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A Tribute to Bill Gwilliam MBE

A Tribute to Bill Gwilliam, MBE

Worcester People and Places Articles

Dr Barnardos & William Gwilliam born 1888

 

It is known that a building on the Shelsley Side of Woodbury Hill existed in the late 19th and early 20th Century's, which was owned by Dr.Barnardo's. originally old maps shown it as the reformatory, ut the locals always spoke of it as 'The Home'.

Bill Gwilliam :

'My father, William Gwilliam lived in what he referred to as 'The Home' for four years. His father had died and his mother was unable to look after him and work. She was employed at Witley Court in the Parish Shrawley, England, as a maid. (although it is in the parish of Great Witley).......   


Captain Michael Clements, R.N

Captain Michael Clements was a naval officer who greatly distinguished himself in the wars with France and Spain. Near Cadiz, in 1778, Captain Clements in the Vengeance, in sight of all the people assembled on the walls of the city, defeated two frigates sent out against him, and took on a whole Spanish fleet, receiving the fire of 24 ships of the enemy, and having 40 holes in the hull, many between wind and water.

 


Nelson at the Hop Pole Inn, Worcester

It was at the Hop Pole that Lord Nelson stayed on his memorable visit to Worcester. The Coming of Nelson had not been anticipated, but during the afternoon of Sunday, 26th of August, 1802, a rumour of his approach spread amongst the citizens, for which mine host of the Hop Pole was probably responsible, for it was there that Nelson had bespoken rooms.....  


Grimley Lido

In the 1930s a short stretch of river bank at Grimley, known as the Grimley Lido, gave untold pleasure to the people of Worcester. It was hardly a 'Costa Brava' or a beach on the Cornish Riviera, just the length of a longish field, but it became the mecca of thousands of people who wanted a dip in the river, or a picnic, on a summer week-end, or on a Thursday 'half-day closing'...


Terrific troupe which danced for our troops

Worcester Evening News  August 1997

1940's photograph of a popular Worcester wartime dance and cabaret troupe paying tribute to a gifted local dancer who died recently (1997).


John Noakes, Historian

Under the pen-name 'Rambler' John Noakes was the senior reporter, and later sub-editor of the Worcester Herald. He came to Worcester when he was 22 years of age and died in Rose Terrace in 1894, in his 78th year, after 56 years devoted to local history researches. 


The Shambles

'Buy!  Buy!  Buy! Saturday night in the Shambles, after 9 o'clock, was like a medieval fair, with butchers vying with each other to auction unsold meat. Until about 1930, a few butchers had any form of refridgeration, and meat was sold off cheaply, rather than let it spoil over the weekend ...


Foregate Street

From the Town Gate in the Foregate to the Liberty Post at the top of Salt Lane (now Castle Street), was the northern Liberties of the City. The land was outside the walls, but under the control of the City Corporation. Before the Battle of 1651, it was a place of hovels, but in preparation for the attack, these were cleared away. 


Astwood Cemetery - Statistics @ 11th February 2019

The present  official statistics for Astwood Cemetery, @11th February 2019 stands at :

  1. Recorded burials to-date = 79,451
  2. Remainder of burial plots available = 600
  3. Current acreage of land = 85 acres 
  4. There are no plans at present to reuse previously used burial plots
  5. There are no further plans at present for a further Cemetery in Worcester or surrounding area 

 

 

 

 

 


The Worcester White House, - Held for 12 Pennies and One Red Rose

The Worcester White House, Foregate Street, was until recent times known as the Star Hotel and in the mid - 19th century, the Start and Garter. It shares the distinction of being the oldest County inn with the Lygon Arms of Broadway, for it has had a licence since 1588, the year of the Armada.


More Street Characters

The Shambles by day attracted the street musicians, if one could generously call them that, for a few could generally play or sing. One played a concertina outside the Butchers Arms (now the site of Marks & Spencers), and his repertoire consists of The Old Rustic Bridge and Abide With Me.


Nash's Almshouses

Off New Street are Nash's Almshouses, originally intended, like St.Oswald's and Berkeley's for the aged and to be known as Nash's Hospital. It still occupies the original site, and has given the name Nash's Passage to the narrow way by which it was approached. John Nash, in his will dated 1661, 'gave and devised to 16 trustees, property to be held in trust for pious and charitable uses' and with it was bought not only the land upon which the almshouses stand, but five acres of land, the site of the Royal Infirmary. Further almshouses were built on part of that land, which were demolished several years ago at the site of the Cattle Market. The 25 old folk lived rent free, with a small pension, free coal and light, and had other benefits.

