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Lichfield Visit

posted 17 Jan 2018, 01:32 by Phil Williams   [ updated 17 Jan 2018, 01:35 ]
We arrived early with our President Pete and his wife Sue and after finding some Car Parks full, I managed to find the most expensive Car Park in Lichfield only £8!!

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At the Cathedral, we gathered outside but shortly found a number had sensibly gone inside out of the cold. There was a short prayer and then we were regaled with some very interesting history. The Guides were excellent, unfortunately they had to contend with a full scale Organ (5037 pipes) maintenance activity but they pressed on regardless!

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The Cathedral is the only mediaeval Cathedral with 3 Spires and is the Church of St. Chad who was Bishop of Mercia and in 669 he moved from Repton to Lichfield. The first Cathedral was built in 700 AD. Starting in 1085 through the twelfth century via Saxon/Norman/Gothic, rebuilding began in 1085 and finished 140 years later. The walls were originally painted red and figures gold.

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A lot of history surrounded the Civil War when the Cathedral came under several sieges by the Royalists and caused immense damage requiring the Spire to be rebuilt etc. The Victorians carried out massive refurbishment. There are some excellent Statues to local famous people like Darwin/Johnson/Garrick and the South Staffs Regiment and quirky items like crevices in the walls and mouths of stone figures for sharpening swords!
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We then adjourned to Egos for a swift well organised lunch and then back up the road to Erasmus Darwin’s Museum (his Grandson being the famous Charles Darwin). Quite a character with 15 children (2 by his mistress), born in 1731 married his first wife in 1757, built a new Georgian Palladian house in 1761, made a great deal of money as a Physician and turned down the chance to be Physician to the King. He was however very generous to the locals not charging them but went far afield to places ie Chatsworth House and charged these people accordingly. He was a pal of Josiah Wedgwood and
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other members of the Lunar Society and invented a variety of items including a water tank cistern, a steering mechanism for carriages adopted by cars 130 years later. Also a speaking machine and a canal barge lifting system. He was also a celebrated Poet.

We had split conducted guide tours up and down the House including the extensive cellars where Erasmus would use a speaking tube to call up for refreshments. We didn’t have to use it as our very welcome cuppa was waiting with bikkies at the top of the house.

Our President thanked Roger and Sue Dudley for a fascinating look back at amazing local history on our doorstep.

Robin Hart