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• He presents to the public whatever information he has been able to collect relating to the ancient and present state of the Church and City of Lichfield.
• An Account of the fine Cathedral, of the ravages it sustained during the civil war in the seventeenth century, and of the restoration to its present state of elegance ; a Description of the public Institutions, Churches, Hospiials, Schools, Charitable Donations, and Population ; and Memorials of remarkable Persons, are the principal objects of this History. It is also intended to furnish such materials for reference as abound in similar and more copious works, that it may become an useful Appendage to the Topography of the Country.
• By the obliging permission of the Corporation, the Author has been enabled to extract from the public records, in their possession, which escaped the devastation of the civil war, much curious in. formation concerning the Guild ; and from other authentic docu. ments, which the kindness of his friends supplied, he has selected many interesting particulars relating to the Price of Provisions, the Rent of Land, and to various local Customs and Events. The original MSS. of the indefatigable Elias Ashmole, which are deposited in his Museum, at Oxford, have afforded much important matter, not to be found among other records ; and to the liberal use of the papers collected from the Episcopal Registers by the late Rev. Theophilus Buckeridge, Master of St. John's Hospital, he is indebted for an ample Account of that Institution.'
The work itself commences with a geographical and political description of the place which is the subject of it ;
• The city of Lichfield is a county of itself, bounded on every side by that part of the county of Stafford which lies within the hundred of Offlow North ; and is seated at the distance of 119 miles N. W. of London : in longitude 1. 44.W. and in latitude 52. 54. N.
• Lichfield was not known before the time of the Saxons, being called in that language Licetfeld ; from the Saxon words lece, lec, Lich or Lace, now Lake, from its marshy situation. It is called Licidfield by Bede ; Lichfeld, by Ingulphus and Huntingdon ; Licethfield, by Simon Dunelm ; Lichesfelde, by Bromton ; Lichesfeld, by Gervas; and Lychefeld, by Knighton ; that is, says Gibson, ut nonnullis visum, cadaverum corpus (field of dead bodies), etsi alii malunt interpretare, Campum irriguum, ab aqua quo in duas partes urbs divisa est ; a Sax. leccian, irrigare Hodie, Lichjeld in agro Staffordiensi. The Memorial of the Church of Lichfield says it derived its name of Liches from war.'
In this and in a subsequent part of the volume, we have short biographical notices of the respective prelates who presided over this see, from Dwina who was appointed its first Bishop by Oswy King of Northumberland, on his conquest of Mercia, to its present diocesan. Among its early prelates, it boasts of St. Chad, Cedda, or Ceadda :
• He succeeded to the episcopal seat in this place in 669. He first retired to Lichfield for the purpose of religious solitude, where he led, (as legend tell us,) an eremetical life, in a cell, by the side of a spring, near the place upon which the church of his name now stands, and supported himself upon the milk of a doc. Here, attended by Ovin, and a few other pious men, he was accustomed to preach and pray. The spot thus chosen by St. Chad for his habitation was well adapted to inspire sentiments of devotion. It was in the midst of a wood, and a little river ran by the side of it. The church was small, according to the age in which it was erected ; and here St. Chad was buried.'
• During the episcopacy of Winfrid, who was the successor of St: Chad, and about 674, or 68c, this see, which contained all Mercia or Mid-England, was, by Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, at a council held at Hatfield, divided into five bishoprics, Chester, Worcester, Litchfield, Leicester, and Hereford ; or, according to others, Leicester, Worcester, Lichfield, Sidnacester, and Dorchester. Wina frid disapproving of this diminution of his authority, was deprived of his episcopal functions for contumacy. In the time of Witta, who succeeded to this see in 737, it was again curtailed.'
Lichfield enjoyed for a short time the dignity of being a metropolitian see :
• Although the primacy was, by the papal authority, from time to time confirmed, and established in the church of Canterbury, yet it was not without meeting with strong opposition. An attempt against the dignity of that see was made by Offa, King of the Mercians, about the year 790, who contracted the limits of the Archbishop's province, by procuring a pall from Pope Adrian, for Adulph, Bishop of Litchfield, and with it also the title of Archbishop. He obtained likewise a decree, that the four Bishops of the kingdom of Mercia, and two Bishops of East Anglia, which were the dioceses of Worcester, Leicester, Sidracester, Hereford, Helmham, and Dunwich, should become suffragans, and be subject to the new metropolitan. This accession of honour to the see of Lichfield, Lambert, then Archbishop of Canterbury, was not able to oppose ; though his successor, Archbishop Athelard, after the death of King Offa, soon regained his whole jurisdiction; and the new Pope, Leo, pronounced all that Offa had done, null and void.'
