Some history of Worcester
Worcester is an ancient Cathedral City and the capital of Worcestershire. In 1621 James I made it a county in its own right, independent of the county of Worcestershire, and by it steadfast loyalty to the King during the Civil War, it earned the title of "The Faithful City." The town is situated upon both banks of the river Severn, principally upon the eastern side which is much steeper. This was to avoid the menace of flooding. Indeed, the western bank is renowned for its flooding and has caused much misery and hardship in recent times.
Worcester has a very turbulent history and has suffered terrible damage by marauding armies. Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Danes and the Welsh have all sought to capture this prized town. Perversely however, it is the town planners of the twentieth century who have inflicted more damage. Thankfully, there is still a good deal to savour around the old streets of Worcester. Indeed, the palimpsest imposed upon the urban landscape does, at times, produce some startling surprises.
Traces of early settlement have been found in the city which suggests that it dates from the Early Iron Age. The fording of the mighty Severn led to early significant development before the arrival of the Romans who built a fort here. In the seventh century the town was chosen as the centre of a new see and a Minster of Saint Peter was built. However, this was rebuilt in 961 when Saint Oswald was made a bishop. Indeed, he later became Archbishop of York. The Danes all but destroyed St. Oswald's structure in 1041 and it was not until 1084 that work commenced on the present building. It was begun by a young Saxon Monk Wulfstan who was the only Saxon bishop not turned out to make way for a Norman. When fires destroyed parts of this great structure, and Wulfstan's tower fell, King John gave 100 marks towards the repairs.
Inside the cathedral is an unbroken vista of its high vaulted roof with the pointed arches on their slender pillars stretching east to west for over 400 feet. It is this unbroken continuity that is such an impressive sight, and so harmoniously blended is the skills of the Norman and English builders that the proportions and unity had the likes of Nikolaus Pevsner writing enthusiastically about the place. The crypt is one of the most amazing sights and is almost exactly as Saint Wulfstan built it. Here you will see the actual stones that he laid as the foundation of his shrine. The choir, known as the glory of Worcester, was begun in the thirteenth century by William de Blois on the site of the Norman choir. The fourteenth century stalls have been much restored, but 37 of the collection of 42 misericords date from the 15th century and are considered to be the finest in England.
The sanctuary houses the Cathedral's two chief treasures, the royal tombs, and there are few corners in any cathedral more striking than the Chantry of Prince Arthur. It is of white stone and is a perfect example of Tudor art. The actual tomb inside this delicate structure is plain and simple, its sole ornament the Arms of England and France. Arthur was betrothed at the tender age of 11 to Catherine of Aragon and married by proxy at Tickenhall Palace, Bewdley, when only 13. When he was 15 the wedding took place and two months later he died at Ludlow Castle, and his body carried with much pomp to Worcester in 1502. Four bishops and seven abbots took part in the elaborate funeral ceremonies, and this chapel was built round the tomb, declared by an old chronicler to be the "goodliest,' best wrought and garnished I ever saw." The death of Prince Arthur changed the course of English royal and ecclesiastical history. His younger brother, who had been destined to be Archbishop of Canterbury, became Henry VIII and married Arthur's widow, the first of his six wives.
The other royal grave is the tomb of King John and is in the heart of the choir. He was buried here by his own wish as this was his favourite shrine and he had great belief in the protection of St. Wulfstan. The figure of the king lies on an altar tomb and is thought to be the earliest royal sculptured figure in England. Once the figure itself was resplendent with gold and colour and jewelled ornaments but it is now, in the main, grey granite, and the jewels have long since disappeared. It is difficult to stand next to this monument and not feel a sense of awe.
In a glazed oak case is one of the Cathedral's rarest possessions, three leaves of a copy of the Gospel written in Mercia during the eighth century. The book is known as the Worcester Gospels and only fragments of it exist, but the lettering stands out clearly from the brown parchment. Another treasure is a small fifteenth century Madonna and Child carved in Derbyshire alabaster, hanging on the lady chapel wall, in its original painted shrine of wood. High on the wall of the north choir aisle is a little 'watching window' from which, in times of old, a watch was kept day and night over the treasures of the sanctuary. The eastern transepts and lady chapel, though built at the same time as the choir, are lower, and contain arcading round the walls considered to be the finest early stone carving in England.
The ancient thirteenth century gateway leading to the precincts of the Cathedral is the original gateway to the now vanished castle, and it opens to College Green with the cloisters, the King's School, the Chapter House, the ruins of the old guest hall and other links with the past. By the gateway stands the Records Office of the diocese, a building of much interest because it was once the church of St. Michael which stood across the street and was taken down to be set up here for its new role. It still has its fifteenth century bell and possesses one of the most interesting papers in the world - that of the only existing document concerning the marriage of Shakespeare and Ann Hathaway. It is a deed by which, in the Bishop's Court on November 28th, 1682, two farmers of Shottery entered into a bond declaring that there were no lawful impediments against the marriage. The purpose of this deed was to expedite the ceremony by permitting it to take place after once asking the banns.
The ruins of Guesten Hall, where the monks entertained their guests, was built in 1320. The hall stood until about 1860, when it was deemed unsafe and taken down and its oak roof removed to one of the city's churches, Holy Trinity. On College Green is the King's School which uses the ancient refectory of the monks, and where also there are the cloisters with the library over them. In this library there are approximately 4,000 books, one of them printed by Caxton and three by Wynken de Worde, and there is also a twelfth century manuscript of Roman law by an Italian lawyer known as Vicarious, which is the only copy in England. The chapter house was the first room built in this country with a central pillar supporting a vaulted roof and is the only existing round one. The pillar is Norman.
Any trip to Worcester should incorporate a visit to The Commandery, the Royalist Headquarters during the Battle of Worcester of 1651. However, it was originally the hospital of St. Wulfstan who founded it in 1085. Wulfstan, a monk and schoolmaster at Worcester, was the last of the Saxon princes of the church. It is said that he would beat a monk who arrived late to a church service, or cut off the hair of young men in his parish if he considered it too long. When the Normans stood appalled at the slave trade in Bristol Wulfstan apparently went there and stayed until the traffic was stamped out. It is believed that he was a man of abstemious habits and while he himself supposedly lived on bread and water, he maintained the extravagant hospitality of his ancestors towards his guests. A man of spotless life and most jovial of saints, one of his many public services was to contribute to the Conqueror's Domesday Book. The records of the hospital show that in 1294, twenty-two sick persons were in the infirmary, but the place also relieved the poor and gave shelter to the belated travellers arriving after the city gates were closed. Of the actual buildings, fragments only remain of the chapel dedicated to St. Godwald which must have been of considerable proportions and architectural interest. The names of the hospital masters are recorded from the thirteenth century to the dissolution of the monasteries.
The present building, dating from the fifteenth century, retains some of its grandeur, including the great hall, formerly the refectory, half-timbered, with a lofty open roof and divided into five bays. The impressive Elizabethan staircase leading to the upper rooms is of massive oak, richly carved and of unusual design. The Priors' Room contains an old oak bedstead with remarkable carvings known as the Apostles' bedstead, these twelve being represented on the headpiece. The bedstead was made from wood from Old Powick Bridge, the scene of the fiercest fighting during the Battle of Worcester. There are interesting mural paintings on the walls of that portion of the building used as the Infirmary, in a small room that was probably once a chapel. During the destruction of religious pictures in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries many were coated over with whitewash but they were restored and preserved in 1935. Today, the building houses the country's most important English Civil War Museum. This conflict started and finished in Worcester with a skirmish between Cavaliers and Roundheads at Powick Bridge in 1642 and with the Battle of Worcester on 3rd September 1651. This was when the Parliamentarians inflicted the final rout of the Royalist troops and Charles II began his famous 'Flight to France.'
