Worcester People and Places

This old house has long been used by Bakers, and is a good example of a trade once established on a site, continues through the centuries. The first baker recorded was Gabriel Walwyn, in 1656, and a long line of bakers followed through to the 20th century.
On the corner of Foregate Street and Shaw Street stood the Hop Pole Inn, the principal inn of Worcester during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The first mention of it is in St. Nicholas parish records of 1742. It was obviously built when the City.
Roman iron workings in the Severn valley were extensive. The value of iron was great, and often used as currency. In a Domesday survey Gloucester paid tribute in bars of iron. In the Wyche Cutting, Malvern, in 1856, 200 bars of iron was found. Evidence of
Worcester Cathedral in the period 1100 to 1540 was one of the principal places of pilgrimage. Many ecclesiastical inns sheltered near the Cathedral, catering for the traveller and pilgrim. The first reference to the Cardinal's Hat is in 1497, when the inn
A notable witch case from Shrawley, on the west bank of the Severn, when Margaret Hill was the subject of many accusations. A child who refused her some oatmeal subsequently fell sick, and when she had been unable to obtain tobacco 'on trust', the shopkeeper's
Issac Wedley died in January 1941. He was organist of Stourport Church at the age of 20, and continued until his death at the age of 76. He travelled the countryside the hard way; climbing Snowdon four times, Cader Idris, Black Combe and the shoulder of Scawfell
Of the four greatest roads built by the Romans in Britain, only one, the Foss Way, touched the area of modern Worcestershire, and that at the two outlying 'island' parts, which have now been lost to us by the re-drawing of the county borders. The two most
At the suppression of the religious houses by King Henry V111, the Commandery came to the Crown, and was granted to Christ Church College, Oxford. Under the College, the Wylde family held it for 250 years. It became their prinicipal seat, and gave their name
The area west of Bilford Road belonged to the Blanket family until the close of the Wars of the Roses, when for five generations it was in possession of the Freres. After the late Elizabethan period it passed through several hands, but around 1820, it was
Retribution for highway robbery came in other, official, ways. The Worcester Herald of March 18, 1820, reported that 'Robert Hollick, commited at the last Assizes for stopping and robbing on the highway in the parish of Claines, Thomas Gittins and Thomas
The Athenaeum was founded in January, 1829, on the model of a Mechanic's Institute. The building was a gift from William Laslett, erected in 1834, and was behind the Museum of Natural History in Foregate Street; being approached by way of the 'Athenaeum Court'
Until the year 1842, the Old Palace was the official residence of the Bishop of Worcester. He also had Hartlebury Castle and a London House, but a Royal Commision, looking into Church Revenues with reforming zeal, concluded that the Bishop had no need for
Today, it is hard to believe that before 1899 the citizens of Worcester had not the privilege of roaming at will over Pitchcroft.Pitchcroft was owned by several people and they were not distinguishable but could only be delineated on the Tythe Map. There
At the bottom of Rainbow Hill, at the juction with Tolladine Road, was a turnpike gate which until the 1860s marked the boundary between town and country. All beyond was green pastures and orchards and Rainbow Hill was a rural and picturesque place, with
Alderman Lewis seems to have been the only man to be three times mayor of Worcester - in 1844, 1845 and 1846. On the last occasion Edward Lloyd had been installed but died soon after his election and Lewis. then deputy mayor, undertook the office for the
The present building is the second church on the site. The first was built in 1773, in the garden of a large town house; the area being much favoured by the well-to-do in the 16th and 17th centuries. By the time of the Church's foundation the area had already
On the corner of the Cornmarket and New Street stood the most important house in this part of the city. Now called King Charles House, it was built by Richard Durant, a wealthy brewer, in 1577 as a two-storey house.At the time of the Civil War Mr Edward Durant
A relic of Victorian philanthropy exists in Henwick Road. Now used as a YMCA hostel, it was formerly the Royal Albert Orphanage. The building was large and costly, designed by William Watkins, a native of Rushock, near Droitwich, and errected in 1869 for
At St. Catherine's Hill, London Road, lived Edward F Corbett, a successful solicitor who became a local historian. His firm was something of a legal institution in the city, and many well-known men in the legal profession received their training at his hands
Rural life changed fundamentally between 1880 and 1914. The custom of deduction to wages in lieu of drink was in wide disfavour. In Worcester, Temperance Societies were actively campaigning against the supplying of beer and cider in the hay and harvest fields