 


Alderman John Nash

In New Street there is a fine half-timbered building known as Nash's House. It takes its name from Alderman John Nash, Mayor, and twice representative of the City in Parliament during Charles 1 reign.


St. Andrew's Wesleyan Church, Pump Street

In 1795, four years after John Wesley's death, the Wesleyan's in the City bought an old chapel in Pump Street belonging to a branch of Independents. It was surrounded by tumbledown houses, and like all the early dissenter's chapels, was tucked away up an alley so not to invite trouble from the mob. 


John Wesley in Worcester

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.

 

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New Street Inns and Cock Fighting

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 principal place of departure for Carrier carts. No less than nine carts left the Greyhound for outlying places on Saturday afternoons, around 4 o'clock. 


New Street

Originally, Friar Street and New Street was one street known as Glover Street; there was no break where Charles Street goes to the Blockhouse, Pump Street was a very narrow lane, the bottom of which was known as Vine Street. 


The Blockhouse

The Blockhouse was the immediate area outside the City Walls on the east and was part of the Liberties of the City. It was a network of ditches, much like Sedgemoor. Even in the 1850's one remained, with its path along, known as 'Withy Walk', now St Paul's Street. 


Wyatt's Hospital

Almost opposite Tudor House is Wyatt's Hospital, founded for six poor men, by Edward Wyatt, Mayor of Worcester in 1696.


Tudor House

Friar Street has retained more of its timber-framed buildings 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 and allowed to fall into a sorry state of dilapidation. Many of the brick-faced buildings are in fact, timber-framed behind the facade.


The Greyfriar's School

Previous to Schaffer's ownership, the prinicipal part of the building was in the occupation of Mr. Christopher Bardin, an old gentleman of venerable aspect, who conducted a private school at modest fees, in the days when public elementary education was in it's infancy.


The Greyfriars

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 a and that of Laslett's Hospital.

 


Friar Street

Friar Street is the most interesting of the medieval 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 1st the building deteriorate so badly that part of it fell into the street.

 


150th Anniversary Astwood - And the twist to the turn of the tale .........

As we congregated at the grave side of Baby Ryan, it was very peaceful and tranquil with the sun shining through the trees just as Father McGinley started his service, a sound took our attention to look to our left.....

Whilst we all started to arrive at the grave side, a elderly couple stood in the distance, on looking over l could see the lady was very distressed and upset .....


150th Anniversary of Astwood "Graveside Memorial Service Baby Ryan" 9-10-2008

Astwood Cemetery 1858 -2008

Graveside Memorial Service for Baby John Ryan

9th October 2008 3pm

                                                    I am the resurrection and the life, Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live -                       


150th Anniversary of Astwood Baby Grave Marked after 150 Years BBC Ceefax

Ceefax 167 Thursday 9 October 2008 BBC West Midlands


150th Anniversary of Astwood Cemetery The First Burial & Sad Going On's

Not much is recorded about Bridget (nee Butler) or John Ryan, apart from we know John was a Stonemason's labourer and that they came over from Mayo in Ireland during the Potato famine, sadly Bridget became a Prisoner in Worcester's County Gaol, Whitstones. 


150th Anniversary of Astwood - The End of the Chapels (Transcript Page 19)

Unfortunately, through lack of repair by Worcester Council over the years, it was reported in the 1970's that the once so beautiful Chapel required a large amount of work and a considerable amount of money spent to restore them. At this time the Council could not justify spending so a decision was taken to demolish the Chapels which followed in the late 1970's 


150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows - Sat 2 Oct 1858 Part 3 - The Collation a t the Guildhall (Transcript of Page 17/18/19)

The LORD BISHOP gave the health of the Mayor and Corporation, eulogizing their exertions and again expressing the gratification which he in common with others present bad experience at the day's ceremonial. (Cheers)

(Article Credits: Pam Hinks would like to thank Worcester News formerly Berrow' for permission to reproduce copyright material)


150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows - Sat 2 Oct 1858 Part 2 - The Collation at the Guildhall (Transcript of Page 14/15/16)

A collation was served at the Guildhall at three o'clock to which the Lord Bishop and Mr. Laslett, MP, were invited by the Mayor and Corporation. There were also present most of the members of the Corporation and of the clergy who had taken part in the proceedings of the morning, and a goodly number of ladies. The edibles were provided by Mr. Mountford, with his customary tact.

