A neighbour of the King’s Head has been complaining about the noise. Perhaps when they moved to the area they didn’t realise that there was a pub nearby – after all it has only been there since 1495. Anyway, for anyone who is interested in one of Lichfield’s oldest and most historic inns, here is a bit of history and legend.
According to the County History, The King’s Head in Bird Street was known as such by 1694 but in existence as the Antelope by 1495 and later called the Bush.
On 25th March 1705 Colonel Luke Lillingston raised a regiment initially named ‘Lillingston’s Regiment’, then the ’38th of Foot’, and finally ‘The South Staffordshire Regiment’. The 80th Regiment of Foot was raised in 1793 by Henry William Paget for the Revolutionary War with France and the original headquarters and place for enlistment was The King’s Head.
It is of course listed and the description given is ‘A coaching inn, now public house. Mid to late C18 with early C19 alterations. A good example of one of the coaching inns which served the London to Holyhead and Carlisle road’.
From the 1828-29 Pigotts Directory (as seen on the Burntwood Family History Group Website).
TO LONDON the Herald (from Manchester) calls at the King’s Head every morning (Mondays excepted) at half past-two; goes thro’ Tamworth, Atherstone, Coventry, Daventry, Towcester, Stoney Stratford, Dunstable, St Albans Ec
TO MANCHESTER the Herald, (from London) calls at the King’s Head, every morning (Mondays excepted) at nine; goes thro’ Stone, Newcastle, Congleton Ec.
CARRIERS (i.e. freight)
TO BIRMINGHAM, Mrs. Bates, from the King’s Head,
TO BIRMINGHAM, UTTOXETER Ec.. Thomas Butler, from the King’s Head
The pub features on the Lichfield Ghost Walk. A maid is supposed to have died in a fire and a ghostly light is seen flickering in the upstairs windows. A mortally wounded laughing (!) cavalier wanders the pavement outside. According to the Staffordshire Encyclopedia there is also a ghost called George. On a personal note, I was sitting at a table with my family near the bar several years ago and I felt a sharp pain in my neck, as if someone had flicked it really hard and my necklace fell off. My neck had a big red mark on it and I’m still not quite sure what caused it!