ichfield Cathedral is built on the site of the church of St. Chad, the bishop of the Mercians in 667. His shrine on the site was a place for pilgrims to travel to. Although a lot of rebuilding work has been done on the Cathedral in relatively recent times, much earlier sections still exist. The central spire collapsed in the middle of the seventeenth century and was rebuilt then and again in the eighteenth century. The west front is covered with many statues, including the Kings of England, but very few are original. The construction of the nave dates back to between 1265 and 1293, and the octagonal chapter house dates back to around 1240. The Lady Chapel dating from around 1330 was built by William Eyton is not aligned with or attached to the main church. The presbytery was later added to link the two together.
The Chapter-house at Lichfield has two storeys, the lower one for the meetings and the upper one for the library. The building is roughly octagonal in shape, but two sides are double the length of the others.
Lichfield Cathedral, surrounded by a defensive ditch and walls, was held by Royalist forces assisted by Royalist supporters in the Cathedral itself. The town of Lichfield as a whole supported Parliament and a Parliamentary force began a siege to take back the Cathedral. After an initial assault failed with the death of the commander of the Parliamentary force a new man, Sir John Gell, arrived to take command. Under his leadership the Royalists were removed from the Cathedral.
The Royalists under the command of Prince Rupert were determined to retake Lichfield Cathedral. Prince Rupert had a mine dug beneath the walls that surrounded the Cathedral and packed it with explosives. Before he blew the mine he had given those inside the walls a chance to surrender but they refused. The wall was breached and after a fight the Royalists retook control. This is generally thought to be the first time explosives were used in a mine in this way. The Cathedral suffered substantial damage at this time and was not fully restored for hundreds of years.
3D Virtual Reconstructions
Transport yourself back up to a thousand years and explore historical buildings as they may have appeared in the past. Built using the popular game development tool Unity 3D, these reconstructions will run in the most of the popular web browsers on your desktop or laptop computer.
Uncover the lives of the hundreds of kings, queens, lords, ladies, barons, earls, archbishops and rebels who made the medieval people an exciting period of history to live through.
Selection of references used:
1. John H Harvey, Henry Yevele, LIfe of an English Architect