The Streets of Lichfield

It’s quite well known that Bishop Roger de Clinton laid out the main streets of Lichfield in a grid pattern, still in evidence over 800 years later.

Lichfield 2011-ish

What about those in between though? An email from Pat and a chance conversation about a book ‘A Walk Around the Snickelways of York’ by Mark W Jones (1) got me thinking about the alleys, the passageways, the shortcuts and the entries, winding themselves around buildings and connecting one Lichfield street with another.

Pat’s email asked if I knew anything about The Tanneries, running from Tamworth St, along the left handside of what was the old Kwiksave building, (and the Regal Cinema before that) to Cross Keys carpark.

The Tanneries

The Tanneries is blocked off at present

I don’t, but I’m interested how long this pathway and the others around the city have been around for.

Some are documented better than others. Friar’s Alley running alongside the edge of the site of the old Friary and onto Bird St appears as Friers Lane on John Speed’s 1610 map (no 29).

1610 map of Lichfield

Later it shows up on John Snape’s map as Friers Alley in 1781. On later maps, the narrow part leading to (or from depending which way you are going!) Bird St was known as Moss’s Entry.

Moss's Entry/Friars Alley onto Bird St

One of my favourites is the old carriageway leading to the courtyard of the George Hotel. It takes you past doors and bricked up windows, but it’s the floor with its Rowley Ragstone Setts (2) that I really like, as this small side passage gives an idea how Lichfield’s main streets would have been paved in the late 18th century.

George Hotel from Market St

I’ve taken some photos of others I came across. Most are found in the city centre though I’m sure there are loads more to be found throughout Lichfield. Of course, if anyone wants to share one they know of, or has any more information about any of the above or below, that’d be fantastic!


Bolt Court - a really busy little street


Inside Bolt Court


Alongside butcher shop on Market St


From Market St...


The Close to Erasmus Darwin House

Lloyds Walk


Tudor Row out onto Bore St

You see buildings differently walking these paths, maybe I’ll explore the backside of Lichfield a little more……


(1)Snickelway is a great word created by Mark W Jones. It’s a portmanteau (which is in itself a great word!) of Snicket, Ginnel and Alleyway and Mr Jones explains, ‘A Snickelway is a narrow place to walk along, leading from somewhere to somewhere else, usually in a town or city, especially in the city of York’.

(2) Information taken from Staffordshire Pastrack website.

Map information from: ‘Lichfield: The place and street names, population and boundaries ‘, A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 14: Lichfield (1990), pp. 37-42. URL:

19 thoughts on “The Streets of Lichfield

  1. Kate, you may want to look into the alley ways that were around where the precint was built in the late 1960’s and probably still is today. There were a few little alley ways around this area too. Great article well done.


  2. Looking on a map from the early 1960s when the cinema was open there
    seems to be a passage way also the signage saying “Leads to Tamworth street”
    implies it is open to the public ,When it closed the notice on the gate stated
    closed due to demolition and building work.


    • Hi both
      Thanks for the comments. When I get a moment I’m going to have a look at the old maps, as I’d like to know how far back these old passages go back i.e. contemporary with the buildings or earlier?


  3. Hi All
    The Civic society is hoping to have the Tanneries as a PROW. But Country Style is losing custom because of the barriers, put up by Baxter and Shipley,Tamworth for their development of the old Matthews Print site, behind the shop. The hotel is not going ahead any day soon, but B and S are not going to take them down,as they say the Tanneries are not their property, but the the owners of the Kwik Save site!!Write to the Mercury if you want to help get it opened.

    The Chamber of Trade and Commerce are being involved and the Mercury have been told and may run a feature, with a view to starting a campaign. Watch this space!!


    • Thanks for the comment. I spoke to one of the archaeologists yesterday, and he said they were going to have a look below this victorian level to see if anything earlier remained. According to him, the obvious remains are thought to be either a victorian house or shop at present. Dave Gallagher, over on the Facebook group said they’ve found some pottery. There’s clearly been activity in this are for a long, long time, I guess it’s just whether any of it have managed to survive having houses and carparks built on top of it!! Let’s hope it has!!


  4. Pingback: Ferry Cross the Minster | Lichfield Lore

  5. Hi Kate. I have been intrested in Lichfield ever since i went on a school trip to this lovely city back in the 60s. Many years later i was researching my family tree, only to find out the Chapman side of my tree lived in Frog Lane back in the 1800s, funny how thing work sometimes! Great blog Kate always enjoy reading it.


  6. Castle Dyke in front of the Garrick – there is a suggestion that this name arose because there used to be a castle on the site of the Garrick and shopping precinct.

    When foundations for the precinct were being dug in the early 60’s there was a lot of rubble unearthed of the type that one would expect from a castle. Also, there’s an old woodcut in existance showing Lichfield from a distance and there are more towers/spires than can be accounted for by the churches – the suggestion being that the extra belonged to a castle.

    Vick (former Lichfield resident and still fond of the place).


    • That’s interesting. I think most people think the castle related to the fortifications around Cathedral. But there are some quirks that don’t seem to fit in with this, as you’ve mentioned. Maybe one day we’ll find some more evidence!


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