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Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Chad

A Grade I Listed Building in Lichfield, Staffordshire

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Latitude: 52.6855 / 52°41'7"N

Longitude: -1.8304 / 1°49'49"W

OS Eastings: 411563

OS Northings: 309770

OS Grid: SK115097

Mapcode National: GBR 4DN.L2F

Mapcode Global: WHCGN.VRKL

Entry Name: Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Chad

Listing Date: 5 February 1952

Last Amended: 17 June 1994

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1298431

English Heritage Legacy ID: 382780

Location: Lichfield, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13

County: Staffordshire

District: Lichfield

Civil Parish: Lichfield

Built-Up Area: Lichfield

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

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Listing Text


1094-1/5/212 Cathedral Church of the Blessed
05/02/52 Virgin Mary and St Chad
(Formerly Listed as:
Cathedral Church of St Chad and St


Cathedral church. Early C13 west choir arcade and aisles,
chapter house and chapel, transepts and crossing tower; c1280
nave, aisles and west towers; 1300-50 Lady Chapel and east
choir arcade and aisles, and choir clerestory. Major
restorations of 1660s, 1788-95 continued by Joseph Potter Snr
of Lichfield, 1850s by S Smirke, and 1856-78 by Sir Gilbert
Scott, continued by John Oldrid Scott until 1905.
Ashlar with graduated slate roofs.
PLAN: cruciform: 3-bay Lady Chapel, 8-bay choir with aisles,
chapter house to north with library above and consistory court
to south with chapel of St Chad's Head above, crossing steeple
and 3-bay transepts with east chapels, 8-bay nave with aisles
and 2 west steeples.
EXTERIOR: Lady Chapel has 3-bay apse articulated by plinth,
stepped to end due to slope of ground, gabled buttresses with
C19 statues, enriched cornice with traceried and embattled
parapet with pinnacles; 3-light windows, 6-light central
windows to north and south, with trefoil tracery; 3 much
restored tomb recesses to south with cusped arches, gables and
Choir has similar clerestory, gabled buttresses supporting
flying buttresses and pinnacles, angle buttresses with C19
statues; 3-light aisle windows with Decorated tracery and
5-light clerestory windows with Perpendicular tracery, those
to east bay with Decorated tracery; organ loft to north west
has quatrefoil windows in rich square settings and north east
octagonal stair turret with pinnacle.
Chapter house of elongated octagon form, buttresses with top
tabernacles with statues, Y-tracery windows, vestibule with
Y-tracery north window and 2-light plate tracery windows to
1st floor. Court and chapel have large octagonal turrets with
shafts and pinnacles and 2 statues in niches; 3-light windows
with Perpendicular tracery, 1st floor triplets of lancets.
Crossing tower has polygonal buttresses with crocketed
pinnacles, lines of former steep gables, two 2-light bell
openings in blind tracery settings, traceried parapet and
spire with 5 tiers of lucarnes.
Transepts have 3- and 5-light clerestory windows with
Perpendicular tracery; north transept has polygonal buttresses
flanking portal of 5 orders with rich decoration to arch with
flanking niches, 1880s window of 7 lancets, Y-tracery windows
above; 4-light chapel north window and west windows; south
transept has large C18 gabled angle buttresses flanking portal
similar to above, but much restored, trefoil-headed arcade
with C19 figures, 9-light window with Perpendicular tracery
and top Catherine wheel windows with flanking statues; chapel
has 3-light windows and south tomb recess with cusped arch,
gable and pinnacles; 2 pairs of lancets to west; statue of
Charles II for west front gable, attributed to Sir W Wilson,
attached to south west angle.
Nave has gabled buttresses supporting flying buttresses and
pinnacles, enriched cornices and parapets with pinnacles;
3-light aisle windows with Decorated tracery and spherical
triangle windows to clerestories; south side restored by
West front has gable between towers with large polygonal outer
turrets; central portal with multi-cusped arch and inner doors
with C13 seated Christ over trumeau, original doors with rich
scrolled iron work, statues to returns; flanking portals of 5
orders with restored arches and similar doors; 6-light west
window with Decorated tracery of 1868; towers have 2-light
louvred bell openings, lozenge parapet and square crocketed
pinnacles, spires with 4 tiers of lucarnes.
Facade articulated with blind tracery and crocketed trefoil
arches, corbelled C19 statues, with some medieval statues to
north tower, trefoil-headed arcade with seated figures and
figure of Christ to gable; much ball flower and crocketing,
treatment continued to returns. Wind vanes and C18 rainwater
INTERIOR: Lady Chapel has tiercon vault with ridge rib and
