Sunday, 18 April 2021

Hospital of St John, Lichfield

The Hospital of St John the Baptist without the Barrs in St John Street. This hospital or place of hospitality was founded just outside the walls of Lichfield in AD1135 by Austin Canons for the accommodation of pilgrims who had come to reverence the relics of St Chad. It was refounded by Bishop William Smyth in 1495, who provided more permanent accommodation for homeless men and also developed a school, this now King Edward Comprehensive School, and he also built the Masters’ House. Hospitality is still the main occupation of this ancient place. Sixteen men are accommodated permanently and people from miles around make the chapel their spiritual home. In recent years, the trustees have extended the hospital into the close, and seventeen now live there. In 1984 a new east window by John Piper was installed in the chapel by the direction of the trustees. The chapel of Old St John's is open every day. Admission is free and visitors are normally welcomed, clearly the pandemic has changed things. It should be noted though that the almshouses and masters house can only be reviewed by appointment.

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