Tudor House

  • 21 Jan 2019
  • Worcester People and Places
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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. Many of the brick-faced buildings are in fact, timber framed behind the facade.

Pride of place, after the Greyfriars, must go to Tudor House, now part of the City Museum. It is of considerable interest, being for many years the Cross Keys Inn, one of the 'Ecclesiastical Inns' others in that area being the Cardinals Hat, the Angel de Trompe, the Mitre, and the Seven Stars. At the beginning of the 20th century it was a coffee house, and in the late 1920's became the administrative centre of education in the City. It is a good example of the growth of bureaucracy in later years, for when Mr.F.E. Chandler took over in the 1930's as secretary, later Director of Education, the complete filing system for all educational matters for the City was on one table.

Tudor House was restored in 1910 by Mr. Cadbury, when it was found that many of its old features were buried under cement, plaster and wallpaper. In the front room on the ground floor the timbers are in a good state of preservation, and the old stone fireplace has a unusual feature for a domestic building, namely a squint or hagioscope. While a stone chimney was being removed, a number of bullets (Cromwell's 'Brown Besse's) were found, and there were numerous other discoveries, including a 'chimney jack'.

The timber framing of the house is filled with wattle and daub, and in the cellar are large recesses in the stone walls. The room upstairs has a fine plaster ceiling of the Elizabethan period, and the 'Ship Room' has undoubted maritime timbers, for it was the practice to use such timbers up Seven even to the 19th century, when some were used in the building of the Corn Exchange in Angel Street.