Relics Of Dr Johnson At Lichfield





The house in which Dr. Johnson was born, at Lichfield--where his father,

it is well known, kept a small bookseller's shop, and where he was

partly educated--stood on the west side of the market-place. In the

centre of the market-place is a colossal statue of Johnson, seated upon

a square pedestal: it is by Lucas, and was executed at the expense of

the Rev. Chancellor Law, in 1838. By the side of a footpath leading from

Dam-street to Stow, formerly stood a large willow, said to have been

planted by Johnson. It was blown down, in 1829; but one of its shoots

was preserved and planted upon the same spot: it was in the year 1848 a

large tree, known in the town as "Johnson's Willow."



Mr. Lomax, who for many years kept a bookseller's shop--"The Johnson's

Head," in Bird-street, Lichfield, possessed several articles that

formerly belonged to Johnson, which have been handed down by a clear and

indisputable ownership. Amongst them is his own Book of Common Prayer,

in which are written, in pencil, the four Latin lines printed in Strahan's

edition of the Doctor's Prayers. There are, also, a sacrament-book, with

Johnson's wife's name in it, in his own handwriting; an autograph letter

of the Doctor's to Miss Porter; two tea-spoons, an ivory tablet, and a

breakfast table; a Visscher's Atlas, paged by the Doctor, and a manuscript

index; Davies's Life of Garrick, presented to Johnson by the publisher;

a walking cane; and a Dictionary of Heathen Mythology, with the

Doctor's MS. corrections. His wife's wedding-ring, afterwards made into

a mourning-ring; and a massive chair, in which he customarily sat, were

also in Mr Lomax's possession.



Among the few persons living in the year 1848 who ever saw Dr. Johnson,

was Mr. Dyott, of Lichfield: this was seventy-four years before, or in

1774, when the Doctor and Boswell, on their tour into Wales, stopped at

Ashbourne, and there visited Mr. Dyott's father, who was then residing

at Ashbourne Hall.



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