Pubs in the Churchyard

For centuries church ales were regular features of medieval life, and taverns were not only near at hand, but often in the churchyard itself. The Old Talbot, in College Street, Worcester  was originally the Church House for St. Michael's Church, which stood in the Cathedral churchyard. It dates from the 13th century at least, and played an important part in baking bread and brewing ales for church occasions.

The churchyard was part of the Cathedral sanctuary, and it was not until 1792 that College Street was cut. The Talbot, as it was then known, had no entrance to a street, only a back pathway through the graveyard.

During the Civil War, church records shows the Talbot to have been in the thick of the troubles. The bells were rung 'at the coming of the Princes', and Rupert and Maurice were entertained there, but when the Parliamentary Colonel Essex arrived in 1642, he was only treated to a 'Pottle (not a spelling error)  of white wine and sugar at the Talbot'. After the disastrous battle of 6151, the City was plundered, and 'the Scots that were slain .. and divers others were brought out of 'ye citty of Worcester and layd in the churchyeard'.

After the Civil War, the Talbot became a 'Court Inn', for being in the Sanctuary, and outside the municipal limits, yet within the City walls, it was widely used by county magistrates. One of the present rooms is still known as the 'Justice's Room'. A notable incident occurred shortly after the 'Glorious Revolution ' of 1688, when in view of an expected  French landing in Devon, Jacobite suspects were examined at the Talbot.

In 1745, when the young Charles Stuart was marching on London, the county justices were again busy, for the city and county had many sympathisers - but the Jacobite's contented themselves with drinking the health of the 'King over the water and confusion to the Whig'.                 From the Talbot, the justices, all local Whig landlords, formed a local committee and raised subscriptions and levied and equipped a force of 200 men.

In 1966, the Talbot underwent modernization, but old beams have been exposed and the original 17th century paneling have been retained, and in a display cabinet in the entrance foyer, three old skulls and a few clay pipes remind customers of the house's antiquity.