It was a wet, muggy day for the Lichfield Festival Market this year – a Georgian-themed event, in honour of Samuel Johnson’s 300th birthday – but it didn’t deter the crowds from pouring into The Close and around the hundreds of stalls selling everything from glass nail files to Moroccan slippers. One of the most macabre sights of the day was the temporary gibbet erected near to the statue of King Charles II, complete with a dummy swinging from it and a chalkboard inviting people to ‘meet the executioner!’ Children gathered to hear bloodthirsty tales of severed limbs, while elsewhere, Georgian soldiers -members of the Society of King George the Third – could be seen queuing for venison burgers on a break from drill-practice on the Cathedral lawn. The Society also provided a display of military tents, complete with Georgian furniture. Some members represented The Queen’s Rangers: a British regiment raised during the American War of Independence and distinguished by a green uniform. At the back of the Cathedral things were slightly less Age of Enlightenment with a crockery-smashing stall but this noisy method of anger management proved surprisingly popular with the locals. Lichfield’s two major heritage attractions – The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum and the Erasmus Darwin House – were also present, the former selling books in the spirit of Michael Johnson’s bookshop, the other running a bric a brac stall. The popular Halfpenny Green Vineyard in South Staffordshire revisited to sell its wares, and the choice of local foods was also diverse with Beaudesert Park Farm making a welcome return to sell its excellent beef and venison.