A short distance from the Cathedral in Severn Street was the world famous Royal Worcester Porcelain Company, a firm founded in 1751, and gaining its Royal Warrant from George III in 1788. The enterprise was started by Dr. Wall, a Worcester citizen who was anxious to restore the prosperity of the city after the decline of the cloth trade. Today, the Worcester Porcelain Museum houses the world's largest collection of Worcester Porcelain where the visitor can see rare pieces displayed in period settings in addition to learning about the Company's history. And, if you have some spare cash, you can dispose of it in the shop!
Returning to the Cathedral, I recommend entering the High Street from College Yard. At the top of the High Street opposite St. Helen's Church you can find a commemorative plaque marking approximately the position of the Elgar Family music shop which stood there for many years. Edward Elgar spent much of his youth here between 1863 and 1879. This was to have an important influence over his life and he once recounted how in the shop at No.10 High Street 'A stream of music flowed through our house and shop and I was all the time bathing in it.' A statue of Elgar stands at the top of the High Street looking towards the Cathedral. Sculpted by Kenneth Potts, the statue was unveiled by the Prince of Wales in June 1981.
Saint Helen's Church is thought to stand on the site of Worcester's first Christian church, a 3rd or 4th Century Roman temple dedicated to the Empress Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great. As a boy, Edward Elgar sometimes rang the curfew bell at St. Helen's Church, a duty which also entailed giving out precise chimes to denote the date in the month. The young Elgar however took mischievous delight in adding a few extra chimes.
On the south side of the chancel of St. Helen's, there is a monument to Colonel Dud [or Dodo] Dudley who died in 1684. He was an ironmaster who had been granted a patent by James I for his method of using coal for iron smelting. During the Civil War he fought for the Royalists and cast cannon and shot for the Royal magazines at Worcester, Stafford, Dudley and Oxford. As General of Artillery, he was at Worcester throughout its siege in 1646. Indeed, he claimed to have rebuilt the city walls. He was later arrested and imprisoned in Worcester for conspiring to aid the King. He escaped via Sidbury Gate to London where he was recaptured, tried for treason and sentenced to death. He escaped again, but on returning to Worcester, discovered that his property had been confiscated.
Further along the High Street is The Guildhall, widely regarded as one of the finest Queen Anne buildings in England. It was built in 1721 from the design of Thomas White, a native of Worcester and a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren. Above the doorway is the head of Cromwell, nailed by the ears in token of the undying loyalty of the Faithful City. Pepys wrote in his diary that this was an insult and indignity for a man so great. The Assembly Room inside is one of the best of its kind, with a ceiling of splendour, and among the portraits on the wall, one by Reynolds of George III, who gave it to the Guildhall. The Assembly Room is now open to the public where 'Pump Room'' teas and meals are served. Among the Guildhall's more interesting possessions are collections of early Worcester china and ancient shields, a queer helmet used at one time for punishing scolds, suits of armour and a brass cannon found after the Battle of Worcester. Framed on the entrance wall is the Victoria Cross won in the Great War by Frederick George Dancox, a private in the Worcestershire's.
A short walk south towards the river will bring you to St. Andrew's Gardens. Here you will find [well, you cannot miss it really] one of Worcester's main landscape and skyline features. St Andrew's Spire was built in 1751 and measures some 75 metres in height. In the boom days of Worcester's gloving industry it was popularly known as 'The Glover's Needle.' The church of which the spire was part was pulled down in the 1940s. You can enjoy a splendid riverside walk from St. Andrew's Spire along the Severn which is home to hundreds of white swans. The walk will bring visitors to the old port area of the town and Worcester Bridge. There has been a stone span over the Severn near this spot since 1313. However, the present structure dates from 1781 and was designed by John Gwynn. The bridge had to be widened and reconstructed in 1932 and it was officially opened by Prince of Wales [later Edward VIII].
The railway bridge beyond Worcester Bridge is the centrepiece of a one-and-a-half mile long viaduct and embankment with 68 arches. The first railway bridge was built in 1860 and a new girder span was installed in 1904. Just beyond this is the 100-acre site of Pitchcroft which hosts all manner of events for the city. It is also home to Worcester Racecourse where horse-racing has taken place for centuries. Pitchcroft was once a tract of common land on which the citizens had grazing rights for their cattle. It was here that, in 1824, the epic prize-fight between Tom Spring, Champion of England and Jack Langan, champion of Ireland. A crowd of over 50,000 converged on Pitchcroft and witnessed a gruelling 84 rounds. A round was only called when one of the fighters fell. In the end, Spring was declared the winner although Langan was apparently willing to fight on despite not even knowing his own name. He was not the only injured party that day. The crowd was so boisterous that two of the stands collapsed.
A footbridge crosses the river at Pitchcroft which allows pedestrians and cyclists to explore the Eastern side of the city in St. John's. Built in 1991, this bridge is called Sabrina after Sabern a goddess and legend linked with the river. The earliest crossing of the river is back down by the Cathedral where a ferry operated for some 4,000 years. Volunteers still operate the Watergate Ferry at summer weekends and Bank Holidays. The former home of the Cathedral ferrymen and women is the cottage above the Watergate. The wall here has flood marks from the years when the Severn has burst its banks to a serious degree. The record flood was in 1947 but I suspect the summer of 2007 and winter of 2019-20 saw similar levels of water.
Worcestershire County Cricket Club is located on the opposite bank from the Cathedral and is one of the finest first-class cricket arenas in England. The club was founded in 1865 and played in the county championship from 1899, a competition the side did not win until 1964. They soon made up for this by winning again the following year. They won again in 1974 and, during an incredibly successful period, clinched the trophy in both 1988 and 1989. This was the Ian Botham era - and in the five years he spent at the club they also won the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1991 and the Sunday League twice, in 1987 and 1988. The cricket ground is often featured on BBC news magazine programmes during the winter months because it is one of the first places to flood along the River Severn.
The route back to the city's High Street can incorporate a visit to the Crown Gate Shopping Centre where, during its reconstruction, archaeological digs revealed significant evidence of life in Roman, Saxon and medieval Worcester. Roman graves and evidence of Roman iron smelting were uncovered at Deansway while a section of Roman road and more smelting operations were unearthed at Dolday. The Crown Estate created a Heritage Trail through Crown Gate with wall plaques denoting places of interest. The Crown Gate Bell Tower in Chapel Walk is on the site of an old Bronze foundry while Friary Walk takes its name from the 13th century Dominican or 'Blackfriars' monastery which stood at that location. Also alongside the Friary Walk complex lies some of the ancient City Walls which can be seen from Rack Alley, once the site of cloth drying racks, part of Worcester's extremely thriving medieval and Tudor cloth industry.
Chapel Walk is also the site of Huntingdon Hall which was originally constructed in 1773 after a donation from the influential 18th century non-conformist, Selina, Countess of Huntingdon. The building proved to be too small and the present chapel was built in 1804 and further enlarged in 1815 and 1839. The atmospheric interior still has the original box pews and pulpit plus the magnificent locally-made Nicholson Organ. Following extensive restoration by a preservation trust, the chapel is now a concert hall, events venue, art centre and the Elgar School of Music.
