The Tything of Whitstone

  • 15 Jan 2012
  • Worcester People and Places
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The Tything had long been part of a spasmodic ribbon development along the road leading north from the Foregate, to beyond St.Oswald's Hospital, but well into the 19th century there were fields on both sides of the road, where harvest was reaped and stubble beaten for partridges. This was the ancient hamlet of Whitstone, which extended from the Libery Post to Barbourne, (Little London), and from Pitchcroft to Sansome Fields.

Whistson was originally one of the Northwick hamlets, and because of its proximity to Worcester, yet exempt from municipal control, grew as a slum suburb in the late Middle Ages. Many of its houses were destroyed during the Civil War. By the end of the 18th century, when Worcester had become a fashionable social centre, the main road had become a street of substantial houses of the county families. On the extension of the City boundary following the Municipal Reform Act of 1837, the Tything was absorbed into the City, and dropped its postal address of 'near Worcester'.

The original Whitstones was a mortuary chapel and cross, built in an orchard between the White Ladies Convent and St.Oswalds Hospital, where mass was offered daily for the souls of priests buried in the Hospital yard. The revenues of the land between the Hospital and the City Gate were appropriated for that purpose, and are still held by the Dean and Chapter. Originally of white stone, hence the name, the cross and chapel were demolished in Henry VIII's reign. From this orchard, trafdition has it, a pear tree was taken and re-planted on the Cross in 1575, and from the tree, Queen Elizabeth 1 plucked three pears and ordered that it be added to the City's arms.