The Cathedral and the City

  • 15 Jan 2012
  • Worcester People and Places
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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 of the City of Worcester, shall hereafter carry or bear any mace or maces, but only in the presence of the King or his children, within the Church, Priory and Sanctuary of Worcester; nor intermeddle with the aforesaid liberties'.
The Mayor and Corporation unconsciously infringe this charter whenever they make an official visit to the Cathedral with their stately procession of mace-bearers. Even the special facilities by custom afford to members of the Corporation to attend the Cathedral services were alleged to be a matter of grace. The Mayor and aldermen sit in their stalls not by right, but only by the 'appointment of ye Dean and Chapter, out of the civil and Christian respects to invite them to the solemn worship of God in the Cathedral.