels, the Book of Chad, the St. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations which took place between Parliamentarians (known as Roundheads) and Royalists (known as Cavaliers) from 1642 until 1651. ... Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels contains the incipit from the Gospel of Matthew. ... Easter, also known as Pascha (Greek Πάσχα: Passover), the Feast of the Resurrection, the Sunday of the Resurrection, or Resurrection Day, is the most important religious feast of the Christian liturgical year, observed between late March and late April (early April to early May in Eastern Christianity). ... Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. ...


The Close is one of the most complete in the country and includes a medieval courtyard which once housed the men of the choir. The three spires are often referred to as 'the Ladies of the Vale'. A choir or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. ...


History of the Cathedral

Early history and elevation to Archbishopric

The High Altar
The High Altar

When Chad was made Bishop of Mercia in 669 he moved his See from Repton to Lichfield, possibly because this was already a holy site, as the scene of martyrdoms during the Roman period. The first Cathedral to be built on the present site was in 700AD when Bishop Hedda built a new church to house the bones of St Chad which had become a sacred shrine to many pilgrims when he died in 672. Offa, King of Mercia seemed to resent his own bishops paying allegiance to the Archbishop of Canterbury in Kent who, whilst under Offa's control, was not of his own kingdom of Mercia. Offa therefore created his own archbishopric in Lichfield, who presided over all the bishops from the Humber to the Thames. All this began in 786, with the consent of Pope Adrian. The Pope’s official representatives were received warmly by Offa and were present at the Council of Chelsea (787), often called `the contentious synod', where it was proposed that the Archbishopric of Canterbury be restricted in order to make way for Offa's new archbishop. It was vehemently opposed, but Offa and the papal representatives defeated Archbishop Jaenbert, installing Higbert as the new Archbishop of Lichfield. Pope Adrian sent Higbert his ceremonial garment, obviously denoting his support for this move. In gratitude, Offa promised to send an annual shipment of gold to the pope for alms and supplying the lights in St. Peter's church in Rome. However, The Archbishopric of Lichfield only lasted for 16 years, ending soon after Offa's death, when it was restored to Archbishop Aethelheard of Canterbury. Starting in 1085 and continuing through the twelfth century the original wooden Saxon church was replaced by a Norman Cathedral made from stone, and this was in turn replaced by the present Gothic Cathedral begun in 1195. It was completed by the building of the Lady Chapel in the 1330s. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2304x3072, 3061 KB) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2304x3072, 3061 KB) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... The Bishop of Lichfield is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield in the Province of Canterbury. ... Repton is a small village in Derbyshire between Derby and Burton-upon-Trent. ... Principal sites in Roman Britain Roman Britain refers to those parts of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire between 43 and 410. ... Chad of Mercia (died March 2, 672) was a monk and priest in 7th century England. ... Offa (or Alavivaz Olauus) (? - c. ... The general location of Mercia, along with the other peoples of Britain around the year 600. ... Arms of the see of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior clergyman of the established Church of England and symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion. ... Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. ... Events September 14 - Harun al-Rashid becomes the Abbasid caliph upon the death of his brother al-Hadi, and appoints Salim Yunisi as the Abbasid governor of Sindh and the Indus Valley A council is organized in Constantinople, but disturbed by soldiers Beatus of Liébana, Spanish monk, publishes his... Pope Adrian may refer to: Pope Adrian I (772–795) Pope Adrian II (867–872) Pope Adrian III (884–885) Pope Adrian IV (1154–1159), only Englishman who has occupied the papal chair. ... Higbert (also spelled Hygberht or Hygeberht) (d. ... Higbert (also spelled Hygberht or Hygeberht) (d. ... The Basilica of Saint Peter from Castel SantAngelo. ... Nickname: The Eternal City Motto: SPQR: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 8th century BC Mayor Walter Veltroni Area    - City 1,285 km²  (496. ...


The Choir dates from 1200, the Transepts from 1220 to 1240 and the Nave was started in 1260. The octagonal Chapter House, which was completed in 1249 and is one of the most beautiful parts of the Cathedral with some charming stone carvings, houses an exhibition of the Cathedral's greatest treasure, the Lichfield Gospels, an 8th century illuminated manuscript. Links to full descriptions of the elements of a Gothic floorplan are also found at the entry Cathedral diagram. ...


Devastation of the English Civil War

The Sleeping Children by Francis Chantrey (1817), portrays two young sisters, Ellen-Jane and Marianne, who died in tragic circumstances in 1812
The Sleeping Children by Francis Chantrey (1817), portrays two young sisters, Ellen-Jane and Marianne, who died in tragic circumstances in 1812

