Sculptures and sites of interest
There are an array of sculptures, plaques and smaller sites of historical interest to discover across Lichfield District. If you are interested in taking part in Lichfield's Sculpture Trail, visit our trails page.
The Borrowcop Gazebo, built in 1804, is situated at the top of Borrowcop Hill, a short walk from King Edward VI Leisure Centre. It was believed that the remains of three Christian kings, slain by Roman troops at the end of the 3rd century AD, were buried on Borrowcop Hill.
The imagery of the three slain kings can be seen on the Lichfield crest and they are also immortalised in the Martyr's Plaque which can be seen in the Rose Garden of Beacon Park.
The Gazebo provides stunning views over Lichfield and the surrounding areas, including the famous three spires of Lichfield Cathedral.
Image of Borrowcop Gazebo supplied by Lichfield City Council.
Elford Hall Garden
Elford Hall Garden was opened in 2011 by Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
The Georgian Grade II listed walled garden, nestled in the village of Elford, was brought back to life thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers named the Elford Hall Garden Project.
The gardens were once part of the Elford Estate, which was given to the people of Birmingham by the village squire, F Howard Paget, in July 1936, but later fell into disrepair.
The project to restore the 400-plus yards long, 10 foot high wall and surrounding area in Elford began in 2007 and was part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Today the gardens are a fantastic place to visit all year round.
Garden of Remembrance
The War Memorial was designed by prominent architect, Charles Edward Bateman and created by local stonemasons, Bridgeman and Sons of Lichfield. Carved from Guiting stone, with the central figure of St George sculpted in Portland stone, the memorial is the focal point of the garden.
Work on laying out the garden began in 1919. The stone lions on the gate piers reputedly came from Moxhull Hall in Warwickshire and the 18th century stone balustrades and plinth came from Shenstone Court, just outside Lichfield. A ceremony of dedication was held on 20 October 1920.
Lower panels were later added to the war memorial, which were dedicated to those who had died in the Second World War and later struggles.
Letocetum Roman Site and Museum
Letocetum was an important Roman military fort and was established along the Roman road of Watling Street in the early part of the 1st century AD. Letocetum was used as a posting station during the Roman advance into Wales, providing accommodation, baths, change of horses etc.
The fort developed into a settlement and eventually a Roman-British town acting as a staging post for Roman travellers for bathing and accommodation.
You can discover what Roman Britain was like at the remains of this important Roman staging post and settlement.
Lichfield Clock Tower
Lichfield Clock Tower, also known as Friary Clock Tower, is a 19th century Grade II listed clock tower. Located on The Friary opposite Festival Gardens it is surrounded by a small herbaceous garden.
The tower dates from 1863, when it first stood on the junction of Bird Street and Bore Street over the site of the ancient Crucifix Conduit.
In the early 20th century, Bird Street and Bore Street were becoming congested with traffic, so, in 1928, the road named The Friary was built across the former Friary site and the clock tower was relocated to its current position.
Lichfield Grammar School and the School Master’s House
Lichfield District Council's Council Chamber and Chief Executive’s office are housed in two of Lichfield’s most historic buildings – Lichfield Grammar School and the School Master’s House. The two buildings date back to 1682.
Lichfield’s Grammar School, which in its day ranked with Eton and Winchester, was based on this site for more than 400 years.
In that time it provided an education to many who later went on to be influential men of their age, including Samuel Johnson, David Garrick, Joseph Eddison and Elias Ashmole.
Lichfield Rural District Council bought the property in 1917 and it was immediately taken over the army, who used it as a pay office for Lincolnshire Regiment during the First World War, from July 1917 to December 1919.
It has been used by Lichfield Rural District Council and subsequently by Lichfield District Council ever since.
The Lichfield pinfold is situated on Beacon Street, and dates back to the times of cattle markets in Lichfield.