In 1067, Peter its Bishop removed the episcopal seat to Chester ; and it was not restored to Lichfield till the year 1128, when Roger de Clinton succeeded to the see. This bishop “took down the ancient Mercian cathedral, and rebuilt it. Of the old Saxon order of architecture, there is no trace in the present edifice. He is said to have appointed the first canons in this church, and to have increased the number of prebendaries, to have fortified the castle, to have made a rampart round the village, and to have enrolled and mustered the soldiers.'
We have the following account of another great benefactor of this church :
• In 1296, Walter de Langton succeeded to this see. He esjoyed at different times the highest offices of the State, and was higiøy favoured by Edward the First ; but felt the resentment of the Prince, who meanly revenged on him a short imprisonment he had suffered in the time of his father, for riotously destroying his deer. After a confinement of above two years, Langton was rein. stated in his pastoral duties ; and may well be called another founder of this church. He cleaned the ditch around the Close, and surrounded it with a stone wall: he built the cloysters, and expended two thousand pounds upon a monument for St. Chad. He laid the foundation of St. Mary's chapel, in the cathedral, an edifice of uncommon beauty, in which he was interred; but dying before it was finished, he bequeathed a sufficient sum of money in his will to complete it. He built bridges over the Minster pool, which made an easy communication with the city. He obtained a grant from the Crown to lay an impost, for twenty-one years, upon the inhabitants to pave the streets. He improved the condition of the Vicars Choral, by augmenting their income, and by conferring upon them great privileges. He gave his own palace at the west end of the Close to them, and erected a new episcopal palace at the north-east end. This palace was spacious and splendid ; the great hall of which was an hundred feet long, and fifty-six broad, painted with the coronation, marriages, wars, and funeral of his patron, K. Edward I. ; and these costly decorations were remaining so late as the time of Erdeswicke, in 1603. He presented to the church large quantities of plate, and many valuable vestments. He erected that noble gate at the west entrance into the Close, a beautiful structure, worthy of its munificent founder ; and which, in April 1800, was, with a bar. barous taste, pulled down, and the materials applied to lay the foundation of a pile of new buildings, for the residence of necessitous widows of clergymen. He also built another beautiful gate at the south entrance, which was removed about fifty years ago. He built or enlarged the castle at Eccleshall, the manor houses of Heywood and Shugborough, and the palace in the Strand. « The whole Close,” says Leland, “ was newly dyked, and walled by Bishop Langton, who made a gate at the west part, and the Bishop's palace at the east end. The glory of the cathedral church is the work at the west end, exceedingly costly and fair. · There be three stone pyramids, two in the west end, and one in the middle. The library at the west end was erected by Thomas Heywood, Dean. The Prenbendaries' houses in the Close, built by divers men, be very fair. The Choristers have a goodly house lately built by Bishop Blythe."
• In 1541, K Henry VIII. erected a bishopric in the city of Chester, and in fixing its boundaries, lessened those of this diocese. He took away from ihe church the archdeaconry of Chester, united with the prebend of Bolton, and added it to Chester. This archdeacon was heretofore deemed the chief of that order in the diocese of Liicha
field ; by ancient right, he had a stall in the choir of Litchfield, a vote in the chapter, and a good house in this city.
! In the same year, when the images and shrines of saints were ree moved from the churches, with all the jewels and valuable ornaments, and conveyed into the King's treasury : at the request of Bishop I.ee, the King gave the shrine of St. Chad, for the necessary uses of the cathedral church. But the same Bishop had not sufficient influence to preserve the cathedral church of Coventry, far exceeding the church of Litchfield in magnificence, and sumptuous ornamente, from destruction. He wrote in very importunate terms to Cromwell, to prevent its ruin ; “ He was moved," he said, “ so to do, forasmuch as it was his principal see and hedde church ; and that the city of Coventry sued for the same, and so earnestly entreated that the church might stand, and he keep his name, and the city have come modity and ease to their desire; or that by his Lordship's goodness it might be brought to a collegiate church, as Litchfield, and so his poor city have a perpetual comfort of the same.'