There were three great sieges of Lichfield during the period 1643-1646 as the cathedral was surrounded by a ditch and defensive walls, and made a natural fortress. 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. Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke, led an assault against it, but was killed by a deflected bullet from John Dyott (known as 'dumb' because he was a deaf mute) who along with his brother Richard Dyott had taken up a position on the battlements of the central cathedral spire on March 2, 1643. Brooke's deputy Sir John Gell, took over the siege. Although the Royalist garrison surrendered to Gell two days later, the close yielded and was retaken by Prince Rupert of the Rhine on 20 April of the same eyar. Rupert's engineers detonated the first mine to be used in England to breach the defences. Unable to defend the breach, the Parliamentarians surrendered to Rupert the following day. The cathedral suffered extensive damage: the central spire was demolished, the roofs ruined and all the stained glass smashed. The devastation was massive. Bishop Hacket began the restoration of the Cathedral in the 1660s, aiding by substantial funds donated by the restored monarch, but it was not until the 19th century that the damage caused by the Civil War was fully repaired. Up until the 19th century, on top of an ornamented gable, between the two spires, stood a colossal figure of Charles II, by Sir William Wilson. Today it stands just outside the south doors. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3072x2304, 2244 KB) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3072x2304, 2244 KB) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey (April 7, 1782–November 25, 1841), was an English sculptor of the Georgian era. ... Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke (1608–1643) English Civil War Roundhead General. ... March 2 is the 61st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (62nd in leap years). ... // Events January 21 - Abel Tasman discovers Tonga February 6 - Abel Tasman discovers the Fiji islands. ... Sir John Gell, 1st Baronet (22 June 1593 – 26 October 1671) was a Parliamentarian politician and military figure. ... Prince Rupert of the Rhine Cavaliers was the name used by Parliamentarians for the Royalist supporters of King Charles I during the English Civil War (1642–1651). ... Rupert, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria (German: Ruprecht Pfalzgraf bei Rhein, Herzog von Bayern), commonly called Prince Rupert of the Rhine, (17 December 1619 – 19 November 1682), soldier and inventor, was a younger son of Frederick V, Elector Palatine and Elizabeth Stuart, and the nephew of King... April 20 is the 110th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (111th in leap years). ... John Hacket (1592 - 1670) was an English churchman, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry from 1661 until his death. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations which took place between Parliamentarians (known as Roundheads) and Royalists (known as Cavaliers) from 1642 until 1651. ... Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685) was the King of England, King of Scots, and King of Ireland from 30 January 1649 (de jure) or 29 May 1660 (de facto) until his death. ...


Victorian restoration

The Cathedral Close with its many fine buildings, is one of the most unspoilt in the country
The Cathedral Close with its many fine buildings, is one of the most unspoilt in the country

Although the 18th century was a Golden Age for the City of Lichfield, it was a period of decay for the cathedral. The 15th century library, on the north side of the nave, was pulled down and the books moved to their present location above the Chapter House. Most of the statues on the West Front were removed and the stonework covered with Roman cement. At the end of the century James Wyatt organised some major structural work, removing the High Altar to make one worship area of Choir and Lady Chapel and adding a massive stone screen at the entrance to the Choir. The ornate west front was extensively renovated in the Victorian era by Sir George Gilbert Scott. It includes a remarkable number of ornate carved figures of kings, queens and saints, working with original materials where possible and creating fine new imitations and additions when the originals were not available. Wyatt's choir-screen had utilised medieval stone-work which Scott in turn used to create the clergy's seats in the sanctuary. The new metal screen by Francis Skidmore and John Birnie Philip to designs by Scott himself is a triumph of High Victorian art, as are the fine Minton tiles in the choir, inspired by the medieval ones found in the Choir foundations and still seen in the Library. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3072x2304, 2779 KB) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3072x2304, 2779 KB) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Statistics Population: 27,900 Ordnance Survey OS grid reference: SK115097 Administration District: Lichfield Shire county: Staffordshire Region: West Midlands Constituent country: England Sovereign state: United Kingdom Other Ceremonial county: Staffordshire Historic county: Staffordshire Services Police force: Staffordshire Police Ambulance service: Staffordshire Post office and telephone Post town: LICHFIELD Postal district... Fonthill Abbey. ... Queen Victoria (shown here on the morning of her Ascension to the Throne, 20 June 1837) gave her name to the historic era The Victorian Era of Great Britain marked the height of the British industrial revolution and the apex of the British Empire. ... The chapel of St Johns College, Cambridge is characteristic of Scotts many church designs Sir George Gilbert Scott (July 13, 1811 – March 27, 1878) was an English architect of the Victorian Age, chiefly associated with the design, building and renovation of churches, cathedrals and workhouses. ... Statue of Robert Hall, by Philip, off New Walk, Leicester . John Birnie Philip (23 November 1824 - 2 March 1875) was a notable English sculptor of the 19th century He studied at the Government School of Design at Somerset House in London, and from 1852 carried out ornamental stone carving for...


Modern history

Fresh restoration work continued throughout the 20th century. In 1957 extensive work was carried out on the roofing and spires, a process which began again in 1987 with a ten year programme of repair and cleaning. Facilities for visitors in the Close have been improved by a Visitors' Study Centre, a tea room and a bookshop. Today concerts and major artistic events are often held in the Cathedral, especially in July when the annual International Lichfield Festival is held. In the year 2000 the Cathedral celebrated its official 1300th birthday with a special Dedication Service.


Gallery


See also

Arms of the Bishop of Lichfield The Bishop of Lichfield is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield in the Province of Canterbury. ... The Lichfield Gospels (also known as the Chad Gospels, the Book of Chad, the St. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Lichfield Cathedral
  • Lichfield Cathedral Web Site
  • Lichfield Cathedral Choir Web Site
  • Lichfield Cathedral Photography Gallery by Tom Allwood
  • Lichfield Cathedral School Web Site
  • A history of the choristers of Lichfield Cathedral

  Results from FactBites:
 
Lichfield (910 words)
Lichfield is a city of Staffordshire, 118 miles northwest of London and 24 miles northeast of Birmingham.
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.
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: Information from Answers.com (2111 words)
Lichfield is a market town with light industries, famous for its three-spired cathedral and its close associations with Dr. Samuel Johnson, who was born there in 1709.
Lichfield (Welsh: Caerlwytgoed) is a small city and civil parish in Staffordshire, 110 miles northwest of London and 14 miles north of Birmingham.
Lichfield Canal is a disused canal that used to run from Ogley Junction on the northern Birmingham Canal Navigations, continuing close to the city and on to Huddlesford Junction, on the Coventry Canal.
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