Worcester Cathedral

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.

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.

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.