• During the minority of K. Edward VI. and the Protectorate of the Duke of Somerset, Beaudesert, and the spacious forest of Cannock, on which there is now a tree scarcely to be seen, and which was given to this see by K. Edward I. were alienated from it. This extensive manor was the property of the see in the time of the Saxons, and in the zoth of William the Conqueror. Bishop Sampson, by a deed, enrolled in chancery, dated Sept. 29, 38th of Henry VIIJ. surrendered into the King's hands his mfanors of Longdon and Heywood, and accepted certain impropriations of inadequate value, as a compensation for them. On the 26th of October, in the same year, the King, by letters patent, granted the same to William Paget, Knight, ari ancestor of the present Earl of Uxbridge, and in the possession of whose family it yet remains.'
In stating the injuries done to the cathedral of Lichfield in the course of the civil wars, Mr. Harwood informs us that
• A pair of organs were broken in pieces, which were valued at 2001. ; the destruction of the prebendal seats, valued at hool.; the demolition of the tomb of Lord Paget, an exquisite piece of work manship, executed in Italy, valued
at 7001,; the loss of all the plate, which was seized by Colonel Russel, when he was Go. vernor for the Parliament ; the loss of some of the most valuable deeds and papers belonging to the church ; and many of the most valuable records belonging to the city, were burnt or carried away from the house of Mr Noble, the Town Clerk, who resided in the Close ; besides the injury done to the walls of this noble edifice, reduced almost to a state of dilapidation, may be enumerated among other melancholy instances of havock and destruction to which this city was exposed during the civil war. About the beginning of October, 1651, the lead was entirely removed from the roof of the cathedral ; and the famous bell, called “ Jesus," was knocked in pieces, July 26,1653. About this beh was inscribed,
o I am the hell of Jesus, and Edward is our King,
· It is to be lamented, that there are no documents among the papers belonging to this church by which the date of the present building can be ascertained. This elegant style of architecture, with its three beautiful spires, (whatever may have been the construction of this church in the Saxon and Norman times,) was not introduced into this country before 1200: about which period, the spires of the churches of St. Paul's in London, of Salisbury, and Norwich, were erected. Soon after the introduction of pointed arches, the fashion of adorning the west end of our churches with rows of statues in niches, and canopies over them, prevailed; as in those of Salisbury and Peterborough ; and in later times in a more improved taste, at Wells and Lichfield. "The church of Lichfield,” says Warton, “ was built at least before 1400 ; for the spire of St. Michael's church in Coventry, finished about 1395, is manifestly a copy of the style of its two spires.” « In the time of Bishop Heyworth,” says Fuller, (who sat in 1433,) “the Cathedral of Lichfield was in the vertical height thereof, being (though not augmented in the essentials) beautified in the ornamentals thereof. Indeed the west front is a stately fabric, adorned with exquisite imagerie, which I suspect our age is so far from being able to imitate the workmanship, that it understandeth not the history thereof." It is a remarkable circumstance, noticed by Plot, that the church declines not less than twenty-seven degrees, from the points of East and West ; the East end declining so much to the North, and the West end to the South. This error was somewhat 'amended by Bishop Langton, “who founded our Lady's Chapel beyond the choir," 150 years after the supposed erection of the church by Bishop Clinton, which is pointed more castward ; and hence it is that the walls of this chapel stand bevil to those of the church, which may be observed by the most incurious eye.
• The west front was richly adorned with figures, emblematical of sacred history; many of which were defaced during the rebellion, The sculptures round the doors were very elegant ; but time and violence have contributed to impair their beauty. The tall spire in the centre was battered down, and the whole of the building reduced almost to a ruin.'
• The Diocese comprehends five hundred and fifty-seven parishes, of which two hundred and fifty are impropriate. It contains the whole county of Stafford, excepi the parishes of Brome and Clent, which are in the diocese of Worcester; the county of Derby ; the larger part of Warwickshire, and nearly the half of Shropshire. It includes the four archdeaconries of Stafford, Coventry, Derby, and Salop. It is valued in the King's books at £559, 185. 2 d., and the tenths of she clergy amount to £590, 16s. 11d.'.
« There was an inn of court in London, called “ Chester's Inn," or “Strand Inn,” belonging to the Middle Temple, in which Oc. cleve the poet, in the reign of K. Henry V. is said to have studied the law. It was built on ground belonging to the bishops of this diocese, who were often called bishops of Chester. Roger de Molend, by his deed dated in 1257, gave and confirmed a parcel of land and buildings, lying in the parish of St. Mary le Strand without London,