Moseley Old Hall, Staffordshire

The nice thing about being on holiday not too far from home, is you have time to visit other places on the way home. My plan was the NT property at Wightwick Manor, but when we got there the car park was packed. We continued driving, thinking we’d continue home, perhaps stopping somewhere en route. En route we saw a brown NT sign to Moseley Old Hall, so followed it. We were very glad we did! A nice welcome – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/moseley-old-hall Loo and tea room to start with. The Hall was fascinating, garden gorgeous, 2nd Hand bookshop, and I purchased a rose. Several trips were required to get everything to the car.

Henry Pitt built a half-timbered farmhouse in around 1600. He was a Catholic, and built this nice house in a rural area, not far from the main Wolverhampton Stafford road. His daughter Alice married Thomas Whitgreave, a Protestant Royalist, but she (and her children) kept their faith. After Thomas’ death, she managed the estate. The Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651 was a disaster for the Royalist forces fighting for the heir to the crown, Charles II. As the remnants of his defeated army straggled its was past the Hall, she tended to their wounds, and gave refuge to a stranger (who she later discovered was Charles himself). Alice’s son Thomas had fought at Naseby, but was ill and did not fight at Worcester, he agreed to let Charles shelter here. Charles had fled north to Whiteladies, then tried to escape west into Wales, back to Boscobel, then to Mosley. He arrived here on 7 September, and spent much of his time in what is now known as The King’s Room. There was a hiding place in the corner, which might have been very necessary. The King continued down to Bristol, disguised as the servant of Jane Lane, from a Protestant Royalist family who lived at Bentley Hall, four miles from Mosely. From here he escaped to the Continent.

Although the house is no longer half timbered, you can imagine what it felt like on the day the King arrived. The Chapel would have been less visible – too dangerous to be a Catholic, so you put everything out when you need to.

Less than an hour to get home, which means we are not very far from Moseley. Julie had a very large pile of parcels to review for northernreader.wordpress.com, and there were no phone calls on the answermachine. That must be a first!

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Cotheridge, Worcestershire – St Leonard – and The Firs, Elgar’s birthplace

Friday 31 May, the last day of the holiday – but we live life to the full! We were out of the flat nice and quickly, and headed towards Elgar’s birthplace. We were there so early we went and had an explore. St Leonard’s, Cotheridge church – SO 787547 – is now part of the Lower Teme Valley parish, in the Worcester West Rural Team – https://wwrt.churchinsight.com/Groups/305347/Lower_Teme_Valley.aspx. No guidebook, just a laminated sheet, and nothing about the building on the website, but at least it was open. Reading the sheet, they’ve done a good job of putting it in context. It is one thing to tell me it’s an early C12 church, but when they say “Henry I, 50 years before the murder of Thomas a Becket” I can have a bit idea of when that actually is. Then the church was altered in the C15, and restored in 1684 for Rowland Berkeley (I love the way we know who it was restored in 1684). British Listed Buildings tells me that at the time of surveying (June 1984) the south tower and nave were out of use due to  their deteriorating condition – so well done to all those who have got it back into a good, and open, condition.

I headed round to the north side, and found flat access into a kitchen (mugs and a kettle provided if I wished to make coffee) and a disabled loo (for this relief, much thanks). The Chancel has a C15 east window and I like the altar rail. I missed the “interesting glazed floor tiles of the C14 and C15” on the Chancel floor. I should know by now to look down at the floor as well us up to the window.

The Chancel Arch is not just some wooden screen or metal bird cage, this is a proper Norman arch.

Reading the sheet, the Nave itself had a roof which collapsed in 1947, and was rebuilt by 1961, then another major rebuild in the late 1980s – my admiration for them increases again. I like the welcome too – there are many open churches, but not many open organs.

The South Window dates from the time of Magna Carta, and the pulpit is C17. The North Chapel (now the vestry) was added then.

I enjoyed the machine which told me some of the church stories – it seems a robust contraption (though the trailing wire could do with sorting), and I assume it was grant funded. I know there’s a lot more work being done now with clever apps (though I take some convincing that the technology is up to it in the middle of nowhere). It was also nice to see that they had done some walk leaflets – they may no longer have a service every Sunday, but they are seeking to serve in different ways – well done to them. How about producing a combined leaflet for all the churches of the benefice, and persuading the National Trust and other tourist magnets in the area to stock them?).

In the South Porch we have some material on display. The timber bell tower, built with large oak beams, was added early C16. The weatherboards were added in the reign of Queen Anne. Just one bell in the tower now – there were four, but one is safer!

Neither font is mentioned anywhere – I like the skull as a reminder of mortality.

This is a church that would benefit from an exploration with Pevsner in hand. What are all the buttresses and odd bits of wall? Answers on a postcard please.

