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A Tribute to Bill Gwilliam MBE

A Tribute to Bill Gwilliam, MBE

Historical Studies Articles

The Water Gate and the Ferry

The Water Gate and the Ferry

The Priory Ferry, or Cathedral Ferry, worked until the mid-20th century. It had originally been established for the convenience both of monks and milk-maids, who would otherwise have had to be taken the circuitous route through the City to the Severn ridge at the bottom of Newport Street, for there was no riverside walk as there is today. 


Changes in the Cathedral Services

Changes in the Cathedral Services

The religious revival that came with church reform brought great changes in public worship. One of the influences for church reform came from the young men of the Oxford Movement, to whom the doctrine and ceremony of the early church were a precious heritage....


Cathedral Bell Stolen

Cathedral Bell Stolen

In 1863, the Worcester Chronicle published the startling announcement that one of the great bells of Worcester Cathedral, weighing five cwts, had recently been stolen, 'it was not known how or when but it must have been within the last few months'.

 


Cages of Birds in Cathedral Pews

Cages of Birds in Cathedral Pews

In Walpole's Lord Orford's letters, there is a note about a Worcester lady, who believing that her dead daughter yet existed and might communicate with her as a singing bird, had cages of birds put with her in her pew in the Cathedral, hoping they might attract her.


The Cathedral Charnel House

The Cathedral Charnel House

Immediately north of the main entrance to the Cathedral, at a site where now the roadway widens before the North Porch, stood the Chapel of the Charnel House.........  


Guesten Hall

Guesten Hall

The ruins in the College Green are part of the Guesten Hall, built in 1320, which formed part of a chain of monastic buildings on the south side of the Cathedral......


Three Incidents at the Old Palace

Three Incidents at the Old Palace

The Council of War - James ll Rebuffs the Bishop - The Bishop Locked Out


The Old Palace, Deansway

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 Commission looking into the Church Revenues with reforming zeal, concluded that the Bishop had no need for two palaces, and reduced his income.


Edgar Tower

Edgar Tower

Edgar Tower was, until the late 19th century, known as St. Mary's Gate, was the main gate to the royal castle and priory..... 


Eaton's Concise History of Worcester (1829) - Royal Tombs

Eaton's Concise History of Worcester (1829) - Royal Tombs

Eatons Concise History of Worcester, ends the account of the opening of the tomb with this macabre story: 'On the opening of the Tomb of King John in the Cathedral, a gentleman of this city took a hand-full 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 absolutely caught a brace of bleak with them'. 

The King's tomb was moved in to a new location in the Cathedral  which in doing so destroyed the very reason for it being there at all. The last restoration in 1874 was done by the Board of Works, who are responsible for all the royal tombs, and insensitively destroyed the remnants of colour that remained and gilded the whole figure, placing on it's head a tin crown.

Arthur, Prince of Wales, the son of Henry Vlll, was as a boy of eleven, betrothed to Catherine of Aragon, of the same age, in a Machievellian attempt to control foreign affairs of state. Two years later, they were married by proxy, the ceremony on Arthur's side taking place in the chapel of Twickenhill Palace at Bewdley on Whit Sunday, 1449. Catherine came to England two years later, and she and Arthur both 15, were married in St. Paul's Cathedral, and went to spend their honeymoon at Ludlow Castle. At the end of two months, on April 2nd, 1502, Arthur died.

The body was embalmed and a great procession brought the young prince to Worcester Cathedral for burial. It was one of the greatest  scenes of pomp and ceremony ever witnessed in our Cathedral, and one of the most moving. The chronicler wrote:

"but to have seene the weepinge when the offringe was done, he had a hard heart that wept not".

 


The Royal Tombs

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 VIII, often said to be the most beautiful tomb of all British Cathedrals.