1812 was a year of famine. The failure of the harvest caused wheat to rise to £1 a bushel. (a terribly high price in those days).  Wheaten bread was unprocurable, and those who could afford flour mixed it with other ingredients. A portion of rice was officially
Next to the Powick Lane entrance of Lady Huntingdon's Church, at the end of the row of Walgrove's Almshouses, was the Fire Engine House, of the Birmingham Fire Office. It and the almshouses were demolished in the 1950's.     In 1840, it was described as
In High Street, Mr. W.H.Elgar (the father of Edward) had a shop which he founded in the early 1860's. He had come to Worcester in 1841 from Dover as a pianist and tuner for a London firm of pianoforte makers. He was joined by his brother, and the business
Worcestershire was once part of a large river estuary with the range of the Malvern Hills on the west side, and the hills of Clent and Lickey leading to the Ridgeway on the eastern border. The rivers were tidal to Bewdley at the least, with great areas of
The company was registered in July 1917 as a subsidiary of Hitchman & Co Ltd of Chipping Norton. It was taken over by Hunt Edmunds & Co Ltd of Banbury in 1924, when it had 13 public houses, though brewing continued until 1929. Hunt Edmunds were themselves
Historic memory can span the centuries with just a few lives. Bill remembered J.W.Willis Bund, who when a boy, knew an old lady, who told him that her nurse's father, as a young man, was on duty at Worcester Bridge during the Battle of Worcester in 1651
Worcester was the first ford, coming up the Severn, at the head of the tideway which was not unduly affected by the tide, but equally important, there was sharpe rising ground which provided a place of comparative safety for those using the ford. This rising
Oswald became Bishop of Worcester in 961, at the time of the Danish raids, and when Christian life was well nigh impossible. He saw the solution in the revival of monastic life, the monasteries being a refuge where men could flee from the lawless and sensual
The privileges of Sanctuary were granted to the Cathedral in 712. The area of the Sanctuary formed a circuit around the Cathedral, coming up from the river at the Water Gate, between the College Green and the site of the old Castle ( now the King's School
In 1624, the King's Players were here twice; and in 1626, Lord Dudley's Players came. It was the practice for actors to range themselves under the name of powerful nobleman for the protection and benefits which that patronage gave. The greatest in the land
From time immemorial the Prior and the monks of Worcester (the forerunners of the Dean and Chapter) were exempt from municipal authority. This was confirmed by Henry 1V, who in the year 1400, ordained that: 'No bailiffs, serjeants, ministers or other persons
The shrines of Oswald and Wulstan were the most popular of the Midland religious shrines in the 13th and 14th centuries. The great re-building of the Cathedral in the 13th century, the choir and Lady Chapel, were made possible by the fame of the Saints o
Two years later, following Henry V111s quarrel with the Pope,on January 16th, 1540, the Priory of Worcester also came to an end, and after 580 years of occupation by the Prior and monks, the monastic buildings and estates were surrendered into the hands of
Two important royal tombs can be seen in Worcester Cathedral. That of King John, believed to bear the earliest royal effigy taken from life, and that of Prince Arthur, the eldest son of Henry Vlll, often said to be the most beautiful tomb of all in British
Eaton's History ends the account of the opening of the Tomb of King John in the Cathedral, a gentleman of this city took a handfull of the skeletons of skins of maggots that were in and about the abdomen of the body and angled with them in the Severn, and
Edgar Tower was, until the late 19th century, known as St.Mary's Gate, and was the main gate to the royal castle and priory. After the disastrous fire of 1202, when the City and Cathedral were burnt, John ordered the Sheriff of Worcester to obtain wood and
On the corner of the Cornmarket and New Street stood the most important house in this part of the City. It is now called King Charle's House, but it is the much mutilated Berkeley mansion. It once had three storeys, but a great fire destroyed the upper story
Until the year 1842, the Old Palace was the official residence of the Bishop of Worcester. He also had Hartlebury Castle and a London House, but a Royal Commision, looking into the Church Revenues with reforming zeal, concluded that the Bishop had no need
The Council of War. On June 27, 1646, during the great seige of Worcester. Colonel Washington (an ancester of George) who was the City Governor, held a Council of War in the Great Chamber to consider their position. Things were in a hopeless state for the
Willis Bund gave a clear outline of the walls in his paper The City of Worcester During the Great Civil War. He wrote: 'The line of the walls was as follows: Starting at the bottom of Dolday, which was then an important street .... There was on the bridge
The ancient boundaries of the City of Worcester comprised 318 acres, and so it remained until 1837. By 1905, they were 10 times as much, and there have been many further extensions since. In the 16th and 17th centuries building had extended outside the Forest