Back into the High Street one can turn left to into The Cross. This was the traditional centre of the city and location of St. Nicholas' Church, a superb 18th century edifice. It was built on the site of a 12th century church. The building was, in recent times, converted into a café bar. The buildings in The Cross are quite dramatic; the corner building is a fine example of a Victorian red-brick building. The Hopmarket is just a few yards along the road. It is another magnificent structure. Today, this is a concourse of shops but, in times past, this was where farmers and hop dealers gathered regularly to trade in crops from the once extensive hop yards of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. When following this building around the corner into Sansome Street one will catch a glimpse of another important church in Worcester's history - St. George's Catholic Church which I will return to later. First, I invite you to walk under the railway bridge and along the road towards Kidderminster and Droitwich.
Along Foregate Street is the County or Shire Hall where the Assizes, Quarter Sessions, County Council Meetings and County Court were held. It is of the Ionic order of architecture. The statue in the courtyard of Queen Victoria is the work of Sir Thomas Brock, a native of Worcester. Adjacent is the Victoria Institute erected at a cost of £52,000 as a memorial of Queen Victoria's Jubilee. This building became the City Art Gallery and Museum, containing the public library, reading room, art gallery and museum. Foregate Street leads into The Tything where at Whiteladies there are traces of an ancient nunnery bearing that name with fragments of the chapel.
Also in the Tything is St. Oswald's Hospital which was founded in 990AD and rebuilt in 1873 at a cost of £12,500 to provide home for retired citizens of the city. St. George's Church is located at this end of the city. The square and avenue leading up to the building is an incredible sight. The Grammar School is nearby and looks much older than its construction date. The original Grammar School once stood near to The Cross and was founded by Elizabeth I. During the Civil War its scholars are said to have distinguished themselves by carrying earth and stones to strengthen the battered walls and powder to supply the defending Royalist garrison. The school was later housed adjoining St. Swithun's Church and moved to its present site in The Tything in 1895. The city's football ground was located behind St. George's and the Grammar School.
Worcester City Football Club was founded in 1902 when Worcester Rovers and Berwick Rangers were merged. The record attendance was 17,042 in the F.A. Cup 4th Round against Sheffield United in 1959. City lost 2-0. The club has been a launch-pad for some famous players - Henry Horton went on to play for Blackburn, John Barton to Everton and Roger Davies who played for Brian Clough in Derby County's heyday.
Worcester has another St. George's Church on Sansome Walk. This Roman Catholic church dates from Catholic Emancipation in 1829 although it was built on the site of an older church in which James II attended mass. Elgar's father was Organist of St. George's for 37 years, often nipping off in lengthy sermons for a 'snifter' at the nearby Hopmarket Hotel. Edward Elgar was to succeed his father as Organist of St. George's for several years. Above the High Altar of the church is a copy of the priceless Raphael painting 'The Transfiguration' which hangs in The Vatican at Rome.
Not far from the church is one of Worcester's most fascinating buildings named after the Tudor Queen. The quaint half-timbered Queen Elizabeth's House stands in what is called the Trinity and has been moved back a few yards to make way for traffic. It has an open gallery from which Queen Elizabeth addressed the people during her visit to the city in 1574, and is a black-and-white structure with an overhanging storey. Trinity Street was also the home of Berrow's Worcester Journal. This is still published in Worcester today and is the world's oldest surviving newspaper, first printed in 1690.
King Charles' House stands in New Street with the inscription over the doorway of 'Love God, honor ye King.' It is a queer timbered place of 1577 where Charles II spent the night before the Battle of Worcester, and after his defeat escaped by the back door as the Parliament men pursued him at the front. Originally it filled the whole of the corner site, but the greater part was destroyed by fire at the end of the eighteenth century. At the end of New Street is a square called The Cornmarket, in times past a focal pointing for trading and the site of the city stocks where offenders were publicly whipped. Mealcheapen Street forms the passage between two more important churches - Old St. Martin's Church and St. Swithun's. The latter is a superb 18th century building.
New Street draws you towards Friar Street, one of Worcester's most remarkable thoroughfares. This is the city's best preserved mediaeval street and is lined with some of its most historic buildings notably Greyfriars, an imposing black-and-white property now owned by the National Trust. Built in 1480, with early 17th and late 18th century additions, this timber-framed house was rescued from demolition at the time of the Second World War and has been carefully restored and refurbished. Interesting textiles and furnishings add character to the panelled rooms and an archway leads through to a delightful garden, a haven of peace in the centre of a busy city.
Tudor House contains the Worcester Museum of Local Life which gives a fascinating insight into life in Victorian times and in the first half of the twentieth century. The museum reflects the history of the city and its people using the social history collections of Worcester City Museums. Of particular note is the displays of life in the city during World War Two, the Victorian kitchen scene, and the turn-of-the-century schoolroom. In addition, a variety of temporary exhibitions and events are held throughout the year. Leading off Friar Street is Union Street which features the mock-Tudor Laslett's Almshouses. These were built on the city's 19th century jail. Around the corner it is possible to find see more surviving sections of the 13th century City Walls, the ancient fortifications which once encircled the historic core of Worcester.
Worcester in 1828-9 Pigot's Directory
A handsome and populous city, the county town, and a comity of itself, is situated 111 miles W.N.W. of London, 30 E. by N. of Hereford, 26 N. of Gloucester, 25 S.W. of Birmingham, 14 from Kidderminster, and 7 from Droitwich and Malvern. The city contains about fourteen regular streets, besides numerous lanes, alleys, etc. The principal part of the town occupies the most elevated ground from the north to the south, rising with a gentle ascent from the noble river Severn, and is sheltered towards the east and north-east by woods: the river, which flows southerly, is often rapid in its stream, but the navigation is safe, commodious, and of greater length than that of any other river in England, and is of great importance to the commercial inhabitants of Worcester and the adjacent neighbourhood.
This is considered one of the most ancient and respectable cities in England, and there are but five reckoned superior to it in extent and population, and a less number in beauty. The foundation of Worcester, like that of many other ancient cities, is involved in uncertainty; and whether the rise of it can be ascribed to the Romans or the Saxons, is a matter of doubt. It was possessed by the Britons before the arrival of the Saxons, by whom it was called Weogorna Ceaestre, and in process of time Wigra-cester and Wigornceastre, this was afterwards corrupted into Wircester, a mode of writing that prevailed about the Norman conquest, and gave way in a succeeding age to the present form of spelling 'Worcester.'
The government of this city is confided to a mayor, recorder, six aldermen, a sheriff and two chamberlains, assisted by a town clerk, two coroners and forty'eight common councilmen; these compose the corporate body, who have a sword bearer, four serjeants at mace, thirteen constables and four beadles. Worcester has returned members to parliament uninterruptedly since the year 1693, at which period the right of election was vested in all the freemen not receiving alms. For the honour of representing this ancient and respectable city many severe contests have at different periods taken place; the present members are Lieutenat-Colonel Thomas H. Davies and George R. Robinson, Esq.; the sheriff is the returning officer, and the number of voters amount to nearly three thousand.
The assizes for the county are held here twice in the in the year; sessions every quarter, and a court is held every Monday for the general business of the city, which takes also cognizance of debts from the lowest coin to one thousand pounds.
