A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 14, Lichfield. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1990.
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There were Christians, probably with a church, at the Romano-British settlement at Wall, and it is possible that Christianity persisted in the area. Bishops and monks suffered as a result of a Welsh victory at Caer Lwytgoed (either Wall itself or a place in the neighbourhood) in the earlier or mid 7th century. There may thus have been a church or monastery there. The relationship between Wall, Caer Lwytgoed, and Lichfield, however, is obscure. A cathedral was established at Lichfield in 669 as the seat of Chad, the newly appointed bishop. A later tradition that a church had been built there in 656 or 657 by King Oswiu was evidently based on the mistaken assumption that the creation of the bishopric of the Middle Angles, Lindisfaras, and Mercians mentioned by Bede coincided with the establishment of the see of Lichfield. Chad's cathedral and the funerary church built in 700 stood on or near the site of the present cathedral. (fn. 1)
At Stowe, ½ mile north-east of the cathedral, is the church of St. Chad, recorded c. 1190. (fn. 2) Stowe, a name evidently meaning a holy place or a church, (fn. 3) has long been identified as the 'more retired dwelling place' not far from Chad's cathedral to which the saint used to go with a few companions for reading and prayer and at which he died. (fn. 4) A holy well near Stowe church is traditionally associated with Chad's devotions and mortifications. (fn. 5) In the late 12th century special honour was paid to a statue of the saint in the church, (fn. 6) and for one 13th-century canon of the cathedral Stowe was 'that sacred spot'. (fn. 7) When in 1321 the cathedral chapter decided to join the Lichfield Franciscans in prayers for the sick Bishop Langton, it was to Stowe that both groups processed for a service. (fn. 8) A 13th-century topographer, who claimed that Stowe was the place where Chad preached to the people, wrote that there were two minsters at Lichfield, a western and an eastern. (fn. 9) The first was the cathedral, and the second was presumably Stowe. The local importance of Stowe church in the early Middle Ages was evidently reflected in the size of the Norman building. It has even been suggested that Stowe church stands on the site of Chad's cathedral and that his more retired dwelling place was on or near the site of the church of St. Michael at Greenhill, ½ a mile south of Stowe. (fn. 10) There is, however, no evidence that Chad was ever the object of any special cult at St. Michael's, and Stowe remains the likely site of his oratory.
St. Michael's at Greenhill is first recorded c. 1190, (fn. 11) but it stands on a much older religious site. A crouched burial, a type more common before than after the Conquest, has been found in its large graveyard, formerly 7 a. in extent and possibly an early Christian burial ground serving a wide area. (fn. 12) The church occupies a prominent hilltop site within view of Ryknild Street, and the site and the dedication to the psychopomp St. Michael suggest an early cemetery chapel, perhaps replacing a pagan sanctuary. The size of the graveyard led, from the late 16th century, to speculations about its origin. It was suggested, for example, that it had been the burial place of early Christians, victims of a supposed massacre of the followers of the apocryphal St. Amphibalus. (fn. 13) Another suggestion made it a Mercian tribal necropolis. (fn. 14) Its size may merely reflect its function as the principal graveyard for the city and the neighbourhood.
A third medieval church, St. Mary's in the market place, is not certainly recorded until 1293. (fn. 15) According to a note of 1713 in its churchwardens' accounts an ancient inscription in the tower stated that the foundation stone had been laid in 856. (fn. 16) The inscription, if it was not merely a product of antiquarian guesswork, had probably been misread, perhaps as a result of damage. Architectural evidence suggests that a tower was built in the 14th century, so that the date may have been MCCCLVI, not DCCCLVI. The church was probably established when the new town was laid out in the mid 12th century. It may have been served by Thomas the priest (also called Thomas the chaplain) who held a burgage in Lichfield granted to St. Thomas's priory near Stafford c. 1175. At its dissolution in 1538 the priory had a burgage near St. Mary's 'over against Bore Street'. (fn. 17) The church was referred to as the chapel church in 1329, a usage which persisted into the 20th century. (fn. 18) The usual name at least until the early 17th century was the chapel of St. Mary in the market place. (fn. 19)
There has been public worship in the chapel of St. John's hospital in St. John Street since the mid 13th century. (fn. 20) The Franciscan friary established on the west side of Bird Street and St. John Street in or shortly before 1237 and dissolved in 1538, had a large church, and in the 1530s townspeople were attending services there. (fn. 21) About 1400 three of the friars were celebrating obits, probably for the souls of townspeople. (fn. 22) No new church was built in Lichfield until 1847 when Christ Church was built to serve the Leamonsley area.
PAROCHIAL ORGANIZATION TO 1491.
In the Middle Ages the cathedral, like most other secular cathedrals, dominated the religious life of the city. It was variously described as the mother church, the great church, the major church, and simply the church of Lichfield. (fn. 23) Lichfield, however, was unique among English cathedral cities in the arrangements made for the pastoral care of its inhabitants. Although there were three city churches, they had no parishes. Instead the city was part of the parochia (fn. 24) of the cathedral, and its churches were chapels of ease served by cathedral clergy. The system was a similar though more elaborate version of the arrangements found in the parishes of the Mercian minsters which survived the Norman Conquest and developed into collegiate churches. (fn. 25)
The boundaries of the late Anglo-Saxon parochia are indicated by the places which c. 1190 owed the cathedral the due or dues of 'wax scot, which is called plough alms'. (fn. 26) They were the prebends of Pipa Major (taking its name from Pipe, in Burntwood), (fn. 27) Weeford, Freeford, Hints 'and all the chapels' (later Hansacre prebend), (fn. 28) Wyrley, Bishopshull (taking its name from land in Lichfield later known as Bispells), (fn. 29) Stotfold, Curborough, Gaia, and Harborne, the vill of Lichfield, and the manor of Longdon. All lay within the large Domesday manor of Lichfield, which covered an even wider area. (fn. 30) It may be that in the 11th century the parochia coincided with the manor.
By the later Middle Ages, and probably by the end of the 13th century, the parochia had been reduced. Parishes had been formed on the outer fringes, with their churches appropriated to prebends in the cathedral. What remained in the parochia was more or less the area later covered by the Lichfield parishes of St. Mary, St. Michael with its out-townships, and St. Chad with its single out-township. The parochial organization was not based on the three churches. It was instead founded on prebendal estates, with a number of prebendal parishes served by stipendiary chaplains. By the 14th century the city was divided in the main between five such parishes attached to the prebends of Freeford, Hansacre, Longdon, Stotfold, and Weeford. Those five prebends were then the core of the cathedral's prebendal system; indeed they may have developed from the estates held by the five canons at Lichfield in 1086. (fn. 31) In addition all other prebendaries holding property in the city were supposed to make provision for the spiritual needs of the inhabitants of that property. (fn. 32)
Already in the late 12th century there was a short-lived parochial subdivision of the Lichfield area. When Bishop Peche re-endowed the deanery in 1176, his grants included 'a tithe of the rent from Lichfield and of the parish within the borough and without', (fn. 33) and c. 1190 Lichfield was described as consisting of 'the dean's parish' and the rest of the vill. (fn. 34) That division is not found again, and the extent of the dean's parish is not known. The parish disappeared in 1192 when Bishop Nonant granted the dean the church of Adbaston in place of all his other endowments. (fn. 35) Lichfield, however, remained within the peculiar jurisdiction of the dean until the 19th century. (fn. 36)
By the 14th century the three city churches were served by five chaplains appointed by the prebendaries of Freeford, Hansacre, Longdon, Stotfold, and Weeford. In 1241 there were five chaplains performing weekly courses of duty in the cathedral and holding special rights and responsibilities regarding the celebration of mass at the high altar. (fn. 37) There is no indication that they performed duties in the city churches, but it is likely that they were the predecessors of 'the five parochial chaplains' who by the 1330s were responsible for licensing a deacon at St. Mary's. (fn. 38) In the mid 14th century 'the chaplains of the prebendaries in the city of Lichfield' were serving the three city churches. Though appointed by the five prebendaries, they swore obedience to the dean. Three of them celebrated daily at St. Mary's, one at St. Michael's, and one at Stowe. Each Saturday they went to the chapter house at the cathedral to receive instructions for the following week's services from the subchanter and the other vicars choral. One chaplain acted as hebdomadary, or duty chaplain for the week, with another as his deputy. On 14 festivals each year the chaplains took part in processions at the cathedral; whenever the portable shrines of St. Chad were carried in procession, two of the chaplains carried one. (fn. 39)
No chaplain or prebendary had exclusive responsibility for any one city church. Although later tradition sometimes attached Stowe to Weeford prebend and St. Michael's to Freeford prebend, (fn. 40) there is no evidence that the two prebendaries were ever patrons of those churches or that their chaplains had any special rights or duties in them. In 1460 and 1461 the chaplain of the prebendary of Weeford was celebrating mass at St. Michael's and the chaplain of the prebendary of Longdon celebrated at Stowe. It was his course of duties 'in the three chapels of Lichfield' that the Weeford chaplain allegedly disrupted because he frequently went to Weeford on Sundays to hold services there. (fn. 41) The chaplains had some duties outside Lichfield. In 1384 the chapter ordered that the Weeford, Hansacre, and Freeford chaplains were to go in procession to those places on Rogation days. (fn. 42)
The chaplains were stipendiaries with no security of tenure. In the 14th century the chapter was swift to repress any signs of independence among them, (fn. 43) and there is no evidence that they were allowed to hold leases of prebendal land or tithes. Presumably one reason for the canons' caution was that elsewhere such leases had sometimes enabled stipendiaries to become de facto vicars. (fn. 44) It was perhaps a similar caution that kept the chapter from laying down a standard stipend. In the 15th century the chaplains apparently claimed dining rights at the Lichfield guild chaplains' house. One of them complained in 1466 that the senior guild chaplain would not let him become a messmate there, 'contrary to the statute of the place'. There was in fact no such provision in the guild's statutes. (fn. 45)