On to The Firs, and it was well worth a visit – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-firs. It’s been run by the Elgar Birthplace Trust for many years, but now the National Trust are in charge. They have built an excellent Visitors’ Centre – I liked the way the speed bump had been removed to facilitate wheelchair access. A very good film about Elgar, and a small museum. They had based their display on “All you need to write a symphony”
· Mark making tools, paper, and a steady hand,
· A pipe and tobacco (or a cigar), glue and scissors,
· A partner who cares for you, a ruler, and a rostrum (which is the five pointed ink pen to draw the lines of a stave)
· A metronome, a patriotic feeling and a manly moustache,
· The love of friends, a bicycle and some wealthy patrons.

There was plenty of music, some good art, and an excellent tea room (with superb scones).

Julie, please note …

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Stoulton, Worcestershire – St Edmund

I started the day by walking across the road to St Edmund’s church, Stoulton. S0 907497. When I go online in June to find out the details of the church, the website I find is that of Sandy Marchant, the owner of The Old Vicarage – https://www.stoultonworcester.org/. Have a look at it, find out about the holiday flats (but if we can’t book it again because a reader of northernvicar has got there first, I shall be most annoyed!), and read their Vision 2020 documents. This is what can be done when one or two people get the community behind their village church. St Edmund’s churches are very special to me – and I’ll do anything I can to help. (I’ve suggested to our choir we have an afternoon out next summer).

The church is Norman, dating to at least 1120. The West Tower was rebuilt in the 1930s, and the porch is modernish (though it doesn’t feel like it). Flat access and usually unlocked (though I know where the key is kept!).

It is not a church you walk into and go “wow”, but you find a folder of info about the plans, a sheet about the Community Mural (have a look at https://www.stoultonworcester.org/community-mural/  for more details) and a kneeler featuring the Vicarage.

There’s a nice Hatchment, a memorial or two, and a font made of a substantial piece of stone.

There is a memorial to a hard-working and long-lasting Vicar, a memorial to a head-working and long-lasting Churchwarden, and a memorial to men who served their Country – I suspect many of those who died were anything but ‘long-lasting.’

The Chancel has more comfy seats for worship, and a nice east window and carvings.

I then went for a stroll round the back. Part of their Vision is to reopen the south door. With a second exit you can do rather more with a building, and we know our buildings have got to be used. Rather nice blind arcading over the door. I will return.

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Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire – St Peter and St Paul

After Pershore we went on to Upton upon Severn, and found it was a bigger village than we expected. We parked in the centre and found most of the shops were inaccessible if you have a Julie in a wheelchair. We went round by the old church, the bridge and Severn, then found we could get into the Old Butchers Shop – and they did a good pizza. They didn’t have a disabled loo – fortunately there is a public one in the village (another reason why Councils should not be allowed to close loos).

We continued down to the church – and found we could put the ramp down to get in. It’s at SO 852402, and has two websites – http://www.upton.uk.net/townmatters/stpandpchurch/stpeters.html and http://www.hopechurchfamily.org/. It is the sort of church where the history of the building gets five short paragraphs. I’m not sure whether I’m ready for a bouncy castle on a Sunday morning – must recommend it to my lot!

The old church is by the river – just the tower remains. By 1879 it was in a bad state of repair and not big enough to accommodate the town’s population. The plans were drawn up by Sir Arthur Blomfield and built by Mr T. Collins of Tewkesbury for £12,000. Unfortunately they only raised £11,000 – so it was all a bit tight. The church was consecrated on 3 September 1879 and dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. The first Rector of the new church was Robert Lawson. He was incumbent for 31 years from 1864 to 1895. He also donated the Font. A few things remained from the old church; the bells, organ and some monuments, including a crusader knight. He was William Boteler, a local man, who, with his brother, built the 14th century church. William’s brother’s effigy has never been found.

Sarah and Robert Baines have a rather lovely memorial. He was born in 1747, the son of John Baines of Layham, Suffolk. He was educated at Tonbridge, Charterhouse, Christ Church Oxford and then Christ’s College Cambridge. He was ordained as a priest in 1771 and married the same year. He held two curacies in East Anglia, was Chaplain to the Bishop of Chester, then went to Upton in 1772 (which makes me wonder how he managed all that in one year). Mr Lawson, wife of the first Rector, recorded in her writings that the family knew a lot of tragedy. They had 13 children – one son was drowned while bathing in the Severn, a daughter died in a fire, and another was lost in the shipwreck of The Earl of Abergavenny off the Isle of Portland. Have a look at https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/110519.html

Elizabeth Kendal (died 1799) was probably the sister of Ann Ross, the mother of baby Elizabeth – she was baptised on 14 January 1793 and buried on 9 September. Her father, Ann’s husband, was a maltster and publican. 

The booklet about the Memorials doesn’t seem to mention the War Memorial. The other ones I’ve photoed are to George and Maria Martin. He was educated at Eton and Merton College Oxford, then was a banker in Worcester. They were major fund raisers for the church. The writing is by Eric Gill – these were installed in 1906 and 1923, both moved from the chancel in 1966.

The East Window is Victorian stained glass – it is a Te Deum window, and I like the figures. The reredos was in memory of Robert Lawson. The light was not very good. It is one of the most colourful Churches Together banner I have ever seen. Enjoy more Victorian glass.