(Article Credits: Pam Hinks would like to thank Worcester News formerly Berrows for permission to reproduce copyright material)


150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows - Sat 2 Oct 1858 Part 1 - Consecration of the Cemetery (Transcript Page 12/13)

The portion of ground which, through the liberality of Mr. Laslett, MP, and the meritorious exertions of the local Board of Health, has been appropriated for use as a Public Cemetery for the inhabitants of this city, was solemnly set apart for its intended purposes on Tuesday last. The Episcopalian Chapel with its burying ground was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese, and that of the Congregational Dissenters of various denominations was solemnly inaugurated.

(Article credits: Pam Hinks would like to thank Worcester News, formerly Berrow's for permission to reproduce copyright material)


150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows 18 Sept 1857- Worcester New Cemetery (Transcript Page 10/11)

"The works at the new cemetery are now nearly completed: the consecration of the Episcopalian portion will shortly take place. We have previously briefly noticed them as they progressed, but are now enabled to give more detailed description...

(Article credits: Pam Hinks would like to thank Worcester News formerly Berrow's for permission to reproduce copyright material, It also deserves a mention as to the attention to such splendid detail highlighted in the article by the reporter/editor of the day )


150th Anniversary of Astwood - William Laslett of Abberton Hall (Transcript Page 8/9)

For the establishment of an Orphan Asylum he gave £500 and towards building Holy Trinity Church he gave another £500. He built the grandstand at the Worcester County Cricket Ground and in 1876 funded the Worcester Music Hall upon terms very advantageous to the citizens.. But the gift for which William is most remembered, and which has now been linked together with the rest of his running bequests into Laslett Charities, is the purchase of the old Worcester City prison and it's conversion into Almshouses.


150th Anniversary of Astwood - William Laslett of Abberton Hall (Transcript Page 6/7)

In 1843 Thomas Southall, later Town Clerk of Worcester, was articled to William Years after Thomas could remember how as a young man he was asked to dine with William at Thorngrove, house and furnishings were magnificent, William having brought the contents of the house from the previous owner. (Interestingly this same circumstances appears in East Lynne). The dinner silver and wines were of the very best but two dishes made an indelible impression on the young guest - two suckling pigs, one at each end of the table, one boiled and one roasted.


150th Anniversary of Astwood - William Laslett of Abberton Hall (Transcript Pg 4/5)

We have a description of Bishop Carr's funeral as it was reported in The Times. As said before he died at 9 pm on Saturday 24 April 1841 but was not buried until 10 am on Monday 3 May 1841. The face that nine days elapsed between death and burial is unusual, that it was a private funeral is most unusual for a Bishop of the Church of England. The Times of Thursday 6 May 1841 says:


150th Anniversary of Astwood - William Laslett of Abberton Hall (Transcript Pg 2/3)

William Laslett was baptised on 14 October 1799 at All Saints Church, Worcester the first born child of Thomas ans Sophia Laslett. Thomas was a banker whose father had settled in Worcester around 1850. The family were of Kentish yeoman stock originally.


150th Anniversary of Astwood - Forward - ' Our Quiet Citizens of Worcester' (Transcript Pg 1)

In recognition of the 150th Anniversary to commemorate the first burial following the gift of land from William Laslett to the inhabitants of Worcester. Tuesday 9th October 2008 3pm Unveiling of Memorial Headstone for Baby Ryan followed by Grave Side Service

 


Public Toilets

The first public toilet for women in Worcester were erected in land off Little Angel Street


The Cathedral Grates and Lich Street

The making of College Street through the Cathedral churchyard from High Street to Sidbury in 1792, followed the clearances of houses which had grown up in the shadow of the Cathedral and around St Michael's church. The fine terrace houses in College Yard were also built at that time. In a house on the south side of St. Michael's was born Lord Somers, one of Worcester's greatest sons


The Charlies

As one would expect in the centre of the town, the City had a 'watch' here who had a sentry-type box for shelter in the churchyard of St Nicholas Churchyard. This was before there was any regular police force. They were known as 'Charlie's, and they were usually old men, and a very inefficient body.


William Laslett

William Laslett was a notable citizen and a Member of Parliament 


Tudor House

Friar Street has retained more of it's timber-framed buildings 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 and allowed to fall into a sorry state of dilapidation


Nelson at Worcester

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

Wyatt's Hospital

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.