By the earlier 14th century the prebendary of Gaia Major, whose prebend covered much of the city's northern suburb, was providing a chaplain for his parishioners. In 1335 his vicar choral stated that a chaplain had been dismissed when he became infirm and that the parishioners were then being tended by a priest who also served a chantry in the cathedral. (fn. 46) In addition the priest held burial services at St. Michael's, presumably for Gaia parishioners. (fn. 47) He sometimes celebrated mass in the chapel of John Clarel, archdeacon of Stafford and prebendary of Prees. (fn. 48) In 1401 and the later 1420s the chapter ordered the prebendary of Gaia Major to repress the sexual misconduct reported in his prebend, apparently one of the areas where vicars choral kept mistresses. (fn. 49) The growth of the suburb may explain why Gaia Major was named instead of Longdon as one of the five prebends at the core of the prebendal system in 1426 (fn. 50) and why a chapter decree of 1486 restricting burials in the Close was aimed at the parishioners of Gaia Major. (fn. 51)
Other clergy serving in the city included chantry chaplains at the three churches (fn. 52) and the chaplains of the guild of St. Mary and St. John the Baptist founded at St. Mary's in 1387. The guild ordinances provided that there should be as many guild chaplains as the leading brethren thought necessary, and required them to help the parochial chaplains with the services at St. Mary's. (fn. 53) By then there was also a deacon at St. Mary's supported by donations from the parishioners and from members of the guild. (fn. 54) He was probably a successor of Adam, a deacon at St. Mary's in 1293, (fn. 55) and of William Heringes, a deacon whom the chapter allowed to remain at the church in 1333 after 'the community of the town' had petitioned on his behalf, although he lacked a licence from the five chaplains. (fn. 56) About 1406 there were 10 chaplains at St. Mary's, presumably the five parochial chaplains and five guild chaplains or other stipendiaries. The three clergy then at St. Michael's and the two at Stowe may have been chantry chaplains. (fn. 57) In 1466 there were four guild chaplains and three or four other stipendiaries at St. Mary's in addition to the five parochial chaplains. (fn. 58)
A commission for the dean's visitation in 1356 was directed to the five parochial chaplains; four were described as serving the city parishioners of the prebends of Hansacre, Longdon, Stotfold, and Weeford, and the fifth as serving the 'entire' prebend of Freeford, presumably both inside and outside the city. The chaplains were to ensure that all clergy with chantries, chaplaincies, or clerical income in the city, all priests and minor clergy serving at St. Mary's or in Freeford prebend, and the wardens of the goods of each chapel were present at the visitation. Each of the five prebends was to provide from its city parishioners three or four trustworthy men, clergy or laymen, to make presentments. On the morning of the visitation the five chaplains were to bring to the deanery a list of all those who would be appearing before the visitor. (fn. 59)
A second commission for the same visitation was sent to the prebendaries of Bishopshull, Gaia Minor, Longdon, Stotfold, and Weeford and to their vicars and parish priests. It evidently related only to areas outside the city, except that it included the churches of St. Michael and Stowe. Clergy officiating within the jurisdictions or parishes of the five named prebends were to be summoned before the visitor to show their licences and ordination papers. Five or six trustworthy persons were to be sent from each parish or township, and two or three from each hamlet. The various wardens were to bring their accounts, and everybody was to be ready to make the necessary presentments. The visitation was planned to last six days. On 3 October the visitor was due to deal with the city parishioners, lay and clerical, of the prebends of Hansacre, Longdon, Stotfold, and Weeford, all the parishioners of the prebend of Freeford, and the clergy, funds, fabric, and furnishings of St. Mary's, Lichfield, and of the chapel or chapels of Freeford. That was to be followed by visitations of the extramural portion of Weeford prebend, at Weeford chapel (4 October), the extramural portion of Stotfold prebend and the clergy, funds, fabric, and furnishings of St. Michael's, Lichfield, at St. Michael's (5 October), the extramural portion of Longdon prebend at Longdon church (6 October), the prebend of Bishopshull and the clergy, funds, fabric, and furnishings of Stowe church at Stowe (7 October), and the prebend of Gaia Minor, also at Stowe (8 October). The prebend of Gaia Major was apparently not visited. (fn. 60)
The pattern of the visitation reveals two main distinctions, one between the city and the area outside, the other between the parishioners and the three city churches. The three churches were not associated with any parishioners but were treated for visitation purposes merely as buildings with their own staff, income, and possessions.
The arrangements for the dean's visitations in the 1460s show that the city churches were still not regarded as parish churches. The visitations covered parishioners living 'within the city and the suburbs', the suburbs being streets such as Beacon Street and Stowe Street outside the town ditch and the gates. Presentments were made by street. In 1466 Ashmore Brook was evidently included with the city and suburbs. Penances were not necessarily performed in the church where the offender worshipped; rather it seems that the publicity of the penance was related to the seriousness of the offence. A woman from Stowe Street who had smeared wax from church candles on the floor to the danger of those treading on it was ordered to do penance at Stowe, but a man from Saddler Street who maltreated his wife and kept three concubines at Curborough had to do penance at the cathedral and all three city churches. (fn. 61)
PAROCHIAL ORGANIZATION FROM 1491.
By the later 15th century the system was breaking down. The canons who held the five prebends were not necessarily residentiaries, and those who did not reside left the appointment of their chaplains to their vicars choral or the lessees of their prebendal estates. It was claimed that vicars and lessees sometimes made bad choices, that canons whose prebends included property in the parochia did not normally employ chaplains to serve their parishioners, and that for lack of a priest people had died without receiving the last rites. (fn. 62)
In 1491 a vicarage was ordained at St. Mary's with the dean and chapter as patrons. (fn. 63) The time was presumably chosen deliberately since there was then a vacancy in the see, and the leading spirit behind the ordination was probably the dean, Thomas Heywood. The vicar was to be at least an M.A. and able to preach, and he was to reside in Lichfield. He was to be responsible for all the canons' parishioners in the parochia who were not already being served by a perpetual curate. He had to provide and pay a chaplain to help him at St. Mary's, with another for St. Michael's and a third for Stowe. In return he was to receive a stipend of £30 14s. from the dean and 15 canons, who were charged according to the number of parishioners which each had in the parochia; most of the money came from the holders of the five prebends. The vicar was also assigned the oblations and small tithes from two newly built houses, Lea Grange in Curborough and Elmhurst and a house at Stychbrook, since it was not known in which prebendal parish they stood. He was required to swear fidelity and obedience to the dean and chapter, who were also to be the final arbiters in any dispute which he might have with a canon. In addition he and the curates were made responsible for collecting Easter offerings and paying them to the relevant canons.
In 1502, after the death of the first vicar, Bishop Arundel presented to the vicarage. He asserted that the collation was his by right, and he ordered the dean and chapter to induct the new vicar. They did so, apparently without protest. (fn. 64) When Bishop Blythe collated in 1529, however, the chapter resisted him. They stated that he had based his claim to collate on forgeries, and they collated their own candidate, while expressing their willingness to submit the matter to arbitration. Blythe made a new presentation in 1530, and again the chapter rejected his claim. The dispute was settled by arbitration later in 1530 on terms unfavourable to the dean and chapter. The 1491 ordination was cancelled, and the vicarage was annexed to the prebend of Pipa Parva, thus putting it in the bishop's gift. Reginald Hospys, the man collated by the chapter in 1529, resigned the vicarage and was admitted to Pipa Parva. (fn. 65) His resignation of the prebend in 1531 and Blythe's death in January 1531/2 (fn. 66) put an end to the settlement. In May 1532 the three keepers of the spiritualities of the vacant see, two of whom were Lichfield canons, (fn. 67) revived the ordination of 1491. They denounced Blythe's scheme as having deprived many people of divine service and pastoral care for two years and declared that the reordination of the vicarage would do away with the 'unsettled and absurd' system of pastoral care in the city. (fn. 68)
The ordination of 1491 and its revival in 1532 was evidently intended to be merely a simplification of the medieval system without any attempt at coherent reform, perhaps because of the risk of episcopal interference. The canons continued to think in terms of prebendal parishes. In 1512 during a vacancy in the deanery the chapter held a visitation of Lichfield and its suburbs and of the hamlets of Elmhurst, Curborough, and Streethay, but it was treated as a visitation of the five prebends, then taken to be Freeford, Hansacre, Weeford, Longdon, and Bishopshull. (fn. 69) In 1531 the parish in which St. John's hospital lay remained officially that of 'the parochial or prebendal church of Freeford in the city of Lichfield'. (fn. 70) In the earlier 17th century people still tended to be identified by the prebend in which they lived rather than by the church which they attended. The chapter continued to maintain that the cathedral was the sole parish church of the area and that the other city churches were merely chapels of ease. In 1606 it supported the defence put forward by a suspected papist, Sir John Heveningham of Pipe Hall in Burntwood, who, accused of failing to attend services at Stowe, pointed out that he had worshipped at the cathedral and that Stowe was not a parish church. (fn. 71)
In addition the 1491 and 1532 arrangements left the question of boundaries vague. It was stated in 1563 that the city of Lichfield contained three parochial churches or chapels with cure which, 'having no certain limits, bounds, wards, or number of householders appointed to any of them particularly, do serve the whole city confusedly'. (fn. 72) Outside the city the hamlets in Burntwood immediately west of the city were disputed between Stowe and St. Michael's in the 16th and 17th centuries. Stowe claimed 'two great streets called Beacon Street and Stowe Street and two lanes called Gay Lane and Shawfield Lane' as within its parish, but outside the city it seems to have relied on prebendal boundaries to support its claims. George Boleyn, dean 1576–1603, secured some agreement about boundaries, but the details are not known. (fn. 73) Probably the main pressure for the adoption of sure boundaries came from lay authorities, as a result of the increasing use of ecclesiastical parishes as units of local government.