The Tything had long been part of a spasmodic ribbon development along the road leading north from the Foregate, to beyond St.Oswald's Hospital, but well into the 19th century there were fields on both sides of the road, where harvest was reaped and stubble
Outside the City Walls were the Liberties of the City, a narrow belt of land which, for the most part. lay within arrow-flight of the embattlements, over which the municipally exercised control. They were mainly kitchen gardens and cow pastures, and the remained
It was founded by Bishop Wulstan at the end of the 17th century, for a master, four brethren and a chaplain. The establishment was at once religious and charitable, and was one of the houses established outside the walls (like Oswald's), catering for the
One of those sons, Robert, born at Spetchley House in 1584, became Sir, Robert Berkeley, but was better known as Judge Berkeley. He in the face of great parliamentary pressure, ruled that Charles 1 could raise 'Ship Money'. Parliament sent Black Rod and arrested
The Berkeley Mansion in the Cornmarket, now called King Charle's House, from which Charles ll escaped at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, was the home of Rowland Berkeley and his wife Catherine. They were married in Easter week in 1574, and lived there fo
The ancient boundaries of the City comprised 318 acres, and had remained unchanged since medival times, but in 1835 the Municipal Reform Act brought great changes in the government of the City, and in 1837 the Liberties were absorbed into the City and its
In earlier days therewere two main types of toroughfares within the City, these were the paved 'streets', usually set with round cobble stones, and the others were of the natural earth surface, hardened with use, called 'lanes'. When the lanes were paved
'Buy!  Buy!  Buy!  Saturday night in the Shambles, after 9 o'clock, was like a medival fair, with butchers vying with each other to auction unsold meat. Until about 1930, few butchers had any form of refridgeration, and meat was sold off cheaply, rather than
At the corner of Providence Street and Temperance Street stood the Temperance Hall, a large building of two -colour brick, dating from the 1860s. It was remarkable for the text made from letters of couloured brick 2ft. high or over, which ran around the external
For a century, the Blockhouse was dominated by the Providence Works, and within ten years of George Williamson going into the business, the labour force increased from 400 to well over 1,000, and the works had become one of the largest of its kind in the
St.Paul's district was until about 1830 a very swampy area known as Blockhouse Fields. The first St. Paul's Church was built in 1835-37 soon after the first housing development began. It was a typical 'Commissioners Church' in the semi-Gothic style, having
The Cornmarket was for centuries the principal market place of the City. Besides commerce the space was used for all sorts of activities. The stocks and pillory stood there, and on occasions, at 2pm trading stopped and punishments administered. Public whippings
The imposing house in Mealcheapen Street, almost opposite the Reindeer Inn, was recently known as the Shades Tavern, but originally, it was the home of the Russell family, one of the principal families in St.Martin's parish, the Berkeleys and the Nashes being
The old commercial centre of the City had been at the Cornmarket. The main commodity on sale was corn, which was sold by sample in the open air. All around were inns with great storage capacity where the corn was kept until it was sold. In 1824, an open market
Not until 1828 were Dissenters allowed to hold public office. When they did there was sometimes an inclination to break with accepted customs. Mr. Richard Padmore in 1849, was the first Non-conformist Mayor, and declined to have a procession to either the
Well over a century ago, the Worcester Post Office was in Mealcheapen Street, occuping the building known as the 'Shades Tavern', when that area was the very centre of commercial life of the City and County. The building of the two corn exchanges brought
The Girl's National School had no special school building, but used part of the old Trinity Hall. In 1819, there were 130 girls being educated there. In the year 1821, disaster came to the school. Berrow's Journal gave a dramatic picture of the event:
The Worcester County Infirmary opened its doors to the poor and sick on January 11th, 1746. It was founded by Isaac Maddox, a man of great humanity. He had started life as a pastry-cook's boy, and by his own abilities, had become Bishop of Worcester. Before
In 1746, a parish workhouse was set up in an old half-timbered building in St. Peter's Street, which existed well into the 20th century. Here for £10 per annum, 'a proper person was employed to instruct young persons and others in pareing of leather. gloving,
The Greyfriars in Friar Street is the finest half-timbered building in the City. The building was only part of the Friary which took in all the ground occupied by the present building and that of Laslett's Hospital. Greyfriars was an order of mendicant preachers
