Continuing the tales of Staffordshire…. Kate and I decided to go into Lichfield by bus on the Wednesday. The weather wasn’t great, it was cold and wet and we didn’t want to go the Arboretum in the rain. Geoff didn’t fancy shopping for some reason so we went alone.
Unfortunately, and rather foolishly, we hadn’t checked the bus timetable before leaving the cottage, and arrived to discover that we had 50 minutes to wait before the next one arrived.
“Let’s have a bit of a walk, there must be another bus stop down here somewhere, the bus has to go this way” said I.
“Ok,” said my poor, unsuspecting friend.
That was my school girl error. By the time we had walked to the main road at the end of the village, we realised that there was, in fact, no bus stop further along that road. It wasn’t that my sense of direction was out of whack, far from it; just that buses being buses, they rarely take the most direct route. It kind of the defeats the object of being available for all if they do. As I later discovered, it picked up the same road further down, having done a very circuitous route around the houses. At least our walk killed a bit of time.
We walked back to the bus stop and waited. Once we boarded, it was quite an efficient journey, serving the local housing estate. The bus eventually terminated at the bus garage in Lichfield, which is very close to Debenhams. It would have been rude not to stop off and check it out before moving on…In fact, we looked around quite a lot of the shops before stopping for lunch and then going onto the cathedral. I rather think it’s a genetic thing for women and shops.
After lunch, we visited the beautiful cathedral. There has been a church on the site of Lichfield Cathedral since 700AD. Originally a small Saxon church , it was replaced by a larger Norman church in the twelfth century. Work started on the current cathedral in around 1215, but it took 150 years to complete. St Chad’s bones were interred at the cathedral, which attracted hundreds of pilgrims until Henry VIII commanded that this church, along with so many others, during the Reformation.
If you’ve never visited, may I suggest that you put Lichfield Cathedral on your bucket list. It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful buildings you will ever see. The high, vaulted ceilings are absolutely stunning, and the stained glass windows are pretty magnificent too. It has that typical sense of serenity so often found in cathedrals, I always feel very peaceful when I visit.
Lichfield is not only notable for its cathedral, some famous people were born here too. There was Samuel Johnson, of course, of the dictionary fame, but there was also Elias Ashmole, founder of the Ashmolean museum in Oxford, Anna Seward (eighteenth century poet, aka the Swan of Lichfield), Erasmus Darwin (physician and grandfather of Charles of Origin of the Species fame) and David Garrick (playwright and actor, after whom the Garrick theatre in London is named. There is also a Garrick theatre in Lichfield itself named after him). It’s a pleasant little city (if that’s not an oxymoron) with it’s little river and old Georgian buildings. If we’d had more time, we could have done more of the touristy things but it was a pleasant way to spend a day.
A bus ride home to settle down for a quite night in, ready for our trip to the Arboretum the following day.
© Susan Shirley 2015