The stipend of the vicar of St. Mary's was, at over £30, generous by the standards of the late 15th century. (fn. 74) Out of it, however, he had to pay three chaplains, and by the later 16th century inflation had reduced its value. There was no vicarage house, and in 1604 the vicar was a nonresident pluralist. (fn. 75) Several of the vicars were given prebends in the cathedral to augment their stipend. (fn. 76) Bishop Morton tried to solve the problem in 1621 and 1626 by promoting Bills to annexe Freeford prebend, which was in his gift, to the vicarage of St. Mary's and to make St. Mary's a parish church. The 1626 Bill proposed that the vicarage should be held with the prebend and that a house in the Close known as 'the old palace' should become the vicarage house. The incumbent was to reside in Lichfield for most of the year. The Bill also proposed a reform of the rules governing the collection of small tithes in Lichfield. That proposal was unpopular in the city, and the Bill was amended, apparently omitting it. It was then abandoned, probably because Morton did not think the Bill worthwhile as amended. (fn. 77)
In 1646, following the surrender of the royalist garrison in the Close, parliament appointed a lecturer to serve the cathedral. He was moved in 1647 and was probably not replaced. (fn. 78) In 1648 parliament reorganized the parochial system in the city. Two ministers were to be appointed by the committee for plundered ministers and approved by the assembly of divines. Each was to have a stipend of £150 paid from the cathedral's sequestrated property and a house from that property. (fn. 79)
The first two ministers, Francis Tallents and Richard Cleyton, were succeeded in 1651 by William Langley, who preached at St. Mary's, and John Butler, who preached at Stowe. Langley was suspended in 1654 for preaching on Christmas Day, administering the sacrament according to the Book of Common Prayer, and refusing to work with Butler because he had not been episcopally ordained. Langley and the city authorities petitioned the Council of State for the restoration of his salary, but he was not reinstated, although he was still living in the city in 1655. Butler had moved to St. Mary's by 1656 and continued there, with the £150 salary, until his ejection in 1662. (fn. 80) He was succeeded at Stowe by Thomas Miles, whose appointment was approved in August 1656; the previous December the Council of State had granted a £50 augmentation to the minister at Stowe. Miles continued there until he too was ejected in 1662. (fn. 81)
St. Michael's was presumably served during the Commonwealth by one of the city ministers. Children were baptized there throughout the period. Thomas Hubbock, who was curate before the Civil War and again in 1668, apparently remained in Lichfield for at least part of the intervening period: in 1650 and 1651 the churchwardens paid him for preparing some accounts. A Mr. Smith was paid for a sermon in 1654. (fn. 82)
The Restoration brought a return to the arrangements of 1532. In 1693 William Baker, the vicar of St. Mary's and prebendary of Wolvey, complained during Bishop Lloyd's visitation of the cathedral that although he had cure of souls throughout the city 'and for 7 miles about it' and was obliged to employ three curates, he still received only £30 a year and the scanty surplice fees of St. Mary's. (fn. 83) In his cathedral statutes of 1694 Lloyd rebuked the chapter for setting a bad example to lay impropriators in the diocese. The dean and the prebendaries named in the ordination of 1532 were instructed to make no further leases of any part of 'the rectory or rectories' of St. Mary's, St. Michael's, and St. Chad's without a clause transferring the small tithes, Easter offerings, and oblations to the bishop for the benefit of the vicar of St. Mary's. The £30 stipend was to continue until all the rectorial property had been granted on new leases. (fn. 84) In addition the statutes as a matter of course described the three city churches as parish churches. (fn. 85)
The vicarage of St. Mary's remained in the gift of the dean and chapter, although the precise identity of the patrons remained obscure. In 1791 it was impossible to decide whether, besides the dean, they were the residentiary chapter, the full chapter, or the canons listed in the ordination of 1532 as having prebendal property in the three city parishes. (fn. 86) In practice presentations were made by the dean and residentiaries. (fn. 87)
On a vacancy in 1965 a priest in charge was appointed instead of a vicar since the future of the church had become uncertain with the decline of population in the city centre. In 1979 the benefice was united with that of St. Michael's as the benefice of St. Mary with St. Michael. The dean and chapter were the patrons, and the rector of St. Michael's, who was already priest in charge of St. Mary's, was appointed the first rector of the new benefice. The two parishes, however, remained distinct. The east end of St. Mary's was retained for regular worship, but the rest of the building was converted into St. Mary's Centre, opened in 1981. (fn. 88)
When in 1694 the vicar was assigned all small tithes in St. Mary's, St. Michael's, and St. Chad's as leases of prebendal property fell in, he retained his £30 stipend pending new leases. (fn. 89) The value of the small tithes diminished with inclosure and the consequent extension of arable and decline of pasture, and in 1739 Bishop Smalbroke ordered that the vicar was to have the stipend as well as the tithes. At the same time he stipulated that the vicar was to increase the stipends of the three curates at St. Mary's, St. Michael's, and St. Chad's to £30. (fn. 90) About 1830 the vicar's average annual income, after the deduction of £60 permanent payment (presumably to St. Michael's and St. Chad's), was £458, out of which he paid his curate £135; there was no vicarage house. (fn. 91) From 1838 he received a rent charge of £17 1s. for the commuted small tithes of Fulfen, from 1847 one of £209 14s. for the small tithes of St. Michael's parish, and from 1848 rent charges of £20 for all the tithes of St. Mary's and £135 for the small tithes of St. Chad's. (fn. 92) A house in the south-east corner of the Close became the vicarage house evidently in 1851 on the admission of George Hodson as vicar; his predecessor H. G. Lonsdale, vicar since 1830, had lived at Lyncroft House in Stafford Road. (fn. 93) The house in the Close remained the vicarage until the resignation of the last vicar in 1965, and it then became diocesan offices. (fn. 94)
In 1331 John de la Bourne, a chaplain, was licensed to endow a chantry in St. Mary's with three houses and 12 a. in Lichfield. The chantry chaplain was to celebrate daily for the royal family, Bishop Northburgh and his successors, three canons of Lichfield, and Bourne's parents, friends, and benefactors. Already a benefactor of St. John's hospital, Bourne granted it the right of presentation to the chantry, and the first priest was instituted in 1332. In 1345 Northburgh granted the prior and brethren of St. John's the right to present one of their own number, and the king confirmed the grant in 1346. In 1352 the bishop appointed William de Couton to the chantry, with a pension of 20s., on his resignation as prior of the hospital. (fn. 95) The chantry at the altar of St. John the Baptist in St. Mary's, which in 1356 was licensed to receive a house and 16 a. in Lichfield, was probably the same chantry; the altar seems to have been in the north chapel. (fn. 96) The prior and brethren of St. John's were still presenting to Bourne's chantry in 1384. (fn. 97) No mention was made of it at the Reformation, but the priest named Richard Hill, who was then celebrating in St. Mary's and receiving rent given for the purpose from land in the prebend of Freeford, was presumably a chantry priest. (fn. 98)
In 1490 Robert Worth, a Lichfield spicer, and his wife Joan gave half a burgage and a garden in Wade Street to maintain a lamp before the high altar in St. Mary's. (fn. 99)
The guild of St. Mary and St. John the Baptist, which was attached to St. Mary's, was formed in 1387 by the amalgamation of two existing guilds. The guild chaplains, of whom there were four in 1466, were expected to help with the daily services in the church and to be present at the mass of St. Mary and the anthem 'Salve Regina' each day. (fn. 100)
About 1550 several items belonging to the church, notably vestments, had been sold by the corporation and the proceeds spent not only on repairs and new furnishings but also in taking down the altars, removing 'idols and images', and setting up the scriptures. (fn. 101) In 1641–2 the churchwardens removed the communion table and rails. There was a table again by 1662–3 when new mats were placed by it and seats were removed from the chancel. In 1664–5 new rails and a new table were bought. (fn. 102) In 1642 the dean licensed a lecture at St. Mary's every Friday. (fn. 103) A weekly lecture supported by subscriptions was begun in 1656 and was still preached in 1659–60. (fn. 104)
By the early 1680s there were several endowed sermons. William Thropp, by deed or will of 1631, left a rent charge of 6s. 8d. for a sermon on Mid-Lent Sunday. William Hawkes by will of 1631 left a rent of 13s. 4d. for an afternoon sermon on the Sunday before Palm Sunday and another on Palm Sunday. Humphrey Matthew, a Lichfield tanner, by deed of 1645, gave a rent of 10s. for a sermon on the first Sunday after New Year's day. Thomas Minors (d. 1677) left a rent of 10s. for a sermon on St. Thomas's day (21 December). In addition Elizabeth Lovatt had given 10s. a year for a sermon on the first Sunday of Lent, and Michael Nickins 13s. 4d. for an annual sermon. The Revd. John Deakin of Rugeley (d. 1727) left £20 which produced 10s. a year for a sermon at St. Mary's on the second Wednesday in Lent. About 1820 money was still paid in respect of Hawkes's, Matthew's, and Deakin's endowments, and in the 1960s, under a Scheme of 1955, 10s. sermon money was still paid. (fn. 105) From 1725 to 1772 the Conduit Lands trustees provided £10 a year for a sermon at St. Mary's on the afternoon of sacrament Sunday, the second Sunday in the month. For at least part of that time the stipend covered sermons on Low Sunday and Trinity Sunday also. Initially the preacher was the curate, later the master at the grammar school, and finally the vicar. (fn. 106)
Several gifts were made in the 17th century for the repair of the church. By deed of 1615 John Utting of Lichfield gave the income from a house and garden; in the early 19th century it amounted to £8 a year. By 1673 Mary Dilkes had left 5s. a year. In the later 17th century George Dawes left a 10s. rent charge for the repair of the church. All were paid in 1820; Dawes's charity was still paid c. 1880. (fn. 107) In 1773 the churchwardens received £30 from an unnamed benefactor, the interest to be used for the administration of Holy Communion at St. Mary's every Christmas Day. (fn. 108)
On Census Sunday 1851 the congregation was 422 in the morning, with a further 130 Sunday school children, and 585 in the evening. (fn. 109) An offertory collection was begun in 1868. (fn. 110) A parish room in Wade Street was used for services from c. 1876 until the late 1920s and was still used as a parish room in 1933. (fn. 111) A monthly parish magazine was started in 1893. (fn. 112) A parochial church council began to meet in 1898, continuing until 1914; it was revived in 1920. (fn. 113)
A club under the direction of the parish clergy was formed for Sunday school teachers and boys in the first class of the Sunday school by R. P. Ross, curate in the later 1860s. In 1871 it was enlarged to include the choir, and later the same year membership was opened to the whole parish. The entrance fees were 1s. for Sunday school children, 1s. 6d. for Sunday school teachers and choir boys not in the Sunday school, and 2s. for the rest. Cricket and football clubs were formed as branches of the club, with members paying 6d. a month. The club was still in existence in 1878. (fn. 114) There was still a St. Mary's football team in 1921 when it played a revived St. Michael's club. (fn. 115)
The present church of St. Mary is of sandstone and dates from the later 19th century, having replaced a church opened in 1721. The 18th-century church was a rebuilding of a medieval church which consisted of an aisled chancel, an aisled nave, and a west tower with a spire. That church may itself have been a rebuilding, after the fire of 1291, of a church built for the new town c. 1150. The tower, mentioned in 1414, (fn. 116) was probably built in the 14th century: north and south windows in the present tower, blocked and much restored, appear to be of that date. An inscription formerly in the tower may have borne the date 1356. (fn. 117) A south door was mentioned in 1414, and the north door probably existed by then. (fn. 118) In the later 15th century Dean Heywood gave money towards extensive work on the church: £21 for the construction of columns in the nave, £15 13s. 4d. for building a rood loft over the entrance to the choir, £16 6s. 8d. for building a new rood loft 'in the north part', and £8 for glazing 'the principal window', presumably the east window. (fn. 119) The north part was presumably the chapel on the north side of the chancel which later became the burial place of the Dyotts of Freeford. It was evidently the 'St. John's choir' of the late 16th century, a name suggesting a survival from St. John's chantry and the guild. (fn. 120) The spire existed by 1594 when it was blown down. (fn. 121) It evidently fell again c. 1626, and in 1629–30 money was spent on 'topping the steeple', repairing the battlements and pinnacles of the tower, and erecting a new weathercock. (fn. 122) The 'steeple top' was rebuilt in 1668 and four windows were inserted in it. Further work was carried out on the tower in the early 1680s, and it was extensively repaired in 1699 and 1700. (fn. 123)