The building in the Cornmarket was built on the north side of the piazza, on the side of the old Wheatsheaf Inn. It had two halls, the large one being 97ft. long and 40ft broad, and 40ft high, and was one of the best lighted in the kingdom, having a dome,
Queen Elizabeth's house is so called because of a tradition that when the Queen came in 1575, she ascended to the gallery to watch a pageant, and address the populace. In those days the house faced a square.Until 1877, there was a portrait of the Queen. painted
The Guild of the Holy Trinity had its religious origins in St.Nicholas parish, and the Hall of the Guilds fell into the hands of the Clothier's Company at the suppression of the religious bodies in the reign of Henry Vlll. It contained a number of large rooms,
Alderman John NashIn New Street there is a fine half-timbered building known as Nash's House. It takes it's name from Alderman John Nash, Mayor, and twice representative of the City in Parliament during Charles 1 reign. He was born of a wealthy family of
Friar Street is the most interesting of the medival streets left in Worcester, and this is due to one man, Mr.Matley Moore, who by saving the Greyfriars building, when the City authorities of the 1930-50 period had let the building deteriorate so badly that
The Commandery has been home to many notable families but none more interesting than the Camerons. Dr. Charles Cameron, the celebrated Worcester physician and his wife (Anne Ingram) lived in part of it in the latter half of the 18th century. Their eldest
No native of Worcester has played a more important part in Enlish history than Lord Somers. He was born in the year after the Battle of Worcester, in an old house beneath the shadow of the Cathedral, which was swept away at the clearing of the churchyard.He
The Three Choirs Musical Festival is the oldest and most distinguished of its kind in the world. It started in 1715 as an itinerant music club, giving performances of church music. Later, concerts were given at the shirehalls, and it was not until 1759 that
In 1646, the number of inhabitants within the City was 7,176; the garrison was 2,007, making a total of 9,183, but it was not until the 19th century that accurate figures were available from official census returns:-1801 - 13,670 1841 - 28,250 1881 - 35,072
Over the centuries, the City had many prisons. There was the gaol at the east end of St.Nicholas Street, a Bridewell at the bottom of Cucken Street (Copenhagen Street), and below the gatehouse of the Foregate were cells which, for a long period, were used as a prison for
The old castle was long used as the County prison. About 1653, a strong building of brick and stone was built within its precincts to serve as a House of Correction. The entrance was by way
Town Ditch was a characteristic and historic name, as was Watercourse Alley. The former became an important throughfare to Foregate Street, and to satisfy a sentimental objection became Sansome Street. It is a pity the change was made for both were actually
William Laslett was a notable citizen and a Member of Parliament. He bestowed upon Worcester larger benefactions than any who preceded or have so far followed after him, but he was a man of strange contradictions, who frequently marred his gifts by the manner
Twelve large inns catered for the trade in the Cornmarket in olden times, and four of them were in New Street. They were the Greyhound (later called the Old Greyhound), the New Greyhound, the Swan, and the Pheasant. The Old Greyhound was the prinicpal place
The City's first Wesleyan chapel was built in New Street in 1772, and a plaque on the wall commemorates the building. The first recorded visit of Wesley to the County was in 1761, when he preached in the 'Abbey Church' at Evesham.
On the corner of Pump Street stands the Eagle Vaults, a good example of a 1890 city tavern, with 'art-nouveau' tiles and lettering. Until recently it had the best sand-blasted, decorated windows
The Clothier's Company of Worcester was in existance in the 13th century, and was subsequently incorporated by Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth. The later charter was dated 23rd
One of the most celebrated characters of the 18th century was the woman soldier, Hannah Snell, who was born in Friar Street in April, 1723. In some local records, she is said to have
The Greyfriars in Friar Street is the finest half-timbered building in the City. The building was only part of the Friary which took in all the ground occupied by the present building and that of
Friar Street has retained more of its timber-framed building than any other street in Worcester. Many of these houses were of considerable size and were once occupied by citizens of substance, but in the 18th century most of them were divided into tenements
Almost opposite Tudor House is Wyatt's Hospital, founded for six poor men, by Edward Wyatt, Mayor of Worcester in 1696. Until a few years ago, it was an attractive row of early 18th century cottages, but has now been mutilated almost beyond recognition.
It was at the Hop Pole Inn that Nelson stayed on his memorable visit to Worcester. The coming of Nelson had not been anticipated; but during the afternoon of Sunday 26th August, 1802, a rumour of his approach spread amongst the citizens


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