The buildings appropriated to the performance of divine worship are very numerous, under the establishment, as well as for various sects of dissenters from the church. The venerable cathedral takes precedence of all these. The original church was founded as early as the year 680, and was then dedicated to St. Peter; but in the year, 983 St. Oswald, the great patron of the monks, completed the building of a new and more stately edifice, in the church-yard of the neglected St. Peter's, which he dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and furnished with no less than twenty-eight altars. In 1084 Bishop Wulstan laid the foundation of the present cathedral, which, in subsequent periods, has been enlarged, repaired, many parts re-built and altered by other prelates. The interior is extremely beautiful; its full length, front east to west, is 395 feet, and, as well as the exterior presents a great variety of architecture. The tower, which is very handsome, rises from the great cross aisle, and is 200 feet in height, containing a fine set of bells.
The other churches are St. Peter's and St. John's, both vicarages, the former in the incumbency of the Rev. Cornelius Copner, and the latter in that of the Rev. Townsend Forester; St. Michael's, the Rev. T. Clark; St. Andrew's, the Rev. T. Wylde; St. Swithin's, the Rev. Thomas Shirley; St. Martin's, the Rev. Digby Smith; and St. Clement's, the Rev. John Davis, all rectories, and, with the before-named are in the gift of the dean and chapter. St. Helen's and St. Nicholas' are also rectories, in the presentation of the Bishop of Worcester: the rector of St. Helen's is the Rev. Thomas Bedford; and the incumbent of St. Nicholas' is the Rev. Robert Clifton. All Saints', the benefice of which is in the gift of the Crown, has for its rector the Rev. Richard Davis, The Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Independents, and Lady Huntingdon's connexion have each a chapel, and the society of friends have two meeting houses.
The charitable establishments are very numerous, and embrace many schools, open for all conditions and sects; hospitals for the aged and infirm of both sexes; almshouses; an infirmary, dispensary, etc. The general infirmary is large and very pleasantly situated, commanding a fine prospect over the racecourse and river, which is close adjoining the town; it was built in the year 1770. The house of industry is also a line edifice, and is situated on an eminence, near to the canal, east of the city. The city gaol was formerly a house of grey friars, and is the most entire of any religious house in Worcester; it was granted to the citizens by Henry VIII. The new county gaol is a large erection, and is situate just without the boundaries of the city, near the race course; the interior arrangements are convenient and commodious, it cost £19,000. in building.
The theatre is a commodious edifice, and first took the title of a royal one in the year 1805, when Betty, the young Roscius, was engaged to play in it eight nights for 1,000 guineas. The bridge over the river is elegant; it consists of five handsome arches, the diameter of the centre one is 41 feet, and the others declining in small proportions; the extent of the bridge is 270 feet, and 33 feet wide, flagged on each side; the ends are returned with very handsome balustrades, leading to two smaller arches under the bridge, for foot passengers, or towing paths. At the west end across the river, are two ornamental toll houses, and has altogether a most imposing and grand effect when viewed from the town side; the Malvern hills rising majestically in the perspective.
Near the cathedral is King Edgar's tower, a very ancient erection and well worthy of notice. It is called King Edgar's tower because the statue of that king and those of his two queens, Elfleda and Elfrida, are placed on its eastern front. This tower is supposed to have been formerly attached to a castle, the ancient seat of the Wiccian viceroys, and is the only remaining part of it. The tower contains very lofty rooms, including a kitchen and a winding staircase; the windows are of large dimensions, and the walls are ribbed and very thick. These venerable remains have all appearance of stately grandeur, and certainly afford much subject for conjecture.
The guild or town hall, which stands nearly in the centre of the High Street, must gain admiration from every stranger; this elegant edifice is built of brick, and embellished with stone ornaments and many very handsome figures; on each side of the grand entrance, in niches, are the statues of King Charles I. and II. and over the centre of the doorway is also one of Queen Anne, all of which are finely executed; and the entire structure has a rich and splendid effect. Exactly facing the guild hall is the entrance to the market, which is built of stone, with a large arched opening in the centre, supported by handsome Tuscan columns; on each side are two smaller arched entrances, the whole surmounted by a fine ornamented and panelled square pediment. The interior is arranged with every convenience; the vegetable market is conveniently situated behind. The hop market is a large space, nearly surrounded by ranges of large and regular built warehouses, and the corn market is in a large area.
Amongst the religious and scientific institutions for which this city is honourably to be noted is, a branch of the society for propagating Christian knowledge, established in 1818; two medical societies, the first established in 1796, and the other in 1815; to the latter is attached a well selected library; the agricultural society was formed in 1816. Here is also a respectable society of artists, whose first exhibition took place in September, 1818, in the town hall, the pictures being all by native artists.
The trade and manufactures of Worcester consist principally of porcelain and fine china, which was established first here about the year 1751; and the late and his present Majesty, and various other royal personages have honoured the manufactories with their presence. The ware has been brought to the greatest state of perfection, both in point of quality and beauty of painting and designs, and now supersedes any foreign china. The glove trade of this town is very extensive, and for beauty and quality are in great repute at the foreign markets. This manufacture, it is estimated gives employment to about eight thousand persons in Worcester, besides numbers of the industrious poor in the adjacent parishes. Worcester is also considered the largest hop market in the kingdom, and the average of hops sold yearly here is 20,000 pockets. An iron foundry, on an extensive scale, is also established on the bank of the canal, which gives employment to numerous hands. The manufacture of fine lace has also been lately established, which is quite novel in this city, and is a branch of trade that must, in course of time, find employment for numbers of men, women and children. The lace now produced at the manufactories is considered equal to any that is made in Buckinghamshire. A distillery, a rectifying house, and a British wine manufactory are established upon an extensive scale here.
The Worcester and Birmingham canal, the direction of which is north-east for twenty-nine miles, in the counties of Worcester and Warwick, forms a communication between Birmingham and the Severn, and affords the greatest facilities in forwarding goods from Manchester and the north of England, through Worcester, to Bristol and all parts of the west. This canal was begun in the year 1791, and was finished in the year 1815, and proves of the greatest commercial importance to all parts connected with it. Several extensive warehouses have been erected in the vicinity of the town and close to the canal, for housing goods; and there is also a powerful steam engine for supplying the canal with water from the Severn.
In the year 1113 Worcester was wholly consumed by fire, and many times after that, period it was subject to dreadful conflagrations and destructive pestilences, of various descriptions; but in its present state few towns excel it as a place of genteel residence, convenience and salubrity of air. There is great picturesque beauty in many parts of the surrounding country. The streets of the city are handsome and regular, well paved and lighted with gas; indeed, for beauty, cleanliness, respectability, and as affording all the comforts of life, unsparingly, no visitor will be disappointed on his arrival at the city of Worcester, and but few will leave it without regret.
The market-days are on Wednesday and Saturday; and the fairs are on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, the Saturday in Easter week, August 15th, and September 19th, the latter being a great fair for hops. A partial fair is also held on the first Monday in December; and there are besides the following toll-free markets, the second Monday in February and the first Monday in the months of May, June, July and November.
The population of the city of Worcester and its immediate suburbs, as taken by Mr. Young, in 1779, amounted to 11,001; in 1801 the government returns were 11,191 in 1811, 13,611; and in 1821 the number of inhabitants had increased to upwards of 19,000, including the college precincts and certain portions of parishes situated without the city.
Worcester in 1860 Post Office Directory
Worcester is an ancient city and county of itself, the see of a bishop, and capital of the shire. It is locally situated in the, hundred of Oswaldslow, union, diocese, archdeaconry and deanery of Worcester, division and county of its own name, distant 28 miles north-east of Hereford via Bromyard, and 32 via Malvern, 29 north of Gloucester, 58 south-south-east of Shrewsbury, 22 from Cheltenham, 111 from Manchester, 67¼ from Derby, 27½ from Dudley, 7½ from Malvern, 5½ from Droitwich, 22 from Stourbridge, 8 from Pershore, 14 from Evesham, 56 north-west of Oxford, 15 south of Kidderminster, 66 north-north-east of Bristol, 26½ south-west of Birmingham, 125 south-west of Liverpool, and 111 north-north-west of London by road; and contained, by the census of 1851, 27,528 inhabitants. The general prosperity of the town within the last few years has caused a rapid increase in the population; it is estimated at present  to be about 32,000.