A gallery was erected at the west end of the nave in 1630 by William Hawkes, who directed that those occupying it should each pay 1s. On the corners of the gallery were paintings showing Diocletian's army and the preaching of St. Amphibalus, with quotations from scripture below. A second gallery was built by the parishioners in 1635–6, and there too the occupants paid 1s. each. (fn. 124) The grammar school had its own gallery by the earlier 1660s. A new vestry was built in 1662–3 and its predecessor was let. A sundial was bought in 1639–40. (fn. 125)
A brief had been issued by March 1716 'towards the damage of St. Mary's, Lichfield, computed at £4,966 and upwards'. (fn. 126) During divine service on the following Easter Sunday part of the spire fell down. Members of the congregation were so alarmed that they broke through the windows to escape; the preacher was lame and simply put the pulpit cushion over his head. (fn. 127) A few weeks later the parishioners decided to remove the spire as the first stage of repairing the church. In the event there was a complete rebuilding, and the new church was opened in 1721. (fn. 128) In 1717 a subscription was raised locally, and preference in the choice of seats in the new church was given to those who had subscribed most. The Conduit Lands trustees gave £100, with another £184 in the later 1720s for further work. The corporation gave £100, and Edward Chandler, the newly appointed bishop, promised four payments of £30 'if I live to continue as bishop so long'. (fn. 129) The church was designed by Francis Smith of Warwick in a Classical style. Built of brick, it consisted of a chancel, an aisled nave with north, south, and west galleries, and a west tower, which, without its spire, was retained from the previous church, though encased. (fn. 130) The new building was 12 ft. shorter at the east end than its predecessor. (fn. 131) In 1739 a number of people, including the bishop and the dean, promised to subscribe varying sums towards the cost of an altarpiece and other 'ornaments' in order to relieve the parishioners of the expense; 'an able and experienced architect' to be chosen by the parishioners was to decide what ornaments were needed. Subscriptions were still being received in the mid 1750s, but the altarpiece was installed c. 1743. It filled the whole of the east wall and depicted the rising sun with the pelican in her piety above. (fn. 132) Extensive repairs were carried out in 1806 by Joseph Potter the elder and again in the earlier 1820s when in addition the exterior was covered in stucco. (fn. 133)
In 1853 the tower was lowered and remodelled in a Gothic style and a spire was added. The work, for which a subscription was raised, was a memorial to Henry Gylby Lonsdale, vicar 1830–51, who was buried below the tower. The architect was G. E. Street, who also submitted a design for rebuilding the body of the church. (fn. 134) The rebuilding eventually took place between 1868 and 1870 with James Fowler of Louth (Lincs.), a native of Lichfield, as architect. It was carried out as a memorial to Lonsdale's brother John, bishop of Lichfield 1843–67; the bishop's son, Canon John Gylby Lonsdale, was vicar 1866–78, and he and his family met much of the cost, towards which a subscription was also raised. The new church, built in a Gothic style, consisted of a chancel with a chapel for the Dyott family on the north side and a vestry and organ chamber on the south, an aisled nave of four bays, and the tower and spire of 1853. The lower part of the tower was dilapidated by 1868 and was almost completely rebuilt. (fn. 135)
The conversion of the church into St. Mary's Centre was carried out between 1978 and 1981 to the design of the firm of Hinton Brown Langstone of Warwick. The cost was met by donations from charities, public bodies, and individuals. The chancel and its aisles were retained as a church. The rest of the building was divided into two floors. On the ground floor a day centre for the elderly and a coffee shop were opened in the nave, with offices, kitchens, and lavatories in the aisles and an entrance hall and gift shop at the west end of the north aisle. The nave can be opened into the chancel for large church services and is also used for meetings. The upper floor is occupied by a Lichfield heritage exhibition over the body of the church and a treasury in the tower. The civic regalia and plate are on display in the treasury together with church plate, including pieces from St. Mary's and the cathedral, and plate belonging to the Staffordshire Regiment. (fn. 136)
In 1552 the church goods included a silvergilt chalice and paten. (fn. 137) The plate now consists of a silver-gilt chalice of 1637 given in 1873 by Canon Lonsdale, a silver-gilt chalice and paten of 1671 given that year by Sir Theophilus Biddulph of Elmhurst, a silver-gilt flagon and lid of 1731 given by Richard Wakefield, a former town clerk, (fn. 138) a silver-gilt flagon, lid, and paten of 1736, a silver paten of 1736, a silver-gilt christening bowl of 1742 given in 1743 by Sarah Adey, two silver-gilt collecting plates of 1743 given by Capt. Michael Rawlins, a silver almsdish of 1870 given by James Fowler, the architect of the rebuilt church, and a silver chalice of 1878. (fn. 139)
There were three bells in 1552. (fn. 140) In 1629 there were four, including a little bell. The great bell was recast in 1634 at Walsall by Thomas and Richard Clibury and Thomas Hancox. (fn. 141) In 1670 or 1671 a peal of six was cast by a bellfounder named Keene, evidently in the Close. (fn. 142) Two of the bells were recast by Henry and William Clibury at Wellington (Salop.) in 1673. (fn. 143) Several, including the little bell, were recast in 1711–12. (fn. 144) The present peal of eight was cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester; he cast eight in 1726 but recast the eighth bell in 1734. (fn. 145)
The church had a clock by 1628, and a new clock and chimes were installed in 1676. (fn. 146) By the later 18th century there was a clock projecting from the west face of the tower over Breadmarket Street. (fn. 147) In 1929, after the existing clock had ceased to work, it was replaced by an old clock from the cathedral, and a subcription was raised for a dial on the north face of the tower. It was still in operation in the later 1980s. (fn. 148)
The church had a pair of organs in 1552. (fn. 149) An organ built by Flight & Robson was installed by subscription in 1826 and a salaried organist appointed. (fn. 150) In 1835 the choir consisted of three men, each paid £5 a year, and six boys, each paid £2 2s. (fn. 151) The present organ was on show at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and was later bought for the church by Canon Lonsdale. It was enlarged in 1907. (fn. 152)
The registers date from 1566. (fn. 153)
No evidence has been found that St. Mary's ever had a graveyard attached. There were some burials inside the church, but otherwise parishioners were buried in the graveyards of St. Michael's and St. Chad's. (fn. 154)
St. Mary's, having been the guild church in the later Middle Ages, became Lichfield's civic church. The bailiffs and the corporation had their own seats there, and the churchwardens provided a sword for the bailiffs' seat in the later 1650s. (fn. 155) In the earlier 17th century the corporation's muniments were kept in a chest in one of the aisles. (fn. 156) The corporation contributed towards the repair of the church in the late 17th century and towards its rebuilding in the 18th. (fn. 157) In 1825 it subscribed 50 guineas to the fund for the new organ, and in 1830 it agreed to subscribe 5 guineas for the maintenance of the organ and choir. (fn. 158) New civic seats were installed in 1945, the gift of the Bridgeman family and the late Mrs. Herbert Russell; they were made by the local firm of Robert Bridgeman & Sons. (fn. 159) It was presumably at St. Mary's that the customary sermon on St. James's day (25 July) was preached after the election of the bailiffs and sheriff. (fn. 160) The church has continued to be used for civic services since the opening of St. Mary's Centre.
St. Mary's was also the church used by the grammar school. Besides the gallery for the boys, there was a schoolmaster's seat in 1682–3. In the 1680s the churchwardens paid a William Kiss to keep the boys quiet during services and sermons. (fn. 161) A scholars' bell was rung in the later 17th century. (fn. 162)
By 1734 the curacy of St. Chad's church at Stowe was a perpetual curacy in the nomination of the vicar of St. Mary's. (fn. 163) The benefice was declared a rectory in 1867. (fn. 164) It remained in the gift of the vicar of St. Mary's until the union of the benefices of St. Mary's and St. Michael's in 1979. The patronage of St. Chad's was then transferred to the dean and chapter. (fn. 165)
By will of 1680 Thomas Bearcroft, rector of Walton upon Trent (Derb.), left a £10 rent charge from Longway farm in Elmhurst to augment the stipend of 'the orthodox preaching minister' at Stowe. (fn. 166) A grant of £200 was made from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1729 to meet a legacy of £200 from Mrs. E. Palmer. (fn. 167) In 1739 Bishop Smalbroke ordered that the stipend paid to the curate by the vicar of St. Mary's was to be increased to £30 a year. (fn. 168) The living was valued at £35 a year in 1803. (fn. 169) Further grants were made from Queen Anne's Bounty of £200 in 1810, £600 in 1811, £400 in 1812, and £400 in 1824. (fn. 170) The incumbent's average net income c. 1830 was £90 a year. Henry White, incumbent since 1805, was also sacrist of the cathedral, vicar of Dilhorne, vicar of Chebsey, and perpetual curate of Pipe Ridware, and he had an assistant curate to whom he paid £35 a year. (fn. 171) The income in 1884 was £338 17s. 8d., consisting of £30 rent from Morrey farm in Yoxall, bought by the governors of Queen Anne's Bounty in 1734, £23 11s. rent from land near Ashmore Brook in Burntwood bought by the governors in 1813, a £25 rent charge for commuted great tithes in Elmhurst granted in 1842 by Dean Howard, £226 1s. 6d. from tithe rent charges granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the rent charge given by Thomas Bearcroft, by then £9, £13 11s. 6d. from Queen Anne's Bounty, £2 from the letting of the churchyard, fees of £8 17s., and 16s. 8d. from two endowed sermons. (fn. 172)
A rectory house was built in Gaia Lane in 1869. The 1½-a. site and half the cost were given by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 173) A new house was built in the Windings on part of the site in 1976; its predecessor was sold and converted into flats. (fn. 174)
The executors of Bishop Weseham (d. 1257) established a chantry at Stowe, endowing it with a rent charge of 5s. 3d. from property in Lichfield. (fn. 175) More property was later granted to the chantry, including a house for the chaplain near St. Chad's. The endowments passed to the vicars choral, and by 1311 the property was so neglected that the chantry had lapsed. In that year the dean and chapter intervened and appointed a chaplain. The vicars protested that they needed the property, and an agreement was reached whereby they were allowed to keep it and the chaplain was appointed as one of the vicars choral. At each subsequent vacancy they were to present one of their number not already holding cure of souls to the dean and chapter for appointment to the chantry. He was to swear to celebrate daily at Stowe and was to receive a stipend from the vicars. (fn. 176) In 1335 the chantry priest stated that he was too busy with his cathedral duties and too infirm to serve the chantry regularly, especially in the winter; he also complained that he was not receiving the stipend from his fellow vicars, with which he could otherwise have paid a priest to serve the chantry. The dean and chapter promised to help him but ordered him meanwhile to carry out the duty. (fn. 177) The chantry may have lapsed by 1431 when the dean and chapter searched their registers for evidence about its foundation and endowment at the request of the 'masters or wardens' of St. Chad's chapel at Stowe. (fn. 178) If it had lapsed, it was revived as a cursal mass. The vicars were still presenting one of their number in 1538. (fn. 179) It may have been the priest's service described in 1549 as having a stock of sheep let for 5s. to support a priest singing mass for all Christian souls. (fn. 180)
In 1408 Thomas Parker, a canon of the cathedral, and three other clergy were licensed to found a chantry in St. Chad's and endow it with 14 houses and 70 a. in Lichfield. A chaplain was to celebrate daily at the altar of St. Catherine at the east end of the north aisle for Parker, for Margery, widow of Richard Walton, and for Richard's soul. The foundation was evidently in fulfilment of Richard's wishes. (fn. 181) The dean and chapter were the patrons, but on several occasions they instituted candidates nominated by others: a chaplain instituted in 1433 was the nominee of one of the clergy involved in the foundation in 1408. (fn. 182) The value of the chantry was given as £10 7s. 8d. net a year in 1546 and £11 8s. 3d. in 1548, and the priest's salary as £9 7s. 2d. and £10 18s. 3d. respectively. At its suppression the chantry had silver-gilt plate and some ornaments, worth in all 1s. 10d. The priest was assigned a pension of £6. (fn. 183)
By the 14th century there was a guild attached to St. Chad's. (fn. 184) A cottage worth 2s. a year in 1549 had been left to maintain lights in the church and such similar items as the parishioners thought fit. (fn. 185)
