Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral

Infobox UK cathedral
building_name =Worcester Cathedral
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full_name = Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary
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county =Worcestershire
country =England
ecclesiastical =yes
denomination =Church of England
province =Canterbury
diocese =Worcester
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website = [http://www.cofe-worcester.org.uk/cathedral www.cofe-worcester.org.uk]
building =yes
architect =
architecture_style =Gothic
became_cathedral =670
number_of_cathedrals =
year_built =1220-1386
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Worcester Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Worcester, England; situated on a bank overlooking the River Severn. Its official name is The Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary.


The Cathedral was founded in 680 with Bishop Bosel as its head. The first cathedral was built in this period but nothing now remains of it. The existing crypt of the cathedral dates from the 10th century and the time of St Oswald, bishop of Worcester. The current cathedral dates from the 12th and 13th centuries.

Monks and nuns had been present at the Cathedral since the 7th century (see Bede). The monastery became Benedictine in the second half of the 10th century (one author gives the time range 974-7, another considers 969 more likely). The Benedictine monks were driven out at 18 January 1540 and replaced by secular canons. There is an important connection to Fleury as Oswald, bishop of Worcester 961-92, being prior at the same time, was professed at Fleury and introduced the monastric rule of Fleury to Worcester.cite book | author=David Knowles | coauthors=R. Neville Hadcock | year=1971 | title=Medieval Religious Houses: England & Wales | publisher=Longman | pages=81] cite book | last=Braunfels | first=Wolfgang | year=1972 | title=Monasteries of Western Europe | publisher=Thames and Hudson | pages=154]

The former monastic library of Worcester contained a considerable number of manuscripts which are, among other libraries, now scattered over Cambridge, London (British Library), Oxford Bodleian, and the Cathedral library at Worcester of today.cite book | author=N. R. Ker (Ed.) | year=1964 | title=Medieval Libraries of Great Britain | publisher=Royal Historical Society | pages=205-215refend]

Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the building was re-established as a cathedral of secular clergy. The cathedral was subject to major restoration work by Sir George Gilbert Scott and A E Perkins in the 1860s. Both men are buried at the cathedral.

The Cathedral has the distinction of containing the tomb of King John in its chancel. Before his death in Newark in 1216, John had requested to be buried at Worcester. He is buried between the shrines of St Wulstan and St Oswald (now destroyed).

The cathedral has a memorial, Prince Arthur's Chantry, to the young prince Arthur Tudor, who is buried here. Arthur's younger brother and next in line for the throne was Henry VIII. Worcester Cathedral was doubtless spared destruction by Henry VIII during the English Reformation because of his brother's Chantry in the cathedral.

Other famous burials include Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947), Bishop of Worcester John Gauden (1605-1662) and Richard Edes (d.1604), a Chaplain to Elizabeth I and James I.


Worcester Cathedral has three choirs: the Worcester Cathedral Choir (the main choir which has both a boys' and a girls' treble line, which normally work independently), Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir, and the Worcester Cathedral Voluntary Choir. All three choirs were involved in the BBC broadcast of the midnight and Christmas morning services in 2007, with the boys and the girls of the Cathedral Choir, respectively, taking the lead in the two services.

Worcester Cathedral has a long history of organs dating back to at least 1417. There have been many re-builds and new organs in the intervening period, including work by Thomas Dallam, William Hill and most famously Robert Hope-Jones in 1896. The Hope Jones organ was heavily re-built in 1925 by Harrison & Harrison, and then regular minor works kept it in working order until Wood Wordsworth and Co were called in 1978. It was a large 4 manual organ with 61 speaking stops. It has a large gothic case with heavily decorated front pipes as well as two smaller cases either side of the quire. [cite web|title=Worcester Cathedral|url=http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N03607|publisher=National Pipe Organ Register (NPOR)|accessdate=2007-12-27]

This organ (apart from the large Transept case and pedal pipes) was removed in 2006 in order to make way for a new instrument by Kenneth Tickell which was completed in the Summer of 2008. The specification and drawings can be found on [http://www.tickell-organs.co.uk/specInfo/Worcesterspec.htm Kenneth Tickell's website] . The Nave has a three manual Rodgers organ [http://www.rodgersinstruments.co.uk/R_trilliumT967.htm totally electronic instrument] .

Notable organists include Thomas Tomkins (from 1596), Hugh Blair (from 1895), Ivor Atkins (from 1897) and David Willcocks (from 1950). The present organist (from 1996) is Adrian Lucas.

An image of the cathedral's west face was featured on the reverse of the Bank of England £20 note Series E, issued between 1999 and 2007. A little known oddity is that located in the cathedral's west window is the image of a pink Giraffe. Legend has it that when the images were being crafted the shape of the animal was known but not the colour. It can be seen in the bottom right of the two centre panels of the stained glass.

The Windows image accompanied a portrait of the composer Edward Elgar who spent the majority of his life in Worcestershire. The first performance of his Enigma Variations took place at the cathedral during the 1899 Three Choirs Festival.


* 1240 Thomas the Organist*
* 1415 T. Hulet*
* 1468 Richard Grene
* 1484 John Hampton
* 1522 Daniel Boyse
* 1541 Richard Fisher
* 1569 John Golden
* 1581 Nathaniel Giles
* 1585 Robert Cotterell
* 1590 Nathaniel Patrick
* 1595 John Fido
* 1596 Thomas Tomkins
* "1649" "Vacant"
* 1661 Giles Tomkins
* 1662 Richard Browne
* 1664 Richard Davis
* 1686 Vaughan Richardson
* 1688 Richard Cherington
* 1724 John Hoddinott
* 1731 William Hayes
* 1734 John Merifield
* 1747 Elias Isaac
* 1793 Thomas Pitt
* 1806 Jeremiah Clarke
* 1807 William Kenge
* 1813 Charles Clarke
* 1844 William Done
* 1895 Hugh Blair
* 1897 Ivor Atkins
* 1950 David Willcocks
* 1957 Douglas Guest
* 1963 Christopher Robinson
* 1974 Donald Hunt
* 1996 Adrian Lucas


ee also

*Bishop of Worcester
*Worcester Cathedral Voluntary Choir
*Architecture of the medieval cathedrals of England
*English Gothic architecture
*Romanesque architecture
*Church of England


External links

* [http://www.worcestercathedral.co.uk/ Worcester Cathedral]
* [http://www.skyscrapernews.com/buildings.php?id=646 Worcester Cathedral at Skyscrapernews.com]
* [http://www.ofchoristers.net/Chapters/Worcester.htm A history of the choristers of Worcester Cathedral]
* [http://www.paradoxplace.com/Photo%20Pages/UK/Britain_Centre/Worcester_Cathedral/Worcester_Cathedral.htm Adrian Fletcher’s Paradoxplace – Worcester Cathedral Pages – Photos]
* [http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=Worcester+Cathedral&m=text Flickr images tagged Worcester Cathedral]
* [http://www.worcester-cathedral-vollers.co.nr/ The Worcester Cathedral Voluntary Choir]
* [http://www.eyesonme.fsnet.co.uk/ The Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir]

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