Lichfield City Council is the custodian of many historical customs and traditions. Some of which date back for centuries and most relate to the office of the Mayor and Sheriff, with their origins in civil legislation and governance.
The two Court Leets, both now held in a light hearted manner; on St George’s Day and Spring Bank Holiday, hark back to medieval England when the Lord of the Manor held rights of administration over his tenants. This included the ’view of frankpledge’ or literal translation ‘peace-pledge’ by which tenants were responsible for the actions of their kinsmen - at the courts, petty grievances would be resolved.
The St George’s Day Court – still appoints 7 Dozeners, who originally would have been responsible for approximately 12 households, and would report to the court annually.
The Court of Arraye still has an inspection of ‘men-at-arms’, originally this would effectively have been the audit of potential military strength – should the Lord of the Manor need to conscript his tenants.
The Sheriff’s Ride – held each September, is the inspection of the boundary of Lichfield (in some areas known as ‘beating the bounds’). In earlier times, maps were rare and it was essential to make this perambulation of the boundaries to hand down to forthcoming generations the oral knowledge of the parish liability – and more crucially protect against any encroachment by neighbours. This inspection has never been missed since its ordinance by Queen Mary in her Charter to the City in 1553.
There are a number of civic events many of which are free to watch or take part in – for the full list please refer to the Civic Events list.