Tudor House

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

The Greyfriars & Greyfriars School

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

Hannah Snell, The Woman Soldier

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 Guilds

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

The Eagle Vaults

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

John Wesley in Worcester

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.

New Street Inns and Cockfighting

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

William Laslett

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

The Town Ditch

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

The County Prison in the Old Castle

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

The City Gaol

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

Population

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

The Black Festival

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

Lord Somers and the 'Glorious Revolution'

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 Cameron Family

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

Friar Street

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

Alderman John Nash & Nash's Almshouse's

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

The Trinity Hall and Freame the Cabinet Maker

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,

Queen Elizabeth's House in the Trinity

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 Public Hall

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,

The Greyfriars

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

St Peter's Parish Workhouse

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 Old Infirmary, Silver Street

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


The Fire at Trinity Hall

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 Early Post Office

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 Non-Conformist Mayors

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

The Drama of the Corn Exchange

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

The Shades

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 Cornmarket

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

St.Pauls and 'Woodbine Willie'

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

George Williamson

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

The Temperance Hall and The Hall of Science

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

The Shambles

'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


Old Street Names

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

Changes in the City Boundaries

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

Judge Berkeley and Spetchley Park

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

Judge Berkeley and Hidden Treasure.

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 Commandery

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

The Liberties of the City

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

The Tything of Whitstone

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

The Growth of the City

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 City Walls and Gates

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

Three Incidents at the Old Palace

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

The Old Palace, Deansway

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

King Charle's House

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

Edgar Tower

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


Eaton's Concise History of Worcester (1829)

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

The Royal Tombs

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


The Dissolution

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

The Shrines of Oswald and Wulstan

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

The Cathedral and the City

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 Plague and Puritans

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

The Sanctuary at Worcester

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

The Early Cathedrals of Oswald and Wulstan

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 Beginnings of Worcester

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

Links with the Past

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

Harper's Hitchman's Ltd (Lowesmoor Brewery)

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

Prehistoric Trackways in Worcestershire

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 Elgars - Father and Son

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

The Fire Engine House

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

1812 - A Year of Famine

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

The Truck Acts and Cider for Farm Workers

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

The Corbetts - Father & Son

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

The Royal Albert Orphange

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

King Charles House

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

Lady Huntingdon's Church

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

Alderman William Lewis

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

Rainbow Hill and Doctor Dixon

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

Pitchcroft and the fight to get public possession

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

The Old Palace, Deansway

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

The Athenaeum

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'

Highwayman at Claines, Executed

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 Blanquets

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

The Wyldes of the Commandery

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

Roman Roads in Worcestershire

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

Isaac Wedley, Antiquarian, Author and Organist

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

The Shrawley Witch

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

The Cardinal's Hat, Friar Street, Worcester

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

The Beginning of Iron Workings in Worcestershire

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

The Hop Pole Inn

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.

Wall's Bakery, Friar St

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.

Michael Grundy writes:

No-one has done more in a lifetime than H.W ("Bill") Gwilliam to chronicle the history of the City of Worcester and County of Worcestershire. Importantly too, his prolific writings on the Faithful City's past have always been in a most readable, fascinating and absorbing form, full of colour and with a liberal sprinkling of humour.

After retiring from a distinguished career in teaching, Bill researched and compiled volume after typewritten volume on the history of the city and county of Worcester, covering a myriad of subjects such as folklore, pubs, crimes, newspapers, transport. rivers and, above all, "People and Places."

Eighteen years ago, when I began producing weekly features on local history for the Worcester Evening News, I received invaluable help from Bill, and I am sure many other local history researchers down the decades will have had cause to be equally grateful for his ready assistance.

Bill has always shown abounding enthusiasm for the extremely eventful and chequered past of Worcester and the county and has been a veritable font of knowledge on his painstakingly researched subject.

Little wonder that the Queen bestowed the MBE on him for services to the public. I know that the Buckingham Palace Investiture where he received the medal from Her Majesty was probably the most memorable day of his life.

Happily, Bill's vast writings are not being allowed to languish in numerous file folders on shelves around a bedroom at his Worcester home.

Two books of his work have already been published - "Old Worcester: People and Places" and "Worcestershire's Hidden Past" and are available in bookshops, having been produced by Halfshire Books.

I understand too that the Worcestershire Record Office has copied several of his volumes for the county archives, and I heartily applaud Pam Hinks for now so patiently making Bill's researches available to an even wider audience via the Internet.

Mike Grundy, Worcestershire Evening News