The following is an edited version of the entry in the third volume of the Universal British Directory.
Lichfield is a pretty large town, one hundred and seventeen miles from London.
This city is uninfluenced in the election of its members of parliament.
The city has power of life and death within their jurisdiction, a court of record, and a picpowder court. Here is a gaol for both debtors and felons, a free school, and a pretty large well-endowed hospital, for a master and twelve brethren. The county of the city is ten or twelve miles in compass, which the sheriff rides yearly on the 8th of September, and then feasts the corporation and the neighbouring gentry.
The cathedral, which stands in the Close, was originally built about 300. It was rebuilt and enlarged in 766. In 1148 it was rebuilt, and greatly enlarged in 1296. In the Civil Wars it was several times taken. When the civil war broke out the nobility and gentry garrisoned the close and defended it against parliament.
Here are three other churches, one of which St Michael’s, has a churchyard of six or seven acres. In the neighbourhood are frequent horse races.
A bill is now about passing for a canal from Wyrley canal to Lichfield, to join the Coventry canal at Huddlesford. A considerable manufactory of horse-sheetings is carried on here by Mr John Hartwell.
The late Dr Samuel Johnson was born in this city, 1709. His father Michael was a bookseller. He more than once held the office of chief magistrate. When arrived at a proper age for grammatical instruction Samuel was placed in the free school of Lichfield. Mr Garrick, so famous for his talents in the dramatic line, received the first rudiments of his education at the same free school.
Markets here are on Tuesday and Friday.
The principal inns are the George kept by Mr Burton; Swan kept by Mr Luke Ward; and Talbot, kept by Mr Jackson for gentlemen travelling on horseback.
Bankers: Catharine Barker and Son, and Francis Cobb.
Seats in the neighbourhood are Elford Hall, the seat of Lady Ann Andover; Fisherwick Hall, the seat of the Marquis of Donegal; Packington, the seat of Thomas Levett; and Freeford, the seat of Richard Dyott.
Peter Barfoot and John Wilkes, Universal British Directory, vol. 3 (London: c.1794)