"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 11 December 2015

Worcester Cathedral

I had about an hour to look round Worcester Cathedral while D and B returned to the Victorian Market.

The Cathedral has been a place of worship for 14 centuries (bet its on a ley line!! - still reading my ley line book and Alfred Watkins' Old Straight Track!).

It is dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first Cathedral was founded in 680 and Saint Oswald built another Cathedral in 983 and established a monastery. Saint Wulfstan began the present building in 1084 replacing the two earlier buildings.

During Anglo Saxon times it was one of the most important monastic cathedrals in the country. It was a centre of great learning and this continued until the Middle Ages when the Benedectine monks attended University to study theology, medicine, law, history, maths, physics and astronomy. Some of their text books survive in the Cathedral library today.

The Monastery existed until 1540 when it was dissolved by Henry VIII. Some of the last monks became the first Dean and Chapter. The building was badly damaged during the Civil Wars and a major rebuilding programme began following the restoration of Charles I. A Victorian restoration took place between 1874 and 1875. Sir Edward Elgar performed many times at the Three Choirs Festival Concerts.

Apologies for the poor photos - it was very dull and gloomy outside so light levels in the Cathedral were very low. I've used the camera flash in many photos but I do struggle with flash photography - one day I'll find out how to improve it!

This is a monument to Richard Eades DD Dean 1587-1604. He was appointed Chaplain to Elizabeth I in 1589. In 1597 he was appointed Dean of Worcester and Rector of Upton on Severn and became a chaplain to James I in 1603. He was asked to be part of the team which undertook the translation of the Bible known as the Authorised or King James version but he died before work really started. As a young man he wrote poems and plays. He is buried in the Lady Chapel and this monument does not mark the actual place of his burial.

I do wish I could have taken better photos of the Font - it was beautiful if a trifle ornate.

The stained glass is mostly modern or Victorian - just a few photos due to low light.

The Byrne Window

The Bennett Window

The marble pulpit in the Nave was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott.

There were so many beautiful wooden carvings

Unfortunately, only a few of the misericords were visible. Most date from around 1379.

"Man Holding Flowers" may represent May in the Circle of the Labours of the Months. Supporters are owls with cloven hooves. The one on the left is a modern copy of the original right hand version.

"Man Digging and Woman Spinning" represents Adam and Eve after expulsion from Paradise. The supporters are grotesque monsters.

"Lion and Dragon Fighting" represents the battle between Good and Evil. Supporter on the left is a lion and the dragon on the right is biting its tail.

"Two Knights Jousting" - the Knight on the right is unseating the knight on the left. The supporter to the left is playing drums and the one on the right is blowing a trumpet.

King John (of Magna Carta fame) is buried in the Cathedral. He was born on Christmas Eve, 1166 and became King in 1199.

He is most famous for agreeing to the Magna Carta - a charter of demands from his barons. He died in October 1216 by which time he had lost most of his lands in France and was in the middle of a civil war with his rebellious barons. King John often visited Worcester to hunt and he stayed at the cathedral priory or castle. He had a special interest in Saint Wulfstan (1 of the 2 famous Anglo Saxon saints buried at Worcester). He died from Dysentery and had dictated a will requesting he be buried at Worcester.

Also at Worcester is the Chantry Chapel and Tomb of Arthur, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York and eldest brother of Henry VIII. Arthur died at Ludlow castle in 1502 aged 16 (some of you may recall a photo from my last post on The Parish Church of St Laurence, Ludlow, showing a plaque marking the place where is heart is buried). His body lay in state initially at Ludlow and was then carried in a procession to Worcester. The chantry chapel was made by masons from Westminster Abbey.

Medieval Wall Paintings

Sadly, I didn't have time to look round the crypt as I wanted to leave enough time to visit the Christmas market in the cloisters.

It is a very beautiful and interesting Cathedral and I hope I can make another visit one day. The Cathedral does have a medieval library but I believe you have to book a visit in advance.

The Christmas Fayre in the Cloisters was very good - I came home with a few Christmas presents and a Holly Wreath for the front door.


Worcester Cathedral Official Guidebook
The Misericords of Worcester Cathedral (A Pocket Tour)
The Stained Glass in Worcester Cathedral (A Pocket Guide)


Toffeeapple said...

That was a good posting. I haaven't been to the cathedral for such a long time that I recognized little or nothing! Something to do with my age I fear. I had also forgotten about the King John connection so thank you for taking the time to write about it all.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much - am so pleased you enjoyed. I haven't been to Worcester for years and never to the Cathedral before. Last time I went I was in my early twenties to watch Worcs play Warks at cricket!!

Understand the memory thing - am just writing some Christmas cards and having problems remembering the surname of someone who used to live over the road :(

Countryside Tales said...

I don't know Worcester Cathedral so that was really interesting. What a beautiful building with so much history! x

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks CT - so glad you enjoyed :)

Caroline Gill said...