There was an anchoret at Stowe in the earlier 1440s, and the bishop provided him with firewood and coal. (fn. 186) Two bequests of money were made to an anchoret there in the 1460s. (fn. 187) An anchoret named John Mede was living at Stowe in 1504. (fn. 188) A cottage in the churchyard called 'the ancker's house' was sold by the Crown in 1571. (fn. 189)
In 1645 Humphrey Matthew, a Lichfield tanner, gave a 10s. rent charge for a sermon at St. Chad's on Low Sunday. Before 1674 William Jackson left rent of 6s. 8d. for a sermon on Whit Sunday or Trinity Sunday. Both sums were still paid in 1884. (fn. 190) In the later 17th century George Dawes left a rent charge of 10s. for the repair of the church; it was still paid in 1954. (fn. 191) In the late 18th century, apart from endowed sermons, there was a sermon only once a month on sacrament Sundays. A sermon was therefore preached in the cathedral every Sunday morning for the benefit of the parishioners of Stowe. (fn. 192) By 1812 there were evening prayers with a sermon every Sunday, and that year Henry White introduced a morning service as well. (fn. 193) Easter communicants averaged some 66 in the earlier 1830s. (fn. 194) On Census Sunday 1851 the congregation was 260 in the morning, with a further 130 Sunday school children, and 500 in the afternoon, with 131 Sunday school children. (fn. 195) William Fuller, rector 1894–1918, stated at the time of his resignation that St. Chad's had for many generations 'stood for Evangelical doctrine and practice'. (fn. 196)
In 1833 lending libraries consisting mainly of religious books were being run from St. Chad's in Sandford Street and Beacon Street. (fn. 197) The distribution of an almanac began in 1854, and it evidently developed into a parish magazine. (fn. 198) There were football and cricket clubs attached to the church by 1885. That year the members made it a rule that all of them should belong to the curate's bible class and that persistent bad language during play should be punished by expulsion. A large number of young men started to attend the class every week, and many also attended church services and Sunday evening lectures. It was claimed that there was a marked change in language and conduct which spread to other clubs in the city. (fn. 199) A youth club was started in 1886 by the rector, John Graham, and three assistants. (fn. 200) A St. Chad's Sick and Benefit Society was established in 1891. (fn. 201) Richard Arblaster of Longdon Green (d. 1873) left £100 to St. Chad's, the income to be used to provide 'kneelings' for the poor, to heat the church, and to meet other expenses of divine service; the legacy became payable after the death of his widow in 1893. (fn. 202) A surpliced boys' choir was formed in 1893. (fn. 203)
No. 20 Gaia Lane was used as a parish room from 1928 until 1933 or later. (fn. 204) Land was bought in Curborough Road as the site for a church hall evidently in 1942. In 1960, with the development of the Wheel Lane area, a new site was bought in the Leasowe, and the foundation stone of the hall there was laid in 1963. The other site was sold. (fn. 205)
Mission centres had been opened in St. Chad's schoolroom in Stowe Street and in Cross in Hand Lane by 1871. The mission at the school continued until c. 1903. The other was replaced c. 1874 by a mission room in Beacon Street, which continued until its replacement c. 1903 by a room in Gaia Lane, itself closed c. 1906. (fn. 206) The parish room in Gaia Lane was apparently used as a mission room also. (fn. 207)
St. Chad's church consists of a chancel with a north vestry, an aisled and clerestoried nave of five bays with a south porch, and a west tower. (fn. 208) It is built of sandstone except for the nave clerestory, which is of brick. The plan of the nave and aisles is notable for aisles of the same width as the nave, and it has probably been little changed since the 12th century. (fn. 209) The 12thcentury nave, from which a blocked window survives at the west end, was tall, and its steeply pitched roof probably continued over the aisles, though pierced over the south aisle by five steeply pitched transeptal roofs. In the 13th century the arcades were rebuilt, beginning with that on the south, and a new south doorway was inserted; a late medieval door survives. The chancel too was rebuilt in the 13th century. Its east end was rebuilt or extended in the 14th century, the date of the east window and the first windows on the north and south. Most of the aisle windows appear to have been renewed in that period, and the transeptal roofs in the south aisle had been removed by then. The tower was added in the same century. (fn. 210) There was formerly a building against its north side; it was removed in the early 18th century, but its roof line can still be seen. It was probably an anchoret's cell, although the antiquary William Stukeley stated in 1736 that it was St. Chad's oratory. (fn. 211) The windows at the western end of the chancel were remodelled in the 15th century. Clerestories were added to the chancel and the nave c. 1500.
There was a north door by the 1780s. (fn. 212) In 1790 it was agreed that the vestry spoiled the appearance of the church and that a new vestry should be built in the tower, the old one being replaced by a pew. The seating was irregular and out of repair, and it was decided to provide new pews. It was also agreed that the roof should be rebuilt. The work was carried out to the design of Joseph Potter the elder, and Jane Gastrell of Stowe House met over half the cost. (fn. 213) The altar removed from the cathedral about that time was brought to St. Chad's; (fn. 214) the present altar rails are of the later 17th century and may also have come from the cathedral. In 1812 Richard Wright, a Lichfield surgeon, presented the church with a copy of Rubens's 'Crucifixion', formerly the centre piece of the cathedral's reredos, and it was placed over the altar. It had been removed by 1859, and in 1875 it was in the vestry. (fn. 215) In the later 1980s it hung in the southwest corner of the church. In 1824 a gallery was erected by subscription to provide more free seats. (fn. 216)
A restoration of the interior was carried out by Thomas Johnson of Lichfield in 1841. He did further work in 1848 and 1849, notably the rebuilding and enlarging of the north aisle. Most of the cost was raised by subscription. In 1852 the gallery was taken down. (fn. 217) The chancel was restored in 1856 to the design of Ewan Christian; its clerestory was removed, and a vestry was built on the north side. (fn. 218) The tower and the exterior of the church were restored in the later 1880s with J. O. Scott as architect; a turret was added to the tower. An appeal was launched for the restoration 'as a diocesan monument to St. Chad'. (fn. 219) In the mid 1890s the pulpit and reading desk on the north side of the chancel arch were replaced by a pulpit on the south side. At the same time the organ, moved when the gallery was taken down, was transferred from the south-west corner of the nave to the east end of the north aisle, and a choir vestry was formed next to it. Between then and 1905 the box pews were gradually replaced. (fn. 220) A reredos was erected in 1897 in memory of Canon John Graham, incumbent 1854–93. (fn. 221) In 1925 the 15th-century font was moved from its position in the nave near the south door to a baptistery formed at the west end of the south aisle at the expense of Lord Charnwood, who lived at Stowe House. (fn. 222) A statue of St. Chad was placed over the south porch in 1930 by Lady Blomefield in memory of her husband, Sir Thomas Blomefield of Windmill House (d. 1928). (fn. 223) In 1949 a screen was erected across the tower arch in memory of Alderman J. R. Deacon (d. 1942) by his widow; it was made by his firm, J. R. Deacon Ltd. (fn. 224) The east end of the south aisle was formed into a Lady chapel in 1952 as a memorial to the fallen of the Second World War. (fn. 225)
The monuments in the church include two in the south wall of the chancel with Johnsonian connexions. One is to Lucy Porter (d. 1786), Dr. Johnson's step-daughter. Below it is a memorial to Catherine Chambers (d. 1767), servant to Michael Johnson and his family. It was erected in 1910 after her tomb and that of Lucy Porter had been discovered during work on the chancel floor. (fn. 226)
In 1552 the church goods included a silvergilt chalice and paten. A latten cross, a brass holy-water stock, a wooden sepulchre, a vestment, and several cloths had been sold by the corporation and the proceeds used in taking down altars and repairing the church. (fn. 227) The plate now consists of a silver-gilt chalice and paten dated 1634 and given by John Hammersley, a silver flagon and lid of 1751 evidently given by Elizabeth Rutter, two silver collecting plates made and acquired in 1798, a silver bread plate of 1835 given in 1836 by Thomas Heywood to mark his appointment as parish clerk, an office held by his father and grandfather, and a silver chalice of 1865. (fn. 228)
In 1552 there were three bells and a sanctus bell. (fn. 229) One of the three was presumably the bell once thought to be dated 1255 but in fact probably cast at Nottingham c. 1500. It forms one of a peal of four. Of the other three bells, one was cast in 1665 by William Clibury at Wellington (Salop.) and two in 1664 and 1670, apparently by Thomas Clibury of Wellington. (fn. 230)
The registers date from 1635; there are few entries between 1640 and 1654. (fn. 231)
The churchyard was enlarged by 1/8 a. in the early 1780s, part of the cost being met by Lord Gower and George Anson. (fn. 232) There were further additions of ¼ a. in 1828, ⅓ a. in 1937, ⅓ a. in 1958, and nearly ½ a. in 1969. (fn. 233) A house adjoining the churchyard north-west of the church was let to the parish by the vicars choral in 1781 and used as a poorhouse. By the later 1830s it was occupied by the sexton. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners, having acquired most of the property of the vicars choral in 1872, conveyed the house to the rector in 1885. (fn. 234) It was still occupied by the sexton in the 1950s but no longer stands. (fn. 235)
St. Chad's well further north-west of the church was in the 16th century traditionally associated with the saint: John Leland described it as 'a thing of pure water', with a stone in the bottom on which according to tradition St. Chad used to stand naked and pray. (fn. 236) In the earlier 18th century the water was thought to be good for sore eyes. (fn. 237) The churchwardens of St. Chad's paid for the cleaning of the well in the late 1820s. In the 1830s the supply of water was improved under the supervision of James Rawson, a local physician, and at his instigation an octagonal stone structure was built over the well. (fn. 238) After the water had dried up in the early 1920s, the well was lined with brick and a pump was fitted to the spring which fed it. In 1923 the rector held a service to inaugurate the pump. (fn. 239) An annual Roman Catholic pilgrimage to the well, drawing support from all over the Midlands, was started in 1922 and continued into the 1930s. (fn. 240) There was an Anglican pilgrimage in 1926. (fn. 241)
By 1941 the well was derelict, and Bishop Woods appointed a commission to consider the future of the site. A scheme for restoration was drawn up by Frederick Etchells of West Challow, in Letcombe Regis (Berks.). A trust was established and an appeal launched. The nearby Littleworth cottages were demolished and a caretaker's house was built on the site. The foundation stone was laid by the Princess Royal in 1947, and the house was opened in 1949 by the duchess of Gloucester as patron of the Friends of Lichfield Cathedral. It was later occupied as a curate's house and by 1984 was a centre for the unemployed. The well had been restored by the early 1950s. The octagonal building was replaced by an open structure with a tiled roof which in the later 1980s was covered with a vine. (fn. 242)
By 1728 the curacy of St. Michael's was a perpetual curacy in the nomination of the vicar of St. Mary's. (fn. 243) The benefice was declared a rectory in 1867. (fn. 244) It remained in the gift of the vicar of St. Mary's until 1979 when the two benefices were united as the benefice of St. Mary with St. Michael. The dean and chapter became the patrons, and the rector of St. Michael's was appointed the first rector. The two parishes, however, remain distinct. (fn. 245)
In 1739 Bishop Smalbroke ordered that the stipend paid to the curate by the vicar of St. Mary's was to be increased to £30 a year. (fn. 246) Meanwhile in 1729 a grant of £200 was made from Queen Anne's Bounty to meet gifts of £100 from Henry Raynes and £100 from Mrs. E. Palmer; there were further grants of £200 in 1756, £200 in 1810, and £1,000 in 1812. (fn. 247) The living was valued at £45 in 1803. (fn. 248) The incumbent's average net income c. 1830 was £137 a year, but there was no glebe house. (fn. 249) In 1842 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners granted an augmentation of £17 a year. (fn. 250) The income in 1884 was £337, consisting of £40 rent from Morrey farm at Yoxall, £29 from land in Shenstone and at Ashmore Brook in Burntwood and elsewhere in St. Michael's parish, £190 from commuted tithes, a £44 stipend from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, £7 from Queen Anne's Bounty, £12 from the letting of the churchyard for grazing, and fees averaging £25. (fn. 251) In 1858 a house for the incumbent was built in Trent Valley Road on a site opposite the church given by the earl of Lichfield; it was of brick in a Tudor style. (fn. 252) It was demolished after a new house was built to the south-west in St. Michael Road in the mid 1970s. (fn. 253) The new house remains the rectory house for the combined benefice.