Worcester is delightfully situated on an easy undulating plain, in, on the eastern bank of the navigable river Severn; the hues of the hop-yards in summer, many of which line its banks, impart to the river a peculiar beauty. Worcester is sheltered on the east by a well-wooded hill; its general appearance shows neatness and good order. It is principally built of red brick, the main streets are broad, and there are many modern shops, which combine with the cathedral and public building in producing a good effect. The city is connected with the suburb of St. John Bedwardine by a very handsome stone bridge across the Severn, erected in 1781 at a cost of nearly £30,000; it consists of five elliptical arches; the diameter of the centre one is 41 feet; its length from bank to bank is 270 feet. In 1841 the bridge was widened on each side; it now presents a spacious avenue 33 feet wide, bounded on each side by light iron balustrades; the entrances on each side of the river have, been laid open, and the quays widened to give the bridge a good effect. An elegant iron railway bridge of two spans also has been completed for the Worcester and Malvern line.
The city is well supplied with water by means of works recently constructed, and its streets are lighted with gas and well paved. The navigation of the Severn has extended; sea-going vessels arrive from foreign ports laden with grain and miscellaneous cargoes. The navigable Avon falls into the Severn at Tewkesbury, 10 miles below Worcester, and there are canals to all parts of England. The alterations of the Severn, to improve the navigation, are extensively carried on in the immediate neighbourhood, weirs and locks being formed for that purpose, the whole under the management and superintence of E. L. Williams, Esq., C.E. The city is on the Midland, Birmingham and Bristol railway, and Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton railway. The latter has recently amalgamated with the Worcester and Hereford line. The amalgamated companies, which take the title, of the West Midland railway have also leased the Severn Valley line. The town will thus become the centre of a large system of railways, in conjunction with other lines, radiating through the Midland Counties and Wales. The company's works will be concentrated at Worcester, where they have already extensive factories. The company liberally support a school for the education of the children of those employed by them, the parents contribute only a nominal sum. They also support a literary institution for their workpeople.
Under the Municipal Reform Act  the borough is included in schedule A amongst boroughs, to have a commission of the peace, which has been granted, and a court of Quarter sessions and a recorder appointed; thus the city is now divided into five wards, and is governed by a mayor, six aldermen, and thirty-six councillors, with a sheriff, recorder, coroner, town clerk, sword bearer, serjeants at mace, and there is a body of city police. The city has regularly returned two members to Parliament since [23 Edward I. ch.1293], who were formerly elected by freemen [about 2,400 in number], not receiving alms there from; this Act conferred the right of voting upon £10 householders in conjunction with resident freemen.
Worcester is a polling place, and the principal place of election for the members representing the western division of the county, and the seat of the Assizes and Quarter sessions, of the County court, Borough court, Ecclesiastical and Will court, and Town and County Petty sessions. The city of Worcester is one of the most ancient in the kingdom; writers of eminence, have expressed their belief that it was built and fortified by the Britons; it was afterwards occupied by the Romans, and many relics of that people have at various times been dug up. The Saxons gave the name of Weogorna-ceastee to this city, which has in process of time been gradually corrupted to its present appellation.
At the time of the Conqueror Worcester was an important place, and had a mint, but at this unsettled period it suffered often and severely from the inroads of the Welsh. In the reign of King John it was taken and retaken many times, and that monarch was buried here according to his own request, and his monument still remains in the choir of the cathedral. The, first charter was granted by Henry I., who lodged the government in the hands of two bailiffs, James II. constituted it, in 1522, a city and county of itself; and it was governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, sheriff, 2 chamberlains, 24 councillors, and 48 common councilmen, and was governed under the charter except for a short period, when it was deprived of its privileges by Charles II., till superseded by the Municipal Reform Act of 1835.
During the civil war the inhabitants suffered severely; in 1642 an engagement took place of Pitchcroft between the royalists. headed by Prince Rupert, and the Parliamentary party commanded by Colonel Finnes, when the Royalists were compelled to retreat. The city after the removal of the army still showed itself favourable to the King's cause, in consequence was besieged in 1646, when, after an obstinate resistance of four months, the garrison capitulated on honourable terms. In 1651, Charles II., at the head of the Scotch army, entered Worcester anti repaired the fortifications, was shortly afterwards followed by Cromwell who laid siege to the town. The battle of Worcester was fought on the 3rd September, 1851, the anniversary of the battle of Dunbar, after a desperate fight of four or five hours. The Scotch army were nearly all killed or taken, and the King himself narrowly escaped. The city from its faithful adherence to the royal cause received the motto adopted on its arms "Civitas in bello, et in pace fidelis." Since the period of this great and last battle, Worcester has participated in the general prosperity and calamities of the nation, without being the scene of occurrences of extraordinary moment.
The great attraction at Worcester is its cathedral. The see was founded as early as Ethelred, King of Mercia, in 680. The cathedral is in the shape of a double cross, and its proportions are on a great scale; its length is 514 feet; breadth, 78 feet; height, 68 feet; and the noble tower rises from the intersection of the west transept with the nave, to the height of 200 feet. The principal part of the edifice is of the Early English and Decorated styles, although considerable portions of the old Norman building remains in the walls, etc. The windows are mostly of more recent insertion, being principally in the Perpendicular style. The choir is in the Early English style; it has groined roof, a handsome altar screen of carved stone, and all octagonal stone pulpit, the front and sides of which are a series of ornamental sculpture. The bishops throne and the prebendal stalls are richly ornamented with tabernacle work. The Lady-Chapel seems about the same date with the choir, and corresponds therewith in style. There are monumental chapels in the transepts, the most elegant of which is that of Prince Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII.
The cathedral is rich in relics, several of which are of persons of great eminence in their day. The monument of King John is in the middle choir; it consists of an altar-tomb, on which is a crowned figure of the King, life size: it was generally believed that his remains were interred in the Lady-Chapel, to which it was determined, in 1797, to remove the monument; but on opening it, a stone coffin was found, in which lay the remains in good preservation, but upon exposure to air they crumbled to dust. The cloisters, where the monks formerly dwelt, are now inhabited by the dignitaries of the cathedral. The exterior of the cathedral being of red sandstone has become much weather worn, but is now being thoroughly repaired and faced with new stone. The bishop's palace, now called the Deanery, stands near the cathedral, on a height overlooking the Severn; near the cathedral is King Edgar's tower, a very old building, and well worthy of being seen, being the finest remnant of olden times in the whole city. It was erected in the year 970. On the eastern front are statues of Edgar and his two queens, Elfleda and Elfreda, much decayed by time.
There are eleven parish churches in Worcester and three other churches. St. Helen's, on the west side of High Street, was the first of the churches established in the city, and is spoken of by the earliest of the local historians. The nave is divided by two rows of stone pillars from the aisles; in 1836 it was re-pewed, a new gallery with an organ added, and other improvements made. The living is a rectory, value £136, with residence, in the gift of the bishop; present incumbent, the Rev. J. H. Wilding, M.A.
