11 August 2011

Staying in the Lichfield home of a forgotten composer

Lyncroft House in Lichfield was once the home of the Rome-born composer Muzio Clementi

Patrick Comerford

I am back in Lichfield this week, planning to visit the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition in the Chapter House in Lichfield Cathedral, hoping to meet some old friends, and intending to attend some of the daily services in the cathedral and in the Chapel of Saint John’s Hospital.

For the next few nights, I’m staying at the Hedgehog Vintage Inn on Stafford Road, on the northern edges of Lichfield. This bed and breakfast hotel is also a country pub and restaurant. It is just a stroll from the centre of the cathedral city, yet has rural charm and rustic character.

This place was originally called Lyncroft House, and was built in 1797, 13 years after the death of Lichfield’s most famous son, Dr Samuel Johnson.

A few decades later, Lyncroft House was the home of Muzio Clementi (1752-1832), right, a celebrated composer, piano-maker, conductor and music publisher who was a friend of Mozart and a notable influence on Beethoven.

In his day, Clementi was considered second only to Joseph Haydn, and 19th century enthusiasts praised him as “the father of the pianoforte,” the “father of modern piano technique,” and the “father of Romantic pianistic virtuosity.”

For much of this career, the Italian-born composer lived and worked in England. After retiring, Clementi moved to Lyncroft House in Lichfield in 1830, and he died two years later in Evesham, Worcestershire. Charles Holland, a doctor, lived in the house later in the mid-19th century.

The house has been beautifully restored in recent years at a cost of £1 million. It stands in its own grounds, with large gardens. The imposing portico is an impressive entrance to Lyncroft House. Inside the pub, which is part of the Vintage Inns chain, has rustic beams and corporate chalk boards, allowing the Georgian character of the old house to shine through. Outside, the house has commanding views across the neighbouring Staffordshire countryside, with a large patio area to the front.


The Hedgehog, Stafford Road, Lichfield WS13 8JB. Telephone: 01543 415 789.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lichfield Civic Society are thinking of a plaque to commemorate Clemeni. Is he really so forgotten ?

Mrs J Horton said...

My research on Muzio Clementi shows that Clementi was renting Lyncroft House from the Earl of Lichfield`s Estate on Michaelmas 1828 and was still on the rental records for Lyncroft House on Lady Day 1831.

Patrick Comerford said...

Thank you for this additional information, it is very helpful and informative, Patrick

Anonymous said...

Today is the anniversary of Clementi`s death on 10th March 1832 ……please join me in raising a glass to this great man and hope that we can bring him and his music and achievements back to Lichfield!
JH

Unknown said...

I fully aggree upon the suggest to remind that the Hedgehog is the house where the great English composer Muzio Clementi( 1752-1832) was living at the end of his life before he moved to Evesham. I have been study Clementi since I was a teenager and at that time founded The Swedish Clementi Society. Myself I also visit Lichfield, and stayed some days at the Hedgehog talked to the owner and ask them to put at least a name plate on one of the rooms as Muzio Clementi- room. I also met the Mayor and ask why Lichfield so far not have used the opportunity to use that circumstance that Muzio Clementi was living in Lichfield. He was an honored composer, piano builder and piano virtuoso as well as an editor. I participated at all the four international seminares and the latest in Lucca in Italy in nov 2015 where all scientists gave aspects of the theme Muzio Clementi and the British music scene. New evidents have been announced that Clementi had much more impact on the development of the European culture music and if anyone is interested in the conclusions of that seminar you can contact me , the chairman of the Swedish Clementi Society, at email address hultman.bengt@gmail.com.
So I hope that all efforts can be fruitful to let Lichfield be put on the European map of culture music. I really will help.
Mr Bengt Hultman, UmeƄ, Sweden

Anonymous said...

I think it would be great to have a plaque somewhere on the building. Clementi was a great musician and a huge influence on the development of music in the UK. Slowly people are realising his importance and it would be nice for Lichfield to celebrate his achievements by at least marking the place where he live in the area. Eddie Jones, Ryton On Dunsmore

Chiara Bertoglio said...

I agree with Bengt Hultman, and I hope something will be done.

Anonymous said...

Lichfield is already a centre of music, ancient and modern, and has a music festival each year. I agree that we, in Lichfield, should be honouring this great composer and musician, Climente. He should not be forgotten.

Marlene Edwards, Lichfield

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Wrong spelling above.
Clementi - should not be forgotten in Lichfield.


Marlene Edwards, Lichfield

Anonymous said...

It's not everyday you find out that a world famous composer and musician lived in Lichfield. It should really be promoted amongst Lichfield residents and visiting tourists. Let's celebrate the man and his music.
Elizabeth Tyler, Lichfield

Unknown said...

Dear bengt,just read about the clementi plaque and your studies
I am treasurer of the British clematis society.Margaret and I have opened our grafton cottage garden near lichfield for26years and would be interested to meet
Just found a collection of piano sonatas of clementi from school days Peter hargreaves

Unknown said...

Was Lyncroft House being used by the Salvation Army as a home for unmarried mother's in the 1950s?

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the belated response, but yes, from 1939-1952. Contact The Salvation Army Heritage Centre in London for further details.

Anonymous said...

Hello all

Does anyone know what the lyncroft house was in World war 2

Unknown said...

I thank every one who has contributed to the information and history of lyncroft house I was born in 1943 that was then a salvation army hospital for unmarried mothers and has been lovely for me to see photos and be given the wonderful history especially the famous composer wow thankyou once again everyone involved

Unknown said...

Hi Patrick, can you confirm if Lyncroft House was also occupied by the Salvation Army in the Fifties. Apparently I was born there

Patrick Comerford said...

Yes, as far as I know, from 1939-1952. As earlier comments advise, you might contact the Salvation Army Heritage Centre in London for further details

Anonymous said...

Amazing! I have just discovered that a (half) sister I've only just discovered I have was born there in 1941.

Anonymous said...

I was born there and it is lovely to know the history of the house. I do go there for lunch occasionally, it is a beautiful building and it would be great to be able to see pictures of it before it had the improvement work done.

Anonymous said...

I too have discovered I was born there in 1950. My mother was sent there from Nuneaton to give birth to me. It’s lovely to hear other people’s stories . Hopefully I will visit soon .

Anonymous said...

On my friends original birth certificate, it states he was born here in 1947. He is still trying to find his birth mother or siblings, but sadly his mother may have passed by now.