Under the will of Robert de Hulton (d. 1273) his executors founded a chantry in St. Michael's for the souls of Robert, his wife Hawise, and their forebears buried in the churchyard. As the endowment they conveyed 7 a. and 5s. rent to Robert's son Robert, who substituted 10s. rent from Morughale (in Streethay) and Lichfield and added other rents and a meadow near Wychnor bridge in Tatenhill. The executors presented the first chaplain but granted Robert and his heirs the presentation of future chaplains, evidently to the precentor of the cathedral for institution. (fn. 254) Lettice, widow of Henry Bendy, gave land in Longdon to the chantry. (fn. 255) The chaplain was still celebrating in St. Michael's in 1394, but the chantry and its endowments were later annexed to the chantry of St. Radegund in the cathedral. (fn. 256)
In 1344 William Walton of Lichfield gave 3 a. in Lichfield for 200 years to a group described as parishioners of the chapel of St. Michael and to William Meys, keeper of the lights and fabric of the chapel. The gift was made to provide a light in the chapel on feast days for William during his lifetime, and after his death for his soul and the souls of his wife Margaret, Master Adam Walton, and Isabel de Rokeby. It was also for the support of a chaplain celebrating on 6 February, the morrow of the feast of St. Agatha. The land was worth £11 8s. 3d. net in 1549. (fn. 257) Walton also gave a 3s. rent from a burgage in Lichfield to the Hulton chantry priest. (fn. 258)
In 1344 William Story of Morughale, in fulfilment of his father's will, gave 4d. rent from land there to maintain a lamp in St. Michael's. (fn. 259) In 1349 Maud Atwall gave land in Lichfield for lights in St. Michael's and for a priest to celebrate on the feast of St. Mark (25 April). The rent from the land was 3s. 4d. in 1549. In 1508 Thomas Chatterton gave 12d. rent from land in Fulfen in Streethay to maintain two tapers before the statue of Our Lady and St. Catherine in St. Michael's. Before 1548 a John Atkin gave land by then worth 4s. 8d. a year for an obit there. In 1549 what was called the priest's service was stated to have been endowed by William Allen and his wife Joan with land in Lichfield then let for 12s. (fn. 260)
There was a guild of St. Michael in the early 16th century. (fn. 261)
In 1693 the precentor stated that the rectorial prebendaries had neglected the spiritual needs of St. Michael's until the arrival in 1683 of Dean Addison, who frequently preached and catechized there. (fn. 262) In 1694 Bishop Lloyd, finding that there was no regular preaching at the church, ordered that, pending the proper endowment of St. Mary's vicarage, the dean and other prebendaries whose predecessors had been party to the agreement of 1532 should preach in the afternoon at St. Michael's, in person or by a substitute, on those Sundays when they preached at the cathedral in the morning. The dean and the residentiary canons were also to preach twice a year at St. Michael's, in person or by a substitute. (fn. 263) About 1720 the prebendaries began asking leave to drive up to the church door in bad weather. The parishioners would not grant permission, and in 1723 the prebendaries refused to attend in person until permission was granted. Instead, to the annoyance of the parishioners, they sent one of the vicars choral, providing him with a set of printed sermons for the whole year. Bishop Chandler intervened in 1724, and the permission was evidently given. (fn. 264) In the late 18th century there was a sermon only once a month on sacrament Sunday, and a sermon was therefore preached in the cathedral every Sunday morning for the benefit of the parishioners of St. Michael's. (fn. 265)
In 1785 the vestry voted £1 1s. a quarter for 'a person to teach the singers to sing'. (fn. 266) Rules were drawn up for a society of singers in 1820. The men were to receive £2 12s. each a year and the boys £1 1s.; anyone absent from divine service, except by reason of illness, was to be fined 6d. a time. (fn. 267) On Census Sunday 1851 the congregation was 150 in the morning, with a further 85 Sunday school children, and 270 in the evening, with 85 Sunday school children. (fn. 268) A parochial library existed by 1856, and from 1860 it was housed in the school built that year. (fn. 269) A parish magazine was started in 1887. (fn. 270) On winter Saturday evenings in the earlier 1890s 'free and easies' were held in the boys' schoolroom for the working men of Greenhill. They began in January 1890, when there was also a Sunday evening meeting devoted to 'sacred melody and reading'. (fn. 271) The parish hall in St. Michael Road was opened in 1953 on a site given by F. D. Winterton. (fn. 272)
About 1300 Geoffrey le Wyte of Lichfield gave St. Michael's 4d. rent from his house near the church; the keepers of the fabric and lights had the right to distrain for it. (fn. 273) By the early 1530s the churchwardens received £4 5s. 8d. from 11 tenants of property in Lichfield and Fulfen, (fn. 274) but in 1585–6 there were only five tenants and the income was £2 19s. In 1732 it was £7 3s. 6d. (fn. 275) By will of 1765 John Deakin of Lichfield left rents for beautifying St. Michael's. The rents amounted to £38 15s. in 1784, and in 1797 the vestry decided to use them to meet the cost of replacing the pulpit, desk, and seats. (fn. 276) St. Michael's Church Lands trust (later St. Michael's Church trust) was established in 1811. The churchwardens vested the property, all of it still in Lichfield and Fulfen, in six trustees. The appointment of future trustees lay with the vestry. The long leases were replaced by annual tenancies, and by c. 1820 the income had risen to £125 2s. There was, however, a debt of £880, the residue of loans raised to compensate the tenants for the surrender of their leases and to pay for repairs and improvements. (fn. 277) Some of the land was sold in 1855, and the proceeds with other funds were used to pay off the creditors at 10s. in the £. (fn. 278) It was stated in 1868 that the income of the trust combined with pew rents was sufficient to keep the church and churchyard in repair so that no church rate was levied in the parish. (fn. 279) In 1983 the trust's income was £1,160.32, derived entirely from investments. (fn. 280)
St. Michael's church stands within a large churchyard on a hilltop site on the south side of the road to Burton. It is built of sandstone and consists of a chancel with a south vestry and organ chamber, an aisled and clerestoried nave of four bays with a north porch, and a west tower with a recessed spire. (fn. 281) In the 13th century it consisted only of a chancel and a nave; a lancet window survives at the west end of the nave, opening into the later tower. A south aisle was added in the 14th century, and it was perhaps then that all but one of the six side windows in the chancel were rebuilt and the clerestories added. Later, probably in the 15th century, a north aisle, with a north porch, and a tower and spire were added and an east window was inserted. (fn. 282) The spire was blown down in 1594; in 1601 money was spent on 'topping' and repairing the tower and making a weathercock. (fn. 283)
In the later 18th century a family mausoleum was built in the angle of the chancel and the south aisle by the earl (later marquess) of Donegall, who lived at Fisherwick from c. 1760 until his death in 1799. (fn. 284) A gallery was erected at the west end of the nave for the singers c. 1780, although three of the seats were reserved for letting to help towards the cost. (fn. 285) In 1784 a faculty was granted for a vestry room on a plot of ground at the south-east end of the church, so that vestry meetings would no longer have to be held in the church. (fn. 286) There was a vestry (presumably a robing room) in the north-west corner of the church in 1786, but by 1797 it was in the base of the tower. (fn. 287) In 1798 and 1799 the pulpit and desk on the south side of the chancel arch were rebuilt and new pews were installed. In the south aisle a door was blocked and a new one built to the west opposite the north door. It was apparently then that all but one of the windows on both sides of the chancel and those in the north aisle were replaced by two-light Decorated windows. (fn. 288) An organ was installed in the gallery in 1816; it was replaced by subscription in 1825. (fn. 289)
The nave was restored in 1842 and 1843 to the design of Thomas Johnson of Lichfield. (fn. 290) Much of the inspiration came from the banker Richard Greene, a churchwarden and also the secretary of the Lichfield Society for the Encouragement of Ecclesiastical Architecture, founded in 1841. He contributed £100 towards the appeal in 1841 to supplement the rate levied for the work; other contributions included £50 from the Hon. H. E. J. Howard, dean of Lichfield, and £25 from Queen Adelaide, the queen dowager. The work included the reroofing of the nave, the repair of the side aisles and the nave clerestory, the reintroduction of Perpendicular windows in the north aisle, the rebuilding of the north porch, and the remodelling of the south aisle with new buttresses and a south door in place of a window. The gallery was removed. The mausoleum and the vestry room were replaced by a stokehold over which a clergy vestry was built with doors into the chancel and the south aisle; an organ loft was built over the vestry.