St. Alban's is situate in Fish Street; it is a small old building, said to have been first founded in the eighth century by Edwin, bishop of the diocese; at the west end is a plain wooden tower, and the inside contains some old monuments. The living is a rectory, in the gift of the bishop, worth £74; the incumbent is the Rev. J. H. Wilding. M.A.
All Saints' is a neat and convenient building, in all ancient and simple style: it has a square tower at the west end, containing a peal of 10 bells; at the east end is a beautiful stained window, the inside is divided into aisles by two rows of columns, and a vaulted roof on each side is supported by seven substantial pillars. The living is a rectory, worth £138, with residence, in the gift of the Lord Chancellor, and held by the Rev. William Elliott.
St. Andrew's, on the north side, of Copenhagen Street, is thought to have been built in the eleventh century, but since that time has undergone great alterations; it is remarkable for its high and elegant spire, erected in 1751, which forms an ornament to the city; its dimensions are as follows: height 155 feet 6 inches, breadth of its base 20 feet, breadth under the cap 6 and 5/8 inches, the tower which supports the spire is 90 feet high; this added to the elevation of the spire, makes the whole height 245 feet 6 inches, The living is a rectory, value £165, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, and incumbency of Rev. George Hodson, M.A.
St. Nicholas is seated on the north-east side of the Cross; it is handsome and well-built, and has a Doric front; the tower is of varied composition being square at the base, with double breaks at the corners; it contains a peal of 6 bells and an illuminated clock; the inside of the church will hold 775 persons, and is handsomely fitted up. The seating is of oak; it has a gallery and well-toned organ. The living is a rectory, in the gift of the bishop, worth £260, the Rev. C. Bullock is the incumbent.
St. Martin's is at the north-west corner of the Corn Market: it was built in 1772 at an outlay of £2,215; it is a brick building on a foundation of white stone, having a brick tower 70 feet high, with 6 bells; the inside is neatly fitted up; there are three galleries and an organ, and the roof is supported by eight handsome pillars; the east window is of stained glass, representing the Crucifixion. The living is a rectory, worth £378, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter; the incumbent, the Rev. T. L. Wheeler, M.A.
St. Swithin's, at the east end of St. Swithin's Street, was built in 1736, upon the site of the old one. It is a handsome building, and has a tower of 6 bells and a set of chimes. The roof is Gothic, ribbed. The pulpit is of curiously-carved oak, the top being surmounted with a pelican feeding her young with her own blood. The living is a rectory, worth £170, with residence, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter; incumbent, Rev. Robert Serjeant, M.A.
St. Peter's [with Whittington], Church Street, Sidbury, was rebuilt in 1838. The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter, worth £233; incumbent, the Rev. William Wright.
St. Michael's is in Bedwardine parish. The old church, built in 826, has been pulled down, and a new one built in College Street, over against the Cathedral. It is a handsome stone building, in the Early Decorated style; it consists of naves and aisles, with a chancel laid with encaustic tiles. The living, is a rectory, worth £90, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter; incumbent, the Rev. George St. John. M.A.
St. John's church is in the township of St. John, Bedwardine, without the liberty of the city, and was made a parish church in 1371. Nearly all styles are represented in this church. A new vestry has been built and the old one added to the body of the church, which has been re-pewed and beautified. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the Dean and Chapter, worth £635; the Rev. John Ryle Wood, M.A. is the incumbent.
St. Clement's was built in 1823 on the western side of the river, where the principal part of the parish lies. It is in the Norman style, and will seat 700 persons. The outlay for this building was nearly £6,000. The living is a rectory, worth £150 yearly, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter, and is held be the Rev. C. Evans.
St. Paul's, in St. Paul's Street and the extra-parochial district of the Blockhouse, was built in 1837, partly by a grant from the Incorporated Society for Promoting the Building of Churches, and partly by voluntary contributions. It is a neat building, having a small square tower and will seat about 500 persons. The living is a perpetual curacy, annual value £150, in the gift of the Bishop, and is held by the Rev. David Wheeler, M. A.
St. George's Chapel, in St. George's Square, is a neat stone building, erected by subscription in 1830, at an outlay of £3,500. This is a parliamentary church, or chapel of ease, for the parish of Claines; the Rev. Benjamin Davis is the curate.
The Waterman's Chapel, by the waterside, was formerly a floating chapel. The building is of corrugated iron. The rector and curate of St. Clement's officiate.
St. Oswald's chapel, situate in the Tything, is a plain neat edifice, erected in 1830, for the inhabitants of this district who formerly used the chapel belonging to St. Oswald's Hospital; the chaplain is Rev. W. Hill.
Here are also places of worship for dissenters. The Baptist Chapel is in Silver Street, and was erected in 1796. The minister is the Rev. H. Sturmer. The Independent Chapel, situate in Angel Place, has been rebuilt and considerably enlarged and improved during the last year . This congregation was established here about the year 1662. There are two congregations of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion; one chapel is in Birdport, the other is a handsome new building in Lowesmoor, completed this year . The Wesleyan chapel is in Pump Street, and was erected in 1796; the building will seat 1,000 persons. The United Free Church have a chapel in Park Street. The Primitive Methodist chapel, opened in 1824, is in South Street, Blockhouse, and will seat 170 persons. The Roman Catholic chapel in Sansome Street is a new building, erected in 1828, on the site of the old chapel. James II., on his visit to Worcester in 1687, attended mass here. The Friends' meeting house in Sansome Walk was built in 1701.
The scholastic establishments are numerous : in the College precincts is the College school, founded by Henry VIII., for forty poor scholars; a Grammar School, founded by Queen Elizabeth, and several National schools; Bishop Lloyd's Charity School, and several others.
Glovemaking is carried on here to a great extent, and is in a flourishing state; the sewing affords employment for a great number of females in the city and suburbs, and there are leather dyeries and glove machine makers.
Worcester has been celebrated for its porcelain, since the introduction of the manufacture in 1751. The work, established by Dr. Wall, at a time when those, of Bow, Chelsea and Derby were in their prime, are now the only survivors of that generation. Staffordshire has grown into the mart of the world for ordinary pottery and porcelain, but Worcester still retains its place for the finer description of goods; and upholding its character, ensures a demand in the most remote markets of the world. The business is at present confined to two firms, Messrs. Kerr and Binns [successors to Flight and Barr and Chamberlain], and Messrs. Grainger and Co. The former firm is distinguished for many new inventions in connection with the fine art department of their manufacture; the latter for a very superior article called semi or chemical porcelain, calculated to stand acids, and sudden changes of heat and cold. The porcelain works are much visited by strangers, the various processes of manufacture being both interesting and instructive.
Here are also several banks, a savings' bank, School of Design, one of the largest vinegar works in the kingdom, a British wine-making establishment, a distillery, horsehair manufactures, gas works, water works, a large iron foundry, engineering establishments, tanneries, breweries, coach factories, employing at one establishment in the Tything upwards of seventy workmen in connection with steam machinery, used in the manufacture of carving wheels, organ works, nail making, brick making, saw mills, rope and twine spinning, and boat anti barge building establishments, etc. There is some lace making.
There is a Chamber of Commerce. There is considerable trade on the Severn and Avon in corn, hops, cyder and perry. Worcester is celebrated for its musical festivals, which are held here in conjunction with Hereford and Gloucester. Here are agricultural, floral and horticultural societies and shows.
There is a theatre in Angel street, built in 1780. An arboretum, covering a large space of ground near the centre of the city, was constructed by a private company in 1850. It is open free to the public every Thursday throughout the year through the bounty of Lady Lechmere. Races are held yearly on Pitchcroft, a large tract of meadow land on the banks of the Severn.
