Hospital Ward

In 1781, John Snape carried out a census of Lichfield, making a list of the different wards of the city in the process. The wards are as follows: Bacon St (now Beacon St), Bird St, Sandford St, Sandford St below the water, St John’s St, St John’s St above the bars, Sadler St (now Market St), Bore St, Wade St, Dam St, Tamworth St, Lombard St, Stow St and Greenhill.

I think that these are the wards depicted by the flags hanging from the ceiling of the Guildhall, discussed here in my previous post. Now that I’ve finally made it back into the Guildhall to check which flag corresponds with which ward, I’m going to take each one in turn, trying to discover the significance of the design on each flag. Some I’m pretty sure of, others I’m really not (I’m talking about you Sandford St below the water ward!)


Photo from Ell Brown via flickr

 I’m starting with the flag that represents St John’s ward. Not only is it my favourite of the banners, it’s also seasonal with the feast of St John’s (or Midsummer’s Day) on 24th June. St John St gets its name from The Hospital of St John The Baptist (the place with the chimmneys!). The design from the flag is also on the board outside St John’s chapel, but what does it represent? The yellow flowers must be St John’s Wort, associated both with the saint and midsummer. What are the flowers growing around though?  Well, it’s taken a lot of googling but I think that it’s St Anthony’s Cross (also known as the Cross of Tau), often associated with St Francis. This possibly explains its inclusion, as the site of the Franciscan Friary lies within this ward . Part of the old Friary wall can still be seen on St John St.

Please feel free to join in with the speculation on this and any of the other flags that follow!

Photo of St John’s board from Ell Brown’s Lichfield Group photo set on his flickr stream, included with thanks.

4 thoughts on “Hospital Ward

  1. Hi Kate,
    I have often wondered about St Johns Hospital emblem at Lichfield as St John’s
    cross is more often shown as a eight pointed cross as used by St John’s Ambulance
    because St John was the founder of the Hospitallers ,That cross looks more of a
    masonic symbol like a set square,Once again you have a interesting subject for
    a blog.


  2. There have been many different styles of crosses over many years and in some images the configuration of the cross featured above is depicted. That does not mean to say that there may be other reasons for this style of cross. Many historians and theologians still argue about the style of the cross which Christ was nailed to and crucified.


    • I have never seen this kind of cross before I have to say. That’s why I had to google it. But as Pat says there is a St John’s Cross (which I have seen before) would seem the most obvious one. I’m just speculating though, as I was just interested in what had been chosen to depict each ward and possible reasons why.


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