The purpose of the pinfold was to house stray cattle, where they would be locked until the farmer came to collect them, and subsequently pay a fee for the release the animal.
Lichfield City Council acquired the pinfold for £1 in 1990 and had it renovated thanks to the generosity of the Conduit Lands Trust.
Lord Brooke’s Plaque
Lord Brooke was an English Civil War Roundhead General, who commanded Parliament forces in Warwickshire and Staffordshire. Lord Brooke was killed during the first siege of Lichfield Cathedral in 1643.
The plaque is situated above the doorway of Brooke House, and records the site of Lord Brooke’s death. Lord Brooke was shot through the eye from the central spire of Lichfield Cathedral by a deaf and dumb sniper, John Dyott, who spotted the distinctive colour of Lord Brooke’s uniform.
Minster Pool and Walk
Minster Pool is fed by Leomansley and Trunkfield brooks. It is thought to have been created or extended during the 12th and 13th centuries, although evidence suggests that a body of water existed in the area from the early medieval period. A natural pool was probably enlarged, by creating a dam towards the later named Dam Street, to provide power for a mill and to create a fishpond.
Inspired by a visit in 1772 to the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park, celebrated poet Anna Seward was instrumental in landscaping Minster Pool to give it a serpentine shape and in developing New Walk, later renamed Minster Pool Walk. The Memorial Garden was laid out in 1955 in memory of Lichfield citizens who died in the Second World War and later conflicts.
Speakers’ Corner Lichfield, on Dam Street, was launched in 2009 and has been the site of lively debate, celebrations and performances ever since.
Monks Walk Garden
Monks Walk Garden is a charming hidden garden in the grounds of Chapter House, Monks Close. The public has free access during the day.
The garden was restored to its former glory in 2003, thanks to the Monks Walk Restoration Group. Local schools also use the gardens as a teaching facility and pupils from Queens Croft School helped to create the garden's nature area.
The garden was once a part of a wider area originally occupied by the Franciscan Friary site.
It may have been part of a former garden layout when the area was part of the property owned by Sir Richard Cooper, whose estate was given to the City of Lichfield in 1920 ‘for the permanent use and benefit of the citizens’. The Monks’ Walk became part of The Friary School in the 1920’s.
The Museum Gardens were first created as an informal park in the late 1800s. The land was once part of Minster Pool until a causeway was built, on what is now part of Bird Street, and it became known as Bishop's Pool (or Upper Pool). This pool silted up over time and was eventually filled in. Museum Gardens opened as a public park in 1859, during the reign of Queen Victoria.
Originally incorporating ornamental pools and avenues of trees, the gardens were designed to complement the Italianate architecture of the adjoining Free Library and Museum. Local society philanthropists and wealthy residents donated items.
For example, the garden’s ornamental fountain was donated by JT Law, the diocesan chancellor, in 1871. The figures of the lions round Chancellor Law's Fountain were given by Sir Richard Cooper, a city alderman, in the late 1880s.
Prince Rupert’s Mount
Prince Rupert was the nephew of Charles I, and he was arguably the most famous and distinguished Royalist of the English Civil War.
Among his notable victories was the capture of Lichfield Cathedral Close in 1643, as well as Powick Bridge, Chalgrove Field and Newark.
Prince Rupert created an artillery mount, known as St Rupert's Mount, as part of his efforts to capture the Cathedral from Lord Brooke's parliamentarian forces. The remains of the mount are still visible today.
Speaker’s Corner Lichfield
Speakers Corner Lichfield was launched in May 2009, with the help of the Speakers’ Corner Trust. Today, Speakers’ Corner is a site for events and activities, as well as a destination for all the community to visit and have their say on topics close to their hearts.
Since the launch, a plaque has been unveiled at the site, along with a code of conduct. The whole area was given a facelift, including laying a new stone plaque to mark the spot of Speakers’ Corner, as part of the Lichfield Historic Parks project.