The public buildings are the Guildhall, situated on the west side of the High Street; this is an elegant brick building in the Italian style, erected in 1723 at a cost of £3,730, raised by subscription. On each side of the entrance are crowned statues of King Charles I. and II., and over the doorway, between the two middle windows, is a statue of Queen Anne. The top of the building is ornamented with five statues, representing Justice, Peace, Plenty, Chastisement, and Hercules. The inside contains a large hall, magistrates', grand jury, and other rooms, etc.
The Shire Hall, in Foregate Street, is a handsome stone building in the Ionic style, created in 1835 at a cost of £35,000. The front consists of a handsome, portico, about 100 feet in extent, supported by six fluted columns, thence a large vestibule leads to the County Hall, which is 90 feet by 40; balls and public meetings are occasionally held here. The Crown, Nisi Prius, Grand Jury room, etc. are well arranged for their different purposes. At the back of the hall, in Sansome Walk, is a large handsome house for the accommodation of the judges during the assizes.
The County Gaol is in Salt Lane, and was built in 1809, at an outlay of £19,000. It contained 90 cells; in 1839, 80 cells were added, and in 1840 further improvements took place. It has had since its construction about £50,000 spent on it in repairs and enlargements, The City Prison is in Friar Street; it was built in 1824, at a cost of £122,578, on the seat of the Grey Friars House.
The Infirmary is in Salt lane, overlooking the river Severn, and was built by subscription in 1770, at a cost of £6,085, but has been at different times greatly enlarged and improved; it is kept up by voluntary contributions. There is a Dispensary, established in 1822, and an Ophthalmic institution.
The Worcestershire Museum of the Natural History Society is on the west side of Foregate Street; from the basement rise two stories, ornamented by Corinthian pillars supporting an entablature copied from the Temple of Jupiter Stator at Rome. The first stone of this building was laid on the 25th of May, 1825.
The Hop Market is in the Foregate; there are large warehouses for hops, with offices on the basement. Hops form an important feature in the trade of Worcester, 20,000 pockets being sold yearly. The old City Library, in Pierpoint Street, was erected in 1830, at a cost of £1,050. It is a neat building; the upper floors are used for a library, and the room below as a public news-room. The Friends' Library is in Sansome Street. There is also a City and County Library, established in 1836; likewise a law Society and Reading Rooms. The Mechanics' Institution is in Silver Street; it is a model institution of its kind, and is in a flourishing condition, being well supported and attended. It has a good library and news-room, and also a spacious music and assembly room in connexion, and possesses many of the advantages of a club.
The Corn Exchange is in Angel Street; it is a large square building, measuring interiorly 70 feet by 60½ feet; it was erected in 1848-9, at a cost of £5,000; Mr. Rowe, of Worcester, was the architect. The Music Hall, erected in in the Corn Market, is a fine building: it has a front supported by pillars; the interior is 97 feet by 40 feet, and is 40 feet high, and lighted from a dome. The building cost £7,000, raised by £10 shares, and was originally intended for a corn market, but the farmers preferring the Exchange in Angel Street, the structure was sold, and purchased for its present purpose.
Opposite the Guildhall is the Market House, a large building, erected in 1804; the roof is elevated and open at the sides; it is illuminated by a handsome clock, presented by R. Padmore, Esq., M.P., who has served the office of mayor twice. At the end of this building is the Butchers' and Fish Market, lately erected; it s a large building, with the roof open at the sides, and well arranged. The market days are on Wednesday and Saturday, and it is abundantly supplied with meat, fowls, fish, butter, eggs, greens, etc.
The cattle market is held on Saturday, in the Butts. It was opened in in 1838, and covers a space of upwards of four acres. It is a well-arranged and very commodious market. Fairs are held the third Monday in January, February, March, and April, the second Monday in May, first Tuesday in June, second Monday in July, first Tuesday in August, September 19th, October 8th, first Monday in November, and the second Friday in December.
The Worcester charities are very munificent, and produce an income of upwards of £4,000. St. Oswald's Hospital, situate in the Tything, supports 16 men and 12 women, who receive 8s. a week with coals and clothing. Nash's Hospital is in New Street, for 8 men and 7 women, who receive 5s. weekly. Berkeley Hospital, in the Foregate, supports 14 men and 1 woman, who receive 5s. per week each. Wyatt's Hospital, in Friar Street, is for 6 poor men. Inglethorpe's Hospital, in Foregate Street, is for 11 persons. The inmates receive 3s. 6d. each weekly. Goulding's Hospital, situate near St. Oswald's Hospital, is for 3 men and 3 women, who receive 6s. weekly and an allowance of coal annually. Shewring's Hospital, in the Tything, is for six women, who receive 8s. weekly; it was founded by Mr. Shewring, who was mayor of Worcester in 1682 and 1687. Jarvis's Houses are for 3 poor freemen and 1 freeman's widow, who have 5s. weekly; there are also 4 out-pensioners to this charity, who receive the like amount. Queen Elizabeth's charity, in the Trinity, was endowed by Queen Elizabeth for 29 women, who at present receive 3s. 6d. per week and half a ton of coals annually. Walsgrave's almshouses, in Powick Street, are for 8 pensioners, who receive 10s. each annually. Moore's Hospital, on the east side of Silver Street, is for the maintenance of 10 boys, who are educated in Queen Elizabeth's school. White's gift is shared by turns, to 24 cities and towns; it is £100 yearly, left by a citizen of Bristol to be given to the towns mentioned in regular succession for the purpose of lending £25 each to four young freemen for 10 years.
Here are an auxiliary Bible Society, Christian Knowledge Society, a Dorcas Society for providing clothing for the poor, a Friendly Institution., a Lying-in Charity, Mendacity Society, District Visiting Society, and many other benevolent institutions and charitable bequests.
Worcester forms a union under the Poor Law Act. It comprises 12 parishes, and embraces an area of 15 square miles. The Union Workhouse is on Tallow Hill, and commands a view of the Malvern Hills, and the surrounding country. It was built in 1794, and will accommodate 350 paupers.
Worcester had formerly walls, of which there are some remains. There are few remains of the castle.
You can click on these map extracts to view a larger version of the image.
Photographs of Worcester
Have Your Say
If you would like to share any further information on Worcester - perhaps you drank in one of the pubs in the past? Or maybe knew a previous publican running one of the boozers? Whatever the reason it would be great to hear of your stories or gossip. Simply send a message and I will post it here.
Below is a small selection of photographs I have taken whilst visiting Worcester over the years.
