Some Notable Citizens of Lichfield

Walter Langton 1243-1321

Walter de Langton, the son of Simon Peverill, was born in Langton West, Leicestershire. He was appointed a clerk in the royal chancery and, from 1295, Treasurer of England under King Edward I. The following year he was elected Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield (as the see was then known). He is buried in Lichfield Cathedral.

Bishop de Langton strengthened the wall surrounding the Close and crenellated it. He also built a 'Great Bridge' over the marsh land south of the Cathedral - the area now occupied by Minster Pool. The remains of the bridge are buried beneath the pavement of Bird Street and the site is commemorated by a bronze plaque on the wall of the Memorial Gardens.

Elias Ashmole 1617-1692

Elias Ashmole, the founder of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, was born at 5 Breadmarket Street in Lichfield. He attended Lichfield Grammar School in St. Johns Street the site of which is now occupied the Lichfield District Council Chamber. His birthplace, also known as Priest's Hall and now a solicitor's office, is marked by a stone plaque.

Gregory King 1648-1712

Gregory King was born in the parish of St Chad, Lichfield and attended Lichfield Grammar School where he learnt Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He was appointed Registrar of the College of Arms in 1684 and Lancaster Herald in 1688; becoming a genealogist, an engraver and, notably, a statistician for the government, attaining a number of positions as commissioner. Sometimes described as the first great economic statistician, he derived an estimate of the population and wealth of England at the close of the 17th century.

Sir John Floyer 1649-1734

Sir John Floyer was born at Hints Hall near Lichfield and practised medicine locally, developing new ways of caring for patients. He was the first to develop a system for pulse rate measurement using a specially designed watch.

George Smalridge 1662-1719

George Smalridge was born in Lichfield and attended Lichfield Grammar School. He later studied at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. In 1711 he was appointed Dean of Carlisle and subsequently Dean of Christ Church and Bishop of Bristol. A well known figure in London in Queen Anne's day, his sermons were highly regarded and many were published during his lifetime.

Joseph Addison 1672-1719

Joseph Addison was born in Wiltshire but moved to Lichfield soon afterwards as his father had been appointed Dean of Lichfield Cathedral. As a young man he attended Lichfield Grammar School, later achieving fame as an essayist, poet, playright and politician. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Thomas Newton 1704-1782

Thomas Newton was born in Lichfield and attended Lichfield Grammar School. He later studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and was ordained in 1730. A scholar whose published works include a biography of John Milton (pub. 1749) he was appointed Bishop of Bristol in 1761 and Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in 1768. His birthplace in Bird Street is marked by a stone plaque.

Samuel Johnson 1709-1784

Samuel Johnson, writer, critic, lexicographer, conversationalist, and famous for his Dictionary of English, was born in Lichfield in 1709. His birthplace in Breadmarket Street is now a museum reflecting his life and work. In 1737, accompanied by the young David Garrick, he moved to London to pursue his literary career.

Richard Greene 1716-1793

Richard Greene was born in Lichfield and lived all his life in the City, becoming Sheriff and later an alderman. An antiquary and surgeon, he established the first printing press in Lichfield. He also founded a museum to house his collection of fossils, coins, watches, armour and natural history but, after his death in 1793, the collection was disbursed by his son.

David Garrick 1717-1779

David Garrick, actor, dramatist and theatre manager, was born in Hereford but spent most of his early life in Lichfield. He attended Lichfield Grammar School, the site of which is in St Johns Street, and later studied Latin and Greek at a school run by Samuel Johnson. His Lichfield home in Bird Street was demolished in the 19th century and a stone plaque now marks the site. The modern theatre in Castle Dyke also bears his name.

Erasmus Darwin 1731-1802

Erasmus Darwin, physician, scientist, inventor and poet was born in Newark upon Trent but settled in Lichfield in 1756, where he lived until 1780. He was the grand-father of Charles Darwin. There is a stone plaque at the front of his house in Beacon Street, on the edge of the Cathedral Close, which is now a working museum and research centre dedicated to his life and work.

Anna Seward 1742-1809

Anna Seward was born in Derbyshire in 1742. She was an eighteenth century English romantic poet, often called "the Swan of Lichfield". She moved to Lichfield at an early age when her father was appointed Canon at Lichfield Cathedral. She never married and lived in the Bishop's Palace for the rest of her life.

Henry Salt 1780-1827

Henry Salt was born in the parish of St Mary, Lichfield and educated first at Lichfield's Free school and later at a boarding school in Market Bosworth. After training as a portrait painter in London he joined an expedition, led by Viscount Valentine, to survey the Red Sea coast of Africa. This work led to a further expedition to Abyssinia and his subsequent appointment in 1815 as Consul General in Egypt. His lifelong passion was the study of Egyptian antiquities and his large collections now grace both the British Museum and the Louvre in Paris.

He wrote several books including "A Geometrical Survey of the City of Alexandria" (1809) and "Voyage to Abyssinia" (1814) but is perhaps best remembered for the meticulous recording revealed in his landmark text on Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

John Louis Petit 1801-1868

Members of the Petit family lived in Redcourt House, Tamworth Street, for over 70 years from 1820 to 1898. The Rev. John Louis Petit was a notable Architectural Historian and Watercolorist who campaigned against the imposition of neo-Gothic features on existing buildings throughout his life. He travelled widely in England, Europe and the Middle East, carefully recording the churches and other buildings that he saw.

The Rev. John Louis Petit's publications included "Remarks on Church Architecture" (1841) and "Archtectural Studies in France" (1854) as well as numerous articles in the Archaeological Journal. He designed only two buildings; a summer house at Upper Longdon (since demolished) and the Caerdeon Chapel in Gwynedd which still stands and is now listed, Grade I. He was a founder member of the Institute for Architecture. John Louis Petit, F.S.A. is buried, with members of his family, in the graveyard of St Michaels Church, Lichfield.