Old and new St Michael's churches

  • 6 Nov 2019
  • Church Curiosities
  • Back

The old church of St Michael in Bedwardine, founded in 826, stood very close to the cathedral on the north-east side. Around the church were a number of houses that blocked up the northern facade of the cathedral. St Michael's had a tower and at the west end stood the ancient clochium, or bell tower, of the cathedral with its lofty spire.  

St Michael's was considered the parish church for the whole of the cathedral precincts, and if any marriages were performed at the cathedral they were entered in St Michael's register, the incumbent receiving the fees. Marriages were solemnized here between persons belonging to almost every place in the country, evidence that the population was more mobile than we often think. Its burial ground had wide use, too receiving all the prisoners and debtors who died in the county gaol, which was part of the old castle, and the Scots that were slain in the battle of Worcester in 1651.

The old church was demolished and a new church was built in 1839 in the Early English style, with an entrance and frontage in College Street, and adjoining the old Lich Gate. It had a chancel, nave and aisles, a small gallery for 200 people and windows by Hardman of Birmingham. It was little used, however, being closed as a church in 1907 and becoming the  Diocesan Records Office.