Related Newspaper Articles
"The excitement caused by the murder of Elizabeth Hull, on Sunday last, is rapidly subsiding. The evidence, twice given - once before
Magistrates and once before the Coroner's Jury - seems to have satisfied the mind of the public as to the guilt of the prisoner. The brutal fellow maintains a
strict silence, and has not referred to the crime with which he is charged, except when cautioned and called upon either to plead or not, by the Magistrates before
whom the case was heard. He then admitted, with a revolting nonchalance, that although he did not hit her with the shovel, he struck her several times as hard
as he could with his fists. His sang-froid was, however, somewhat cooled when the decision of the Magistrates was made known to him. We are informed that
the manner in which Ford and the deceased passed their life of cohabitation singularly unhappy. Brought up as a nail maker, he appears to have abandoned his trade some
time since, and given himself up to bad habits, bad companions; and besides the ill-treatment of the deceased, his behaviour made him a well-known and frequent
visitor to the police dock. The woman seems to have been thoroughly in fear of him. Naturally a hard-working, industrious, thrifty woman, she has for years been
employed by many of the most respectable families in the city. But, even whilst she was so engaged, Ford would frequently go to places where she was working, fetch her
home, and ill-use her. On the Thursday before her death, he, while in a drunken state, took her from her work, and so ill-used her that by stealth she got her
bonnet and shawl and ran out of the house. Her friends were, and have been for years, importunate in their entreaties for her to leave him, but, to use the words of one
them, "She seemed to worship the very ground he trod on," and nothing could induce her to follow the advice of her friends and leave him for more human and natural
society. Indeed, it is said, that she was actuated to this by a feeling other than that love for her brutal paramour, and that she was only constrained to live with him
still from a fear that if she did otherwise she should meet the shocking end which has now overtaken her, this fear being not a groundless sentiment, it was based upon
the dreadful threats which Ford hurled against her from time time. So notorious was his aversion to anything like work that it is said he refused it when offered to him,
and it is spoken of as a marvel that he was seen not long since helping to dig out a foundation."
"The Worcester Murder"
Worcester Journal : February 18th 1864 Page 1
"Yesterday [Tuesday] morning, about six o'clock, great excitement was caused in the neighbourhood of Newport Street, the Upper
Quay, and Dolday, by the discovery, made by some men who were proceeding to their daily labour, of the dead body of a man, lying with the face downwards, in the water,
at the foot of the steps, opposite the end of Dolday, leading to the water's edge. The depth of water at the spot was not more than from three to four inches, so
that no part of the body was completely submerged. Upon being taken out it was found that the deceased's head was severely cut, both the back part and also on the
temple; which injuries must have been received before the unfortunate man fell into the water - if, indeed, he fell in. The body was identified, as will be
found detailed in the evidence below, by a friend of the deceased, named Thomas Lane [who had been with him on the preceding evening], to be that of James Cheese,
58 years of age, small farmer and dealer, lately living at Kempsey, and who had come to Worcester on Monday to attend the fair. No money was found on the deceased, though
at the fair he had offered Lane, who is also a farmer and dealer, living at Howsell, in the parish of Leigh, money for a pony which he [Lane] had for sale, but
the offer was refused in consequence of its not being equal to the value of the animal; and it was believed that Cheese did not afterwards spend the money. He had
upwards of £9. in his pocket when he left home. It is, therefore, thought that the poor man must have been robbed, and, judging from present appearances, murdered.
The last that was heard of him was at the Leopard Inn, in Broad Street, in company with a man named Thrupp, of Grimley; after leaving which place he was no more seen
alive. Traces of blood were clearly distinguishable from the Cattle Market wall, across the lower end of the Butts, and in the direction of the steps at the bottom of
which the deceased was found, they seemed to have been caused by a bleeding substance being carried along, the blood from which dropped to the ground' in one place
there was a large pool of blood, as though the body had been suffered to rest for a time, after which there was no further trace. The body was removed to the Britannia
Inn, Dolday, where, during the day, an inquest was commenced before J. Tymbs, Esq., D.C., and adjourned till today [Wednesday, at two o'clock], to admit of
a post-mortem examination being made, to determine whether the deceased met his death from the wounds on his head or by drowning. The jury was composed as
follows : Mr. Henry Sefton, foreman. Mr. Henry Davis, Mr. William Palmer, Samuel Fudger, George Lewis, James Wilkins, John Stokes, Alfred Hallam, Charles Stokes,
Richard Matthews, John S. Smith, Robert Featherstone, Samuel Raven. The proceedings having been opened in the usual manner the following evidence was adduced :
Thomas Farr, landlord of the Britannia Inn, deposed : "I knew the deceased, James Cheese, very well. He was in the habit, whenever he came to Worcester, of
staying at my house. He came there on Monday evening, in company with Lane, between seven and eight o'clock. He was a little elevated, but knew well enough what
he was doing. The deceased and Lane were bargaining for a pony which the latter had to sell, and which was in my stable. They stayed drinking till ten o'clock;
they had partaken of ale and brandy. The deceased then proposed to have some beef-steaks cooked, as he was hungry, having had nothing to eat all day. I told him
I would cook them, if he would get them himself, at the same time telling him it was an hour later than it really was in order to deter him from going out. The
deceased, however, did go out, by himself, saying he would fetch the steaks. Lane stayed in the house and had some bread and cheese. Did not see deceased again alive.
Just as he left the house I heard him talking to a female named Broad, who lives next door; she keeps a house of ill-fame. Lane remained at my house till about
ten minutes to twelve o'clock, waiting for Cheese to come back, but he did not do so. I then told Lane that he must either go to bed or leave the house, as I was
going to close for the night, and he then left the house. I saw nothing more of the deceased till he was brought dead to my house this morning." Thomas Lane, of
Mathon, farmer and dealer : "I was in company with the deceased last night. I met with him in the cattle market. Some years ago he lived near me, and I therefore
knew him well. It may be six or eight years ago; and I had not seen him for the last two years. We had some conversation about the purchase of a pony I had for sale,
but we did not make a bargain. Afterwards we put the pony up at the Britannia Inn, and then adjourned to the Ewe and Lamb, in the Butts. This was about five o'clock.
We had some ale and oysters there, and then went to the Britannia, and remained there till about ten o'clock, drinking ale and brandy. [The witness then
corroborated the previous evidence.] I left the Britannia about twelve o'clock, and went into Mrs. Broad's, where I remained for two or three hours till
nearly four in the morning. Did not see the deceased there, nor was anything said about him. I walked about the streets for the next two hours, not liking to knock
Farr up at that early hour. This morning, about six o'clock, I was coming across the north quay, when I saw three or four persons standing at the top of the steps.
One of them said to me, "There is a man in the water drowned!" I said, "You don't say so!" and then went down the steps to the edge of the
water. The deceased was lying face downwards; the water not being deep enough to cover him. The back of his head was not under water, I did not observe any wounds
till the body was taken out of the water, nor did I recognize the deceased at first, in consequence of the mud from the bed of the river hiding his features. When he
was got out I noticed that his waistcoat was put on upside down, that is, the collar was downwards instead of being round his neck; his legs were bare, his stockings
being down about his heels; the knee buttons of his breeches were also unfastened, and his shoes were unlaced. His hat was gone. There was large wound at the back of
his head. I did not see the wound on the temple for the reason before named. I did not see the deceased take any money out of his pocket, except what he wanted to pay for
the liquor. We had three or four pints of ale, and also two joeys of brandy each. I am of the opinion that he was quite sober enough to take care of himself." Since
the adjournment of the inquest, circumstances have come to the knowledge of the police, which, coupled with previous information, causes a very strong suspicion to fall
upon the witness Lane, and also upon the above-named Thrupp, who denied, when accused, of being with the deceased at the Leopard, on Monday night; but several
witnesses will, we are told, at the examination today, clearly prove that he was there with him, and that they left the house together. Lane and Thrupp were then taken
into custody, and conveyed to the Station house. A man named Byrne said that about twelve o'clock on Monday night he observed two men and a woman standing on the
quay; he clearly identified Lane as being one of the men, and on seeing the body of Cheese at once identified it as being that of the other man whom he saw on the
quay. Byrne is a tramp, who was coming to Worcester in search of employment, but did not reach the city till late at night."
"Mysterious Occurrence at Worcester - Suspected Murder"
Worcestershire Chronicle : October 12th 1853 Page 8