bosses, wall shafts with 1895 canopied statues by C E Kempe;
applied arcade of nodding ogee arches with buttresses and
pinnacles, wall passage has traceried and brattished parapet.
Choir has similar clerestory with quatrefoils to reveals; west
arcades with stiff-leaf capitals and 1860 canopied statues by
J B Philip, east arcades with Decorated foliage capitals and
applied cinquefoils; aisles with applied arcading, to west of
4 trefoil-headed arches per bay, to east of 6 cusped arches
per bay.
Entrance to vestibule has triplet over, 3-bay quadripartite
vault, applied trefoil-headed arcade to east, similar arcade
to west forming vaulted passage, probably pedilavium for
Maundy Thursday, a rare feature; rich entrance to chapter
house with C13 seated Christ over trumeau; chapter house has
vault with central pier and good figure corbels,
trefoil-headed arcade to wall bench; library has similar
features, pavement has medieval encaustic tiles.
Chapel of St Chad's Head has gallery with traceried parapet on
ribbed coving, C19 vault with large bosses. Crossing has star
vault. Transepts have tiercon vaults and 2-bay arcades to
chapels, which have quadripartite vaults, former external
windows to north and south of choir. Nave has arcades with
good Decorated foliage capitals and applied cinquefoils, two
2-light traceried openings to triforium, blind to towers,
tiercon vault has C18 lath-and-plaster cells, west window has
1980s timber balcony on ribbed coving.
Fittings include: Lady Chapel: 1895 triptych altarpiece with
high relief scenes from Oberammergau, contemporary alabaster
altar rail. Chancel has complete ensemble of 1860s fittings, a
good example of High Victorian Gothic design: alabaster and
coloured marble reredos and screen by Scott and Philip,
statues to gabled niches, crocketed central arch and pinnacle
with cross; sedilia have ex-situ C15 canopies; Minton tiles
and incised medallions to pavement; timber stalls with
traceried and wrought-iron fronts, wrought-iron side grilles;
wrought-iron and brass choir screen by Scott and Skidmore has
some painting, gabled central arch and angels, one of the best
remaining examples; similar aisle gates and pulpit to nave
north east.
Consistory court has three 1670s stalls, Baroque back panels,
openwork front panels, twisted columns to openwork canopies
with Gothic touches. Ex-situ font to north transept by Slater
has early French Gothic detail and high relief scenes and
figures; south transept has 1870s screen to St Michael's
chapel with Zulu shields and assegais.
Wall paintings: C14 Crucifixion to piscina to south choir
aisle; damaged c1400 Trinity to recess in south choir aisle;
C14 Assumption over entrance in chapter house.
Monuments: a few pre C18 monuments and many good C18 and C19
monuments and wall tablets including: Bishop Selwyn, d.1878,
to Lady Chapel tomb recess, effigy by Nicholls, decoration by
Clayton and Bell, tiles by de Morgan; 2 medieval effigies of
bishops to south choir aisle, also Bishop Hacket, d.1670, high
sarcophagus with painted effigy; mutilated tomb in recess to
?John Stanley, d.1515; Robinson Children, 1817, by F Chantrey,
2 girls sleeping on couch; of later C19 tombs, those to Bishop
Lonsdale, d.1867, and Dean Howard, d.1868, have re-used C15
canopies, and Major Hodson, d.1858, boldly carved chest tomb
with high relief scenes; Bishop Ryder to north choir aisle,
1840 by Chantrey, free standing kneeling figure; vestibule has
bronze bust by Epstein to Bishop Woods, d.1953; Dean Haywood,
d.1492, mutilated base to 2-tier tomb with cadaver, good C19
wall tablets; Andrew Newton, d.1808, to south transept, by
Westmacott, also busts of Johnson and Garrick, 1793; 80th
Regiment of Foot, 1846, Egyptian pylon by P Hollins; nave has
good floor brass to 1st Earl of Lichfield, and wall tablet to
members of the Walmesley family, d.1751, 1785, 1786, by W
Thompson, good work with coloured marbles, cartouches and
Stained glass: Lady Chapel has c1540 glass from Herckenrode
Abbey, installed 1806, other Herckenrode glass in choir
aisles; west windows have C16 Flemish glass installed 1895;
C18 and C19 heraldic glass to library; 1819 glass by Betton
and Evans to south transept east clerestory; good later glass
incuding much by CE Kempe, eg chapter house, chapel of St
Chad's Head and south transept south and east windows; other
C19 glass includes: 1893 grisaille glass to north transept
north window and 1869 nave west window by Clayton and Bell.
One of England's smaller cathedrals, much damaged during the
Civil War, but retaining much of interest, and very good C19
(Pevsner N: The Cathedrals of England (Midlands Eastern and
Northern): London: 1985-: P.181-196; Cobb G: English
Cathedrals: The Forgotten Centuries: London: 1980-: P.140-59;
Bird LJ: Sir GG Scott's Restorations of Lichfield Cathedral:

Listing NGR: SK1156309770

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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