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Whittington, Staffordshire

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Whittington from the north showing St Giles Church on the left and the heath in the distance on the right
Location within Staffordshire
OS grid referenceSK162085
Civil parish
  • Whittington
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtWS14
Dialling code01543
AmbulanceWest Midlands
EU ParliamentWest Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°40′N 1°46′W / 52.67°N 1.76°W / 52.67; -1.76Coordinates: 52°40′N 1°46′W / 52.67°N 1.76°W / 52.67; -1.76

Whittington is a village and civil parish[2] which lies approximately 3 miles south east of Lichfield in the Lichfield district of Staffordshire, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 2,591, increasing to 2,603 at the 2011 Census.[3] The parish council is a joint one with Fisherwick.[4] The Coventry Canal borders the village to the north and east.


Whittington Heath Golf Club (formerly a grandstand for the racecourse)
Whittington Heath Golf Club (formerly a grandstand for the racecourse)

Whittington Heath was the site of the Lichfield races which had moved from Fradley in 1702. During the 18th century they were one of the largest and well attended race meetings in the Midlands and in 1773 a grandstand was erected near the Lichfield-Tamworth Road. However, during the 19th century the popularity of the races dwindled, and military use of the heath grew.

Under the Cardwell Reforms of the army, the War Office approached the Marquess of Anglesey in 1875 to buy the heath for the building of Whittington Barracks. Construction of the barracks for the depots of the two regiments and for a militia battalion (of which there were four in the county) started on Whittington Heath in 1877. 1881 was the date recorded as the formal handing over of the newly built barracks to the military.[5]

In 1895 the last race meeting was held after the War Office declared it was "undesirable to hold a race meeting at the gate of the barracks." The Lichfield races are remembered in the names of pubs called the Horse & Jockey and in Lichfield, The Scales which was where jockeys were "weighed in". The old grandstand became a soldiers home before it was purchased in 1957 by Whittington Heath Golf Course as its clubhouse.[6]


The name Whittington is believed to come from Old English, and to mean farm/settlement associated with Hwita.[7]

Religious sites

St Giles Church
St Giles Church

The village has long had a church dedicated to St Giles. However, the 13th century building was destroyed by fire in 1760, and was rebuilt in Georgian style using sandstone quarried from Hopwas Hayes wood. The church contains memorial panelling for Samuel Lipscomb Seckham (1827–1900), architect and High Sheriff of Staffordshire, who lived at Whittington Old Hall, a 16th-century mansion.[8]

One family produced three vicars of Whittington: the Levett family. Rev. Richard Levett served as vicar from 1743 to 1751. His son, also Rev. Richard Levett, served as vicar of Whittington from 1795 to 1796 and Rev. Thomas Levett served for forty years, from 1796 to 1836.[9] There are memorials to the Levetts in St Giles Church.[10] Large landowners, the family also established charitable gifts towards the Whittington Free School.[11][12][13] A subsequent rector of Whittington was Hon. Rev. George Barrington Legge, son of William Legge, 4th Earl of Dartmouth, who was married to the daughter of John Levett of Wychnor Park.

The co-founder of Marks & Spencer plc, Thomas Spencer died 1905, is buried at St Giles Church, Whittington. The churchyard also contains Commonwealth war graves of 47 service personnel of the First and Second World Wars.[14]

See also


  1. ^ "United Kingdom Parliament". Retrieved 18 September 2009.
  2. ^ "Names and codes for Administrative Geography". Office for National Statistics. 31 December 2008. Archived from the original on 3 April 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  3. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Parish clerk contact details". Lichfield District Council. 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
  5. ^ "Quartermaster's Stores". Pastscape. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Whittington Heath Golf Club; Golf Club History". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  7. ^ "Whittington". Key to English Place Names. Institute for Name-Studies, University of Nottingham. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  8. ^ Church Memorials Wheaton Aston-Winshill, The Staffordshire Encyclopedia.
  9. ^ Vicars and Curates, Whittington & District History Society
  10. ^ A Topographical Dictionary of England, Vol. IV, Samuel Lewis, S. Lewis & Co., London, 1831
  11. ^ The Free Schools and Endowments of Staffordshire, George Griffith, 1860
  12. ^ Whittington, 1834 White's Directory
  13. ^ Levett family, Whittington, British History Online
  14. ^ "CWGC Cemetery report".
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Whittington, Staffordshire
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