Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral Snip

The Cathedral of St Peter was built around 680.

A separate monastery of St Mary, probably a double house, was created in 743. In 969, Bishop Oswald began the construction of a new cathedral with the monks from both former houses. By 977 it had been reformed to the Benedictine order. The present cathedral church dates from 1084. The cathedral priory was dissolved in 1540 at the dissolution. The story of the growth of Worcester Cathedral from these Saxon roots is dominated by two men, Bishops Oswald and Wulstan. Oswald, later St. Oswald, was made bishop in 961. It was he who established the monastery church, or minster. In 1062 Wulstan became bishop, a position he was to hold under the most difficult of circumstances through the Norman invasion. Wulstan made the decision to pull down Oswald’s church and build a fine new cathedral. Only small portions of the transepts remain above ground from Wulstan’s building, but below ground it is a different story; the crypt constructed by Wulstan to contain the shrine of Oswald is a remarkable bit of architecture.

Around 1120 a round chapter house was added. When King John lay dying of his famous “surfeit of peaches” in 1216, he asked to be buried in Worcester Cathedral. His tomb is fanciful creation of dark Purbeck marble topped with an effigy.


The Guildhall


The centre section of the new Guildhall was finished by 1724.

It has remained almost unchanged since then. The central facade is a wonderful example of early Georgian style, with three bays flanked by Corinthian pillars. Over the entrance is a huge carving incorporating the Hanoverian royal arms. White’s earlier statue of Queen Anne was placed in a niche over the door, and on either side were statues of Charles I, depicted holding a church, and Charles II, with an orb and royal septre. On the rooftop are figures of Labour, Peace, Justice, Plenty, and Chastisement.


The Commandery

The Commandery

One of the best-preserved historic buildings in Worcester.

The Commandery is an intriguing half-timbered Tudor house on the site of a Saxon chapel founded by St Gudwal. Then a hospital founded by St Wulfstan in 1085.

The hospital was one of the last monastic foundations to be dissolved by Henry VIII in the Reformation. The Commandery best known for its role in the Civil War as the headquarters of Charles II before the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Apart from a few stones from the earliest extant structure is of the C15. In the Great Hall and adjacent rooms, many alterations and additions have been made since the House was dissolved in 1540. In the middle C19 Richard Mence took over, and during his occupancy much damage was done to the fabric, amongst other modifications, he drove a carriageway through the Great Hall, closing off the other half with a full-height heavy brick wall. The Hall was carefully reconstructed in 1954, but the floor still reflects the earlier subdivision. From 1866 to 1887 a school for blind people occupied the premises, until bought by Worcester City Council in 1873, the Littlebury family used them as a printing works, undertaking many improvements, including reinstatement of the Hall.

In 1977 the property was opened to the public as a Museum of the Civil War, substantial conservation and renewal work was done in preparation for this.


Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum

Worc Museum & Art Gallery

Worcester City Museum and library with gates.

1896.Red brick in Flemish bond with molded terracotta tiles and plain tile roof. Pevsner Architectural Guide describes this as ‘a resourceful and animated, totally asymmetrical composition in a mixed Tudor and Baroque style’. JW Simpson and Milner Allen had earlier in the decade, won the competition for the Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum. This is an outstanding example of late C19 municipal architecture of this type, in its eclectic use of style redolent of the municipal libraries of H.T. Hare.


Tudor House

Tudor House Museum

C16, probably 1575-1625.

The house was built on the foundations of an earlier 13th century building.Formerly houses, then The Cross Keys Tavern from 1765, coffee house 1900-1920, now museum. Timber frame with rendered infill. Rear wings mostly clad and remodeled in brick in early/mid C18 and carriage-drive inserted to right of center to access rear. The south wing has exposed timber framing to rear, with central jowled post being all that remains of a C16 workshop range which extended further to rear.

Historical Note: the rear wings were originally longer and housed loom shops


Berkeley Court Hospital

Berkeley Court Hospital

This hospital was endowed by Robert Berkeley of Spetchley in 1692 to provide accommodation for 12 poor men. The central building was a hospital and the buildings on either side are the Almshouses. The courtyard is flanked by 6 identical houses on either side of it and is a delightful Renaissance style group of buildings.

More details of this building are available in printed form to the left of the gate (for a small worthwhile donation).


Queen Elizabeth House

Queen Elizabeth House

Timber frame and plaster house of c1570

It is named after a reputed visit by Queen Elizabeth I here in 1575, when she watched the sports from the gallery.

Historical Note: The building has been moved from its original site across the road.


The Elgar Birthplace

Elgar Birthplace Museum

Known as”the firs” near Broadheath outside Worcester the coach house and stables were built by Sir Edward Elgar’s father and uncle, W H Elgar and Henry Elgar. Birthplace and home of Sir Edward Elgar (1857- 1934) from 1857 to 1859.

A Commission by The National Trust

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