Paths that Cross

On my way to pick up some tickets from the Garrick the other day, I passed Lichfield Library. I couldn’t resist popping in to have a quick peek at the local history section to see if they had any more information on the history on the grammar school,  following on from Gareth’s graffiti photographs.  (They did. A whole book in fact and I’ve updated the post accordingly!). So inevitably, my quick peek turned into two hours.

There was an added bonus to the visit too. Anyone who read my Cross City and Cross County posts will know that I was hoping there would be an ancient cross somewhere in Lichfield. Well, I finally found one! Actually that’s a fib. What I found is a photograph in a book of archaeologists finding one. A decorated cross shaft was discovered built into the foundations of the north wall of the nave of Lichfield Cathedral. It’s thought to be Saxon or Saxo-Norman, and could be a surviving remnant of the earlier church on the site. I wish I could share a photograph here, but all I can do is tell you that it’s on plate 1 in the ‘South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society Transactions 1980-1981 Volume XXII’ book, on the local history shelves at the library!.

I have a confession to make. Generally, I’ve thought that places like the Cathedral are so well known, there’s nothing much left to say. Yet, now I recognise that this was wrong. Whether it’s the magnificent discovery of the Lichfield Angel in 2003, the downright curious tale of a live frog embedded in one of the stones used to repair the Cathedral during the restoration*, or rolls of parchment, beer and tobacco found in the gilded balls on the top of the central spire – the Cathedral, as everywhere, is made of stories, as much as it is made of stone. There are those we know well, those we don’t, and those that haven’t even been told yet.  We need to make sure we  are listening, just as Gareth was when he discovered and questioned that graffiti on the walls of the old Grammar school.

*I’m not making this up…..but someone else may well have been!

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4 thoughts on “Paths that Cross

  1. Hadn’t realised, till I went down the page, how many posts I’ve missed!

    With expecting people to know much . . . it’s also a bit of a problem with blogs. Sometimes, you know you’ve mentioned something before, even explained at length, but you know there are new readers – should you assume they already ‘know’? Sometimes, repetition is the only way.

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    • Yes I agree its tricky to get the balance right Lucy. I try to make sure anything I refer to has a link, so you can see what I’m on about by clicking on the link, but I’m not sure how effective that is, or whether it would be better another way.

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  2. A great piece of research on your part Kate to find the information on
    the cross,I think it was possible that the Friary area would have had
    a cross of some sort erected outside ,But towns and cities change
    so much it is easy for details to be lost,In past times all manner of
    things were put into the foundations of buildings like cats,dogs to
    ward off bad luck.

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    • Thanks Pat, but I have to be honest, it was more luck than judgement. That folk magic aspect is really interesting. I heard of shoes being used too. And of course there are those mysterious jars at Farewell…..!

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