Lichfield Cathedral

Only medieval cathedral in England with three spires

Just seventeen miles north of Birmingham, Lichfield lies at the heart of England. 1300 years ago it stood at the centre of the Kingdom of Mercia. When Chad was made Bishop of Mercia in 669 he moved his See from Repton to Lichfield, which may already have been a holy site since there is a legend that Christians were martyred there under the Roman Emperor Diocletian. When Chad died in 672 pilgrims began to come to his shrine, and in 700, Bishop Hedda built a new church to house his bones. Starting in 1085 and continuing through the twelfth century this Saxon church was replaced by a Norman Cathedral, then by the Gothic Cathedral begun in 1195.

Pilgrimage to the shrine of Chad continued for many years.The Cathedral was expanded by the addition of a Lady Chapel, and by 1500 there were perhaps as many as twenty altars around the Cathedral. All this changed at the Reformation, and the Cathedral was severely damaged during the Civil War, being beseiged three times.

Bishop Hacket restored the Cathedral in the 1660s, and William Wyatt made substantial changes to its ordering in the eighteenth century, but it was Sir George Gilbert Scott, Cathedral Architect from 1855-1878, who was responsible for its successful restoration to Medieval splendour.

Today, Lichfield Cathedral still stands at the heart of Lichfield Diocese and is a focus for the regular worship of God, the life of a thriving community, the work of God in the wider world, and for pilgrimage. The great building shows all the signs of its long history as a Christian community, serving God and the world, and now moving confidently into the twenty-first century.