What a post! I have only been to Worcester once, and that was to choose a Royal Worcester design 30 years ago as kind friends and family were hoping to buy a dish or a set of ramekins etc. as wedding gifts for us.

Those wooden pew-end angels are lovely, and I am always drawn to misericords, my favourites probably being in Ripon.

Thank you for your kind comment on my post. I keep hoping the dense cloud will lift, allowing us to see a bit more wildlife! Visibility has not been good here, and the rain seemed to mean that the local owls stayed in their holes during the daylight hours. Not long now until the shortest day. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I think I've only ever been to Worcester once before - should rectify that and visit it more often as its not that far away although car parking rather expensive!!

I've never been to Ripon - but will remember your comment about the misericords there. The more I learn about cathedrals and churches the more I want to visit. There are some lovely ones in Gloucestershire - sadly no-one else in the family is very keen :(

Weather dismal here too - even when not raining its very cloudy and gloomy :( There have been Short-eared Owl sightings not too far from here - really must try and get out and look for them if time permits!

Deb said...

Great post of a beautiful cathedral. Love the wood carvings and misericords and very interesting about the King John connection. Thanks for sharing. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - Thanks so much for your lovely comment and so pleased you enjoyed it. There was an exhibition about King John and Magna Carta too which was very interesting :)

David said...

I have never had the pleasure of visiting Worcester Cathedral but my parent's have been before and spoke very highly of it. Indeed your photos, which I think are excellent and really capture the mood of the building, certainly show that is a beautiful cathedral church which is full of historical interest throughout. I think the reasons for my parents trip was the tomb of King John so it was good to see that, whilst as you say the font is certainly ornate! The colours of the Bennett Window are also rather lovely :-)

Hope you are well :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner - Thanks so much David for your lovely comment :) Its well worth a visit (as I am sure your parents will have said :) ) if you are ever in the area. Its yet another cathedral/church that I would like to revisit. In fact, Worcester itself has a number of buildings/museums to make another trip on the cards :)

I am fine thanks - hope you are all well too :) Busy decorating the house at the moment. Making orange pomanders and dried orange slices to hang on the tree :)

Millymollymandy said...

I really enjoyed this virtual visit with you and thanks for the history lesson too - it's nice to know more about a place. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much Mandy for your very kind comment. I want to return now I've read the guidebooks and know what I missed :)

amanda peters said...

Hi, hope you are well, was hoping to go out with the camera to day and get one last post done for this year, but it is raining !
Had not expected my new job to take so much of my free time up. still haven't found the right balance, to be fair the weather has been pants ! over the last few months so not really missed to much. Quite temped the other night to put moth trap out as it was so mild, but had to be at work for 7 in the morning. So looking forward to next years mothing...
I hope you have a lovely time over the next few days and happy new year, look forward to seeing if Santa brought you some nice gifts.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Hi Amanda - thanks so much for the comment and lovely to hear from you. I have been thinking of you recently and wondering how you were. I have so missed your posts but I think you said you were now working in retail (my daughter works there too) and I know how horrendously busy it is at this time of year :( I hope you have more time off than her - she is working Cmas Eve up to midnight to get sales stuff ready and then back at work Boxing Day :( I really don't understand why people can't go without shops for a few days at this time of year!

So sorry to hear you haven't been able to get out especially today (its raining here too) - not been out much myself mainly due to weather hence lack of posts here. Let's hope weather improves soon and you can find the time to get out too!

I've been a bit lazy with moth trap (although rain not helping) but I did rescue a Mottled Umber from a spider's web! Will try and put trap out if still mild (and dry) after Christmas.

Have a lovely Christmas too and hope Santa brings just what you wish for most! Will try and do a post on some of my pressies (I had some great ones for my bday recently) and will post a photo of the knitted blanket of squares I have finally, after 2 years!!!!, finished and some knit and purl toys I have been knitting.

Hope you are well and take care - we will all still be here when you find more time hopefully in the new year for photos and blogging.

Best wishes Caroline

Chris Rohrer said...

Happy Holidays! The holidays are crazy so I hope you are doing alright:) I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! You live in the future where it's already the 24th so Merry Christmas! Hugs from Tucson, Chris

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris! - knee deep in Christmas preparations and we've had weeks of rain so not been out much hence lack of posts!!

Have a wonderful holiday too and Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year. Hugs returned :) Caroline

Bovey Belle said...

Finally catching up on blog-reading for December. What a fabulous detailed post and I now want to get to Worcester again. We get quite near when we go to Malvern, but it's such an early start (3.30 a.m.) that we are just keen to come straight home again after our day at the Fleamarket there. Love those Misericords. Such wonderful craftsmanship. A fascinating history attached to the Cathedral too, with several of England's past monarchs stacked up there.

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much. Worcester well worth further visits - I would like to go to Greyfriars too plus some museums. Not sure how expensive car parks in general are but the one opposite the Cathedral was dear! Cathedral is beautiful and would also like to spend more time there!