Originally a medieval mill pond, with Stowe Mill located to the west of the Church of St Chad, Stowe Pool was taken over by the South Staffordshire Waterworks Company in 1856, and was made into a reservoir.
In the 18th century, the pool was visited (among others) by Samuel Johnson and Anna Seward. On the north side of the pool, Johnson’s father had a parchment factory, commemorated today by the street name The Parchments. Nearby stood Johnson’s Willow, an enormous tree which became famous for its great size. It was much admired by Johnson, who always visited it whenever he returned to Lichfield in later life. The current Johnson’s Willow on the site is a descendant of the original.
At the eastern end of the pool is St Chad’s Church, named after the 7th century bishop who helped to spread Christianity in the area. According to tradition, he baptised people in ‘St Chad’s Well’, a replica of which is located in the grounds of the church.
Since 1968 the reservoir has not been used to supply water, and it is now solely used for recreation.
The Erasmus Darwin Monument ‘E Conchis Omnia’
Ersamus Darwin can be found in Beacon Park Museum Gardens. A founding member of the Lunar Society, Erasmus (1731-1802) was a physician, philosopher, poet, and inventor.
The 7ft bronze shows Erasmus holding a shell in his left hand in recognition of his theoretical discovery - ‘E Conchis Omnia’ meaning ‘Everything from shells’ - and under his right arm he grasps his ‘Commonplace Book’ full of inventions, scientific knowledge and ideas. This was the beginning of the theory of evolution, which he passed on to his grandson Charles Darwin.
The Princess Royal visited the statue of Erasmus and spoke with the sculptor about the piece in April 2013. Patrons of the Erasmus Darwin Statue are Desmond King-Hele and Adam Hart Davis.
The Formation of Poetry Sculpture
As a tribute to the work of Dr Samuel Johnson, ‘The Formation of Poetry’ depicts the pages of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language being blown forth, each with a poignant word together with its definition.
The clever engineering and unique design of the bronze sculpture allows the artwork to appear fragile and gentle as if the pages bend and fold in a breeze and yet it stands firm and solid to last the test of time, just as words might in a piece of poetry.
Sculpted by Peter Walker, the statue was unveiled in 2010 and supported by Tesco PLC.
You can spend time walking in the footsteps of the city's Franciscan Friars, an order of monks founded by St Francis of Assisi in 1209, who created a Friary in Lichfield in 1237. The remains of which can still be seen in the beautiful public gardens.
In 1237 a group of monks came to Lichfield and became known as the Grey Friars because of the colour of their habits. Bishop Stavenby, Bishop of Lichfield, founded the Friary when he granted the friars ‘certain free burgages in the town for them to set their house on’.
After the dissolution of the monasteries under the reign of Henry VII, the Friary site was cleared and sold for £68 to provide money for the crown. The church, cloisters, refectory and most domestic buildings were demolished.
The remains of the Friary can still be seen today, and are a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The site is now a public garden and the slabs show the layout of the walls of the cloister are visible on the ground as well as parts of the north wall of the nave.
The Letocetum Stone
A lasting monument to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee was unveiled along Watling Street, close to its junction with ancient Ryknild Street at Wall, Staffordshire, on 24 November 2012. On this site, there once stood a milestone of the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Claudis (268-70).
This feature, a replica of an Imperial Roman milestone, was the idea of The Milestone Society, which aims to restore and maintain historic milestones and finger posts throughout the country.
Inscribed in Latin to reflect sixty years of the Queen's reign and is the only one of its type to be installed since the Roman period.
The work was commissioned in conjunction with Wall Parish Council.
The Lichfield Canal
You can walk along the canal and view the work in progress to restore the Lichfield Canal by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, which was filled in during the 1950s.
The main restoration site is at Tamworth Road in Lichfield where locks have been restored and a section has been returned to water.
The Heritage Tow Path Trail, which is at Tamworth Road, is now part of the Heart of England Way.