Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Worcester Cathedral (Worcester)

The cathedral of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary dominates the skyline of the ancient cathedral city of Worcester.

The see was founded in 680, during the Anglo-Saxon period, when Worcester was part of Mercia. This first cathedral, dedicated to St. Peter, was served by missionaries from Whitby Abbey.

The great St. Dunstan, while he was Bishop here, and his successor, St. Oswald of Worcester, created a new cathedral and Benedictine monastery dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the 960s.

This in turn was ravaged by King Harthacnut in 1041.

In 1062, St. Wulfstan became Bishop, and it was from his time that the present cathedral began to take shape.

Wulfstan was the only one of the Anglo-Saxon Bishops to remain in office for any significant time after the Norman Conquest. The lovely crypt dates from his time.

Until Gloucester achieved pre-eminence in this part of England after Edward II's murder, the shrines of Oswald and Wulfstan made Worcester an important pilgrimage centre.

There was a serious fire in 1113,and in 1139, during the civil war between Stephen and Matilda, the cathedral was heavily damaged when the city was sacked.

The tower fell in 1175 and there was another fire in 1180.

King John decided that, although the citizens of Worcester took sides against him, he would be buried in the cathedral. He was thus brought from Newark in 1216 and laid to rest between St. Oswald and St. Wulfstan.

In addition to King John, there was another important Royal burial. Prince Arthur, the Prince of Wales, died at Ludlow in 1502 and was buried with considerable pomp in his own magnificent chantry.

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