During the 1640s Lichfield, like much of England, was profoundly affected by a burdensome and bloody civil war. The cathedral close was an important royalist garrison from April 1643 until its surrender on 16 July 1646 after a long siege (that began on 4 March) - with the parliamentarian forces holding the town. In late May the parliamentarian commander, Sir William Brereton alleged that the wives of royalist officers, who were living in the town, were spying for their husbands and ordered them into the close, threatening to shoot them if they came out. But the Royalist commanders would not admit them so, as the women complained in a petition: ‘we are enforced to lodge in the cold open air and there likely to perish for want of relief’. Eight women petitioned Brereton to let them go free: Ursula Hill, Anne Pyddocke, Anne Consie, Elizabeth Baker, Judith Ballard, Katherine Bartry, Frances Sute and Elizabeth Stubbs, refusing to be pawns in a male drama.  They were met with a contemptuous reply: but the petition prompted some negotiations and the women seem to have been allowed home.  Elizabeth Baker, probably born in St Mary’s parish in 1597; as Elizabeth Heathcote, is the best documented of the petitioners. She married Henry Baker in 1625; and kept the Star Inn in Bore Street after his death. Elizabeth was a prosperous businesswoman. Lichfield was on major routes from London to the northwest, and was the administrative centre of a large Diocese so that inns and taverns were an important part of its economy.