In 1845 and 1846 the chancel was restored to the design of Sydney Smirke. The east window was turned into a three-light window, all the side windows became single lancets, and the clerestory was removed. The whole was plastered. A recessed 13th-century tomb of a civil lawyer was uncovered in the north wall. (fn. 291)
In the late 1870s a stone pulpit was erected, and in the mid 1880s new seating was installed. (fn. 292) Extensive work was carried out in 1890 and 1891 to the design of J. O. Scott. The chancel was restored and refurbished, largely at the expense of the rector, C. E. Hubbard. The plaster was removed and the stonework renewed. The jambs and tracery of the medieval east window were uncovered and restored. It was not until 1897 that enough money was available for new glass, depicting the Ascension, to be inserted. The tower was repaired and the internal lancet window unblocked. (fn. 293) In 1906 the spire, damaged by a storm, was restored and a new vane erected. (fn. 294) A new vestry in the south-east angle of the church was dedicated in 1923. (fn. 295) The stone pulpit was replaced by one of oak in 1926. A baptistery was formed at the west end of the south aisle in 1958, the font of 1669 being moved there from a position near the north door. In 1980 a kitchen and lavatories were installed in the base of the tower. (fn. 296)
In the centre of the nave is a floor slab commemorating Samuel Johnson's father Michael (d. 1731), his mother Sarah (d. 1759), and his brother Nathaniel (d. 1737), all of whom were buried in the church. It was placed there in 1884 to mark the centenary of Johnson's own death. The inscription on it is that composed by Johnson for an earlier stone which he ordered a few days before he died; that stone was removed when the church was repaved in the late 1790s. (fn. 297)
In 1552 the church possessed a silver-gilt chalice and paten. Some of the church's possessions, including several brass items, had been sold by the corporation to buy a bible in English, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Paraphrases of Erasmus and to repair the church. (fn. 298) In 1651 the plate included a double and a single flagon. (fn. 299) A flagon, three plates, and a basin were bought in 1683. (fn. 300) At some date a silver-gilt chalice and paten of 1684 were acquired. They were sold with a pewter flagon and plates in 1852 to a Birmingham firm in part payment for a new set of plate. The chalice and paten of 1684 were bought the same year by St. Clement's, Oxford, and attempts in 1892 and 1923 to recover them for St. Michael's were unsuccessful. (fn. 301)
There were three bells in 1552. (fn. 302) A peal of six was cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester in 1722 or 1723. (fn. 303) The third and fourth bells were recast in 1919 by James Barwell Ltd. of Birmingham. (fn. 304) A clock was installed in the tower c. 1814. (fn. 305)
The registers date from 1574. (fn. 306) There are few entries between 1642 and 1655.
The large churchyard around St. Michael's has long been the main burial ground for the city, and from early times it evidently served a wide area. (fn. 307) Formerly 7 a. in extent, it was extended by 2 a. in 1944. (fn. 308) Its wall and hedge were mentioned in 1586. Besides the lich gate on the north side, a south gate and a south stile were mentioned in 1710. (fn. 309) The main approach from the north was planted in 1751 with elms, felled in 1958 as unsafe. (fn. 310) On the north side is the mausoleum of J. T. Law, chancellor of the diocese 1821–54 (d. 1876), and his wife Lady Charlotte (d. 1866). Erected by 1864, it was originally surmounted by a clock with two dials, which was lit at night and was intended to remind those on their way to Trent Valley station both of the time of day and of the shortness of their time on earth. (fn. 311)
Since St. Mary's had no graveyard, most of its parishioners were buried at St. Michael's. (fn. 312) In 1886 the vicar of St. Mary's agreed to conduct the funerals of his parishioners in St. Michael's churchyard, but he stressed that by ancient custom the duty was the rector's. (fn. 313) From 1888 an annual collection was taken at St. Mary's towards the cost of maintaining St. Michael's churchyard. At first £10 a year was paid to St. Michael's, but the sum dwindled and payment ceased in 1920. In 1922 and 1924 St. Mary's paid £3 3s. (fn. 314) In 1933 the two churches collaborated in the purchase of the land later used to extend the churchyard. (fn. 315) By the 1980s the old part was maintained by the city council. (fn. 316)
The pasture of the churchyard was being let each year by the 1530s. (fn. 317) By 1801 it was the custom that only parishioners living at Greenhill had the right of pasture in the churchyard, for which they paid the churchwardens a stated sum, but of the 40 or more people entitled only 11 exercised the right. (fn. 318) In 1774 a meeting of parishioners ordered the construction of a separate gate for cows and wagons. (fn. 319) The vestry decided in 1801 that only sheep should be grazed, since the pasturing of cattle was a cause of damage and a desecration. The residents of Greenhill were empowered to choose two of their number to help the churchwardens and to look after the residents' rights. (fn. 320) Cows, however, continued to be grazed, and one killed a child in the churchyard in 1809. (fn. 321) The order of 1801 was repeated in 1811, when it was decided to lease a field where those claiming the right to pasture cows could put in one beast under the supervision of one of themselves and one of the churchwardens. The rent was to be paid out of the rent of the churchyard, any deficiency being met by those benefiting. The churchyard itself was let for 10 years to a single tenant at £30 a year for sheep only. (fn. 322) Rent from the churchyard was £12 in 1884. (fn. 323)
Christ Church, Leamonsley, was consecrated in 1847. The ¾-a. site was given in 1844 by Richard Hinckley of Beacon House, his wife Ellen Jane, and Hugh Woodhouse, formerly of Beacon House. The cost of building the church was met by Ellen, and she and her husband gave £150 stock as a repair fund. Richard Hinckley also gave a house in Christchurch Lane and further stock to produce £30 a year for the minister. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners made a grant of £100 a year. (fn. 324) The first perpetual curate, T. A. Bangham, 1847–76, was nominated by the vicar of St. Michael's. (fn. 325) In 1848 a parish covering much of the west side of the city and including Leamonsley, Lower Sandford Street, and Sandfields, was formed out of St. Michael's and St. Chad's parishes with the bishop as patron. (fn. 326) The perpetual curacy was styled a vicarage in 1868, and the bishop remains the patron. (fn. 327) In 1860 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners assigned the incumbent tithe rent charges from St. Michael's and St. Chad's parishes amounting to £163 17s. 6d. (fn. 328) They granted £600 in 1868 towards the cost of enlarging the vicarage house. (fn. 329) In 1947 the house was divided, the rear portion being leased, and in 1957 a new house was completed on the opposite side of Christchurch Lane. (fn. 330)
On Census Sunday 1851 the congregation was 100 in the morning and 210 in the evening, each time with 90 Sunday school children. (fn. 331) In 1871 the vicar was licensed to perform divine service at the ragged school in Lower Sandford Street. (fn. 332) In the later 1870s a mission room was opened in the same street. (fn. 333) It was replaced in the later 1880s by a room over the entrance to Flower's Row on the north side of Sandford Street which remained in use until 1919. (fn. 334) There was a parish lending library in the later 1880s, (fn. 335) and a parish magazine was started in 1889. (fn. 336) In the early 20th century Christ Church Working Men's Club met in the mission room. (fn. 337) A hut used by Christ Church Boys' Club from 1938 was conveyed to the parish in 1947 for use as a parish hall as well as club premises for boys and girls. (fn. 338) A new hall, the Martin Heath Memorial Hall, north-west of the church was opened in 1964. The cost was met from the Martin Heath Memorial Fund established under the will of Edith Mary Heath, of Angorfa, Walsall Road, daughter of George Martin; she died in 1952, leaving her residuary estate to Christ Church. She had served as vicar's warden from 1931 to 1951 in succession to her husband Samuel. The hall was enlarged in 1984. (fn. 339)
In 1885 Richard Hinckley's nephew Arthur Hinckley, of Stowe Hill, established a trust to administer the income from £1,000 stock placed at his disposal by Richard before his death in 1865. It was to be used for church purposes, the maintenance of the Hinckley family tombstones at Christ Church, and distributions to the poor of the parish. It was stipulated that if ritualistic practices were introduced, the trustees could withhold the money spent on the church as long as such practices continued. The income of the Hinckley (Christ Church) Trust in 1985 was £1,252, which was spent on church needs. (fn. 340)
The church is a building of red sandstone and was designed in a Decorated style by Thomas Johnson of Lichfield. Originally it consisted of a chancel, a nave, and a west tower containing a gallery and a bell cast in 1845 by C. and G. Mears of London. (fn. 341) North and south transepts were added to the chancel in 1887 to the design of Matthew Holding of Northampton. It was intended to build north and south aisles as well, but a single bay only was built on each side adjoining the transepts. The work on the north side was paid for by S. L. Seckham of Beacon Place, churchwarden 1885–7 and 1892–6, and the cost of the south side was met by subscription and the proceeds from a bazaar; £200 was given by A. O. Worthington of Maple Hayes in Burntwood, churchwarden 1897–1918. (fn. 342) The southern extension consists, as planned, of an organ chamber and a clergy and choir vestry. The northern extension is occupied by a Lady chapel, which was refurbished in memory of J. B. Lane (d. 1947) by his widow and dedicated in 1950. (fn. 343) A chancel screen was presented in 1888 by Kinbarra, wife of S. L. Seckham, (fn. 344) and in 1897, to mark the church's golden jubilee, canvas panels painted by J. D. Batten were placed on the chancel ceiling. (fn. 345) The sanctuary was refurbished in 1906 with an alabaster reredos and marble paving to the design of G. F. Bodley; they were presented in memory of Sarah Cox by her husband and daughters. (fn. 346) The clock in the tower was presented in 1913 by A. O. Worthington in memory of his wife Sarah. (fn. 347) The churchyard was enlarged in 1895 and 1929. (fn. 348)
THE CATHEDRAL AS A CITY CHURCH.
After the establishment of the cathedral in the later 7th century it was presumably used as the principal baptistery for the Lichfield area. The cult of St. Chad may also have made its precincts the principal burial ground for a time: a late Anglo-Saxon graveyard lay on the south side of the cathedral. (fn. 349) It is probable, however, that there were burials at St. Michael's and at Stowe before the Conquest, and it is clear that by the 1190s the canons claimed no monopoly of Lichfield baptisms or burials for the cathedral. The cathedral's primacy in that respect was maintained by a demand that all fees, with the apparent exception of mortuaries, should be paid to the sacrist. (fn. 350)
The cathedral statutes of 1294 laid down that every member of a canonical household was entitled to be buried in the cathedral graveyard. (fn. 351) Some townsmen from outside the Close continued to be buried within the cathedral precincts, but by the later 15th century the chapter regarded the practice as one to be discouraged. In 1486 it decreed that no outsiders, 'especially parishioners of the prebend of Gaia Major', were to be buried in the cathedral graveyard unless they were cathedral servants or members of a canon's household. (fn. 352) The decision was an episode in the chapter's struggle to emphasize the privacy and dignity of the Close. Even when distinguished people were buried in the cathedral itself, the chapter became increasingly anxious not to seem obsequious. In 1532, after the cathedral clergy had recently twice gone in procession into the town to meet funeral cortèges and escort them to the cathedral, the chapter ruled that in future no cortège and no visitor, however distinguished, was to be met outside the Close. To do so dishonoured the cathedral and was contrary to the practice of other cathedrals and collegiate churches. (fn. 353) The first surviving parish register for the cathedral, dating from 1661, shows that by the late 17th century it was the inhabitants of the Close who were baptized and buried there but that fashion drew some couples from far afield to be married in the cathedral. (fn. 354) In the late 1980s an area north-east of the cathedral was used for the interment of ashes.
