known as the Kings Head since c.1650, but previously called the Antelope and The Bush.
Said to be the oldest pub in Lichfield dating from 1408, the Kings Head later became one of the city’s many coaching inns. In 1828, the London to Manchester Herald called at the inn each day (except Mondays) and in 1834, the ‘True Blue’ coach ran from here to Birmingham at eight o’clock every morning, and to Rugeley at six o’clock each evening.
The King’s Head is often called the ‘Home of the Staffordshire Regiment’. In March 1705, Colonel Luke Lillingston raised a regiment of foot here at the Inn which would become known as the 38th foot by 1751 and as the 1st Staffordshire Regiment in 1783. After a reorganisation just under a hundred years later, it became the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire regiment.
The pub was nearly lost altogether in the 1930s with two serious fires within eighteen months. The first occurred on Mrs Shelcross’s last night as landlady of the pub in June 1932, causing her to leave the pub in anything but a blaze of glory as she crawled from a first floor window onto a wall bracket which then gave way and flung her fifteen feet to the pavement. New tenant Major Evans arrived at the King’s Head to find ‘a charred mass of ashes, a ruined dining room, scorched and blackened walls, and everything soaked with water’. In December 1933, the dining room and clubroom were burnt beyond recognition when an old wooden beam in the dining room chimney caught light.
The pub features on the Lichfield Ghost Walk. A maid is supposed to have died in a fire and a ghostly light is seen flickering in the upstairs windows. A mortally wounded laughing cavalier wanders the pavement outside. According to the Staffordshire Encyclopaedia there is also a ghost called George.
The 38th Regiment Of Foot 1750
Colonel Luke Lillingston
Bird Street with the Kings Head on the left