King Charle's House

  • 15 Jan 2012
  • Worcester People and Places
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On the corner of the Cornmarket and New Street stood the most important house in this part of the City. It is now called King Charle's House, but it is the much mutilated Berkeley mansion. It once had three storeys, but a great fire destroyed the upper story and the corner section completely. Rowland Berkeley and his wife Catherine were married in Easter Week in 1574, and lived there for 34 years, having seven sons and nine daughters. At the time of the Civil War, the Berkeleys had moved, and the house was let to a Mr.Durant, and it was he who acted as host to Charles ll, who made the house his headquarters in 1651. It was fortunate that he did so, for after the disastrous battle, it was the only possible exit out of the City, and tradition has it,  that the Parliamentary troopers arrived at the front door as he left by the small back entrance through the City Walls, and mounted his horse. With Lord Wilmot, he rode across the fields along a path now called Sansome Walk, to Barbourne Brook, where considering themselves safe for a while, they  paused to consider which road to take. They decided on the Ombersley Road, and to make for the crossing over the Severn. So began one of the greatest escapes in British history.