As in other cathedrals, an early-morning weekday service for the laity was introduced at the Reformation. Ordered by the injunctions of the royal visitation of 1559, it was a brief service of prayers intended for the boys of the grammar school 'and all other well-disposed people and artificers' who would be at work at the time of matins later in the morning. It continued until the Civil War and was revived by Bishop Lloyd in 1694. Still held in the mid 18th century, it was later abandoned. (fn. 355)
Sermons were more common at the cathedral after the Reformation than in the other Lichfield churches. It was even stated in 1604 that none of the city clergy preached. (fn. 356) Many of the cathedral sermons were probably not intended for townspeople. Dean Collingwood, 1512–21, had preached to the people for half an hour every Sunday, but it was stated in 1575 that he was the first and only dean to do so. By the early 17th century there were civic services in the cathedral, and they presumably included a sermon. In 1635 Archbishop Laud found that there were too many pews in the nave and forced their removal. From 1548 there was a divinity lecturer at the cathedral, obliged to lecture there three times a week. The post lapsed in the reign of Mary I, and despite an injunction of 1559 ordering the appointment of a lecturer, it may not have been revived until after 1583. In 1759 the chapter reminded the lecturer that constant residence was obligatory. By the 1850s his duties were limited to preaching on certain saints' days. (fn. 357) It was stated in 1791 that until lately a sermon had been preached in the nave of the cathedral every Sunday morning for the benefit of the parishioners of St. Michael's and of Stowe, who otherwise had only a sermon once a month on sacrament days apart from endowed sermons. (fn. 358)
James Wyatt's restoration of the cathedral between 1788 and 1795 evidently had the effect of keeping people away from services. He threw the choir and Lady chapel together, blocked up arches, and erected a screen between the choir and the nave, to create what was virtually a small self-contained church isolated from the rest of the building. Sydney Smirke and George Gilbert Scott opened the building out again in 1856–61. (fn. 359) From the mid 19th century there was a great increase in the number of services, including communion services, and a wider use was made of the cathedral. (fn. 360) The congregation on Census Sunday 1851 was 135 in the morning and 224 in the afternoon. (fn. 361) The wider use of the building continued in the 20th century but the number of sung services declined. (fn. 362)
ST. JOHN'S HOSPITAL.
The chapel of St. John's hospital in St. John Street has been open for public worship since the mid 13th century. (fn. 363) The hospital then lay in the prebend of Freeford, and at some time between 1224 and 1238 the prebendary, Simon of London, granted the prior and brethren permission to establish a chantry in the hospital. Simon's parishioners were to be permitted to attend divine service in the hospital on holy days, and the hospital was allowed one small bell to summon them. The chantry was eventually established in 1259 by the executors of Ralph of Lacock, the last subdean of the cathedral.
Simon of London was careful to protect the rights of his prebend. The hospital's lay brethren, servants, and other inmates were to make their confessions to the prebendal chaplain, unless he licensed them to go elsewhere. All offerings at the chantry mass were to be paid to the prebendal chaplain. The bodies of all who died in the hospital, including the prior and brethren, were to be buried in the prebendal church, and the prior and brethren and their servants were to attend divine service in that church on the great feasts. It has been generally assumed that the church was St. Michael's in Lichfield, but it may in fact have been Hammerwich chapel, which was within Freeford prebend. (fn. 364)
In spite of the agreement the hospital had by 1257 secured the right of burying its habited brethren and sisters and other inmates dying there. In accordance with his will Ralph of Lacock was buried at the hospital by permission of the dean and chapter, but the prior and brethren promised that they would not use the permission as a precedent. (fn. 365) Remains of a medieval graveyard have been found at St. John's, and in the mid 1340s there was a preaching cross or open-air pulpit in the graveyard from which Dean FitzRalph preached. Burials still took place in the precincts in the earlier 19th century. (fn. 366) Since the 1970s the ground by the south wall of the chapel has been used as a garden of remembrance where the ashes of people closely associated with the hospital are interred. (fn. 367)
By the 15th century the hospital had become an almshouse, under a master who was in orders. Until the 19th century the masters were often non-resident, and services in the chapel were presumably conducted by the hospital chaplain. Statutes of 1927 made the master the chaplain. (fn. 368) The chapel was used by the parishioners of St. Mary's during the rebuilding of their church between 1716 and 1721 and during further work in 1845. (fn. 369) The parishioners of St. Michael's worshipped there when their church was being restored in 1842–3. (fn. 370) Pew rents were abolished in 1828. (fn. 371) On Census Sunday 1851 there was an attendance of 123 at matins and 168 at evensong. (fn. 372) By 1868 services were held on Wednesday and Friday as well as Sunday. (fn. 373) Since the later 1920s they have been AngloCatholic in character. There are marriage and baptismal registers dating from 1914 and 1941 respectively. (fn. 374)
The chapel is described with the rest of the hospital buildings in another volume. (fn. 375) In 1984 a stained glass window depicting Christ in majesty, to a design by John Piper, was installed in place of the plain east window of the chapel. The cost was met by a bequest from Samuel Hayes, a resident of the hospital, and by the hospital trustees. (fn. 376)
THE LICHFIELD PECULIAR.
From the 13th to the 19th century ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Lichfield and its neighbourhood was exercised not by the bishop but by the dean of the cathedral and, during vacancies in the deanery, by the chapter. About 1190 the dean had the power to discipline clergy in the city 'by appeal'. (fn. 377) Possibly he already held the archidiaconal jurisdiction there which he possessed by 1241, (fn. 378) but it is more likely that it was acquired in the intervening half century when his privileges and influence had grown generally. (fn. 379) In the mid 13th century the chapter was drawing to itself rights of ecclesiastical supervision in the Lichfield area exercised a few years earlier by individual canons, (fn. 380) and the dean was the principal beneficiary. By the later 13th century his position in relation to both bishop and chapter was unusually strong for an English dean. He established his claim that he not only had ordinary jurisdiction over the lands and churches of the cathedral clergy but that he was also their visitor. (fn. 381) He had no rival as the principal dignitary in the chapter, Lichfield being unusual among English cathedral chapters in giving no special place of honour to the archdeacons of the diocese. (fn. 382) In some cathedrals jurisdiction over the city was the responsibility of the subdean; at Lichfield the post apparently had no such function, and in any case it disappeared in 1257. (fn. 383)
The extent of the dean's jurisdiction within the city was occasionally challenged. In 1393 Thomas Walton, prebendary of Freeford, claimed jurisdiction over people living in the portion of the city within his prebend. Bishop Scrope, called in to arbitrate, upheld the dean's rights over the whole city. The decision was used as a precedent in 1531, when it was decided, against a later prebendary of Freeford, John Blythe, that probate of the will of John Browne of Greenhill, in Freeford prebend and outside the bars of the city, belonged to the dean. Thomas Fitzherbert, prebendary of Weeford 1513–19, also seems wrongly to have believed that the dean's jurisdiction over the city stopped at the bars. (fn. 384)
The only serious episcopal challenge to the authority of the dean and chapter in the city seems to have been that made by Bishop Northburgh, 1321–58, as part of his general assault on the chapter's privileges. During a vacancy in the deanery in 1324 he asserted that he, not the chapter, possessed ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the city when the deanery was vacant. He ordered the chapter's commissaries, who had excommunicated three townsmen and suspended a Lichfield priest, to withdraw the sentences immediately or appear before his court. (fn. 385) He failed to break the chapter's resistance, and when in 1428 Bishop Heyworth and the chapter reached a composition allowing episcopal visitation of the cathedral, it included the provision that prebendal churches and those of the common fund were to be exempt from episcopal visitation save in cases of scandalous neglect. (fn. 386) Episcopal attempts to secure the patronage of St. Mary's in 1529–30 and the 1620s failed. (fn. 387)
The only place in the city over which the dean failed to maintain jurisdiction was St. John's hospital. In the earlier 13th century the hospital was subject to the jurisdiction of the prebendary of Freeford, but by the 1250s it had passed into that of the dean and chapter. It was to them that in 1257 the prior and brethren of St. John's addressed a petition to be allowed to bury Ralph of Lacock, the subdean. They promised that such permission would not be to the prejudice of the cathedral or its chaplains and that they would not seek any further burial rights without the assent of the dean and chapter. In 1259, however, the founders of Lacock's chantry at the hospital vested the appointment of its priest in the bishop. In 1323 Bishop Northburgh asserted his right to appoint the prior of the hospital against the brethren's claim, and he carried out several visitations of St. John's. Bishop Smith's statutes of 1495 reforming the hospital vested the appointment of the master in the bishop. In the early 1530s Dean Denton claimed ordinary jurisdiction over St. John's and sent his commissary to visit it. Bishop Blythe excommunicated the master, who had co-operated with Denton, and successfully maintained his episcopal rights. (fn. 388)
In 1471 the parochial chaplain serving St. Mary's prevented a collector for St. Anthony's hospital in London from taking a collection on the first Sunday of Lent. The collector retaliated by claiming that his privileges included the right to forbid the use of bells, candles, and the processional cross in recalcitrant churches. He was promptly taken before Dean Heywood and forced to apologize for violating the dean's jurisdiction. (fn. 389)
In June and July 1326 what was described as 'the chapter of the city of Lichfield' met at least once a week to deal with ecclesiastical cases, most of them concerning sexual misdemeanours. (fn. 390) It was presumably the court of the dean's Lichfield jurisdiction. The normal day of meeting seems to have been Saturday, the day after the chapter met, (fn. 391) and the court appears to have been held by the chapter clerk. (fn. 392) It may have been convened only in the aftermath of a visitation, or it may have met regularly, as needed, on Saturday. The parochial chaplains had to attend the cathedral that day, (fn. 393) and they were thus available to give evidence if necessary. It seems to have been the only ecclesiastical body which dealt with the city as a whole.
The dean's peculiar, covering the parishes of St. Mary, St. Michael, and St. Chad with the out-townships, continued in existence until 1846. All peculiar and exempt jurisdictions in the diocese, with the exception of the cathedral and its Close, were then transferred to the bishop. (fn. 394) The dean and chapter retained the power to grant probate and administration of wills within the area of the former peculiar until such rights were abolished in 1858. (fn. 395)