The West Window is a memorial to Mr Martin, and is by Christopher Whall, leader of the Arts and Craft movement in the field of stained glass – the Lady Chapel in Gloucester is by him. The Works of the Lord and the Servants of the Lord – Air, Earth, Man and Angel; George, Edward the Confessor, Martin, and the Makers of the Song ‘O all ye works of the Lord’, the Three Holy Children, Ananias, Azarias and Misael in the fiery furnace, and the fourth ‘Like unto the Son of God’ who rebukes the flame, and upon whose face and kingly robe it presumes not even to glow.

Over the Nave altar is The Corona (Latin for crown), a 1987 installation which is made up of a circle of eight winged ‘Spirit Figures’ and puts a strong focus on the altar. It was designed and made by Anthony Robinson, as were the candlesticks on the altar. It was a dull, grey afternoon – be lovely to see it when the sun is shining.

We found a bakers we could get into, so that’s cake for tea sorted.

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Pershore, Worcestershire – Holy Cross

Wednesday 29 May, and we drove to have an explore of Pershore. We parked by the church – SO 948 457 – and had a wonderful visit. Pershore Abbey is officially the Church of the Holy Cross. Website at http://pershoreabbey.org.uk/ an excellent guidebook in three parts – a short history, a guide, and a longer historical essay – and a very good children’s guide (though they can’t spell millennium). They also invite me to dress up and explore – I want grandchildren so I can!

The earliest reference to a religious foundation here is in 681 when the King of Mercia gave land to fund a Christian community. The Vikings attacked in the 900s – that must have been quite a sail to get here – and in 972 the Abbey introduced the Benedictine Rule. In 976 a local earl seized two-thirds of the Abbey’s land. In 1065 Edward the Confessor gave this land to fund his new abbey at Westminster. The parish was split in two, and the tenants of Westminster Abbey worshipped at St Andrew’s church. Pershore Abbey remained an important medieval abbey – which was a good thing as the church suffered fires in 1002, 1223 and 1288, plus storms and an earthquake. In 1540 Henry VIII’s commissioners arrived in Pershore and ordered the demolition of the lot. The people of Pershore paid £400 for the quire (the area where the choir set), the tower and the north and south transepts. The nave and chapel were destroyed, which has led to all sorts of problems since. The Victorians had a major restoration in 1862, with George Gilbert Scott in charge. He opened up the lantern tower and installed a unique ringing platform suspended high in the tower (which I didn’t photo). They offer tower tours – which I would very much like to go and do some time soon.

The historical story is shown in two of the Victorian windows – planned by the curate Canon Wickendon, and were made by the firm of Hardman & Co. They are rather lovely. There are also some Saxon foundations – the Saxon church was destroyed by fire in 1002. It probably looked like Deerhurst.

The War Memorial is in the South Transept. Alfred Drury RA was the designer and sculptor – his best known work is the bronze figures on the frontage of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Immortality has just alighted on the terrestrial sphere, holding the olive branch of peace and the crown of eternal life. 460 men went to War – 1010 did not come back.

The crusader’s tomb is probably that of Sir William de Harley. They were a local land-owning family who were given land and a manor house in exchange for military service. The crusader is wearing ‘mail’ armor and has mittens and a horn. The abbot’s tomb is probably that of Abbot Edmund Hert, abbot 1456 to 1479. Apparently the position of the mitre under his head suggests that he retired from the position before he died. Good interpretation banners (all the notices in this church are of a very high quality).

There are two tombs for the Haselwood family – one in the South Transept which I photoed when we arrived, and the other behind the bookstall in the North which I photoed on the way out (having spent too much with the lovely lady on the stall itself). The Haselwoods wre landowners who lived nearby in Wick in the 1500s and 1600s. The tomb in the south commemorates Thomas Haselwood, who died in 1624. The two kneeling figures facing each other are his widow, Elizabeth, and their son, Francis. The tomb in the north commemorates Fulke Haselwood, Thomas’s father, who died in 1595. The carvings of the children are known as ‘The Weepers’, because they are weeping his death. The child facing outwards probably died before their father and is shown welcoming him to heaven. I hope my boys will be there to welcome me when my time comes.

The font is located by the west door and is thought to be Norman, dating from the mid 1100s. It is decorated with an interlacing arcade of 13 panels, one each for Christ and the twelve apostles. It was replaced by a new font in 1840 and then used as a cattle trough and a garden ornament. It came back in 1921.

Not sure about the fencing by the lectern – the old problem of getting wobbly knees to the eagle – and the altar is rather lovely. Some nice memorial brasses too.

Let’s also enjoy some more stained glass.

In this church you must look up – and wish I had a camera and a tripod. The quire, aisles and NE chapel were rebuilt after the fire of 1223, and again after a 1288 fire, they did more rebuilding. The Abbey’s vaults are called ploughshare vaults, reflecting a medieval ploughshare (in case you hadn’t guessed). There are 41 stone bosses, and each one is different. Originally each one was painted. Just enjoy.

In 1913 the stone buttresses were added to the outside – be patient, we’ll be there in a minute – and between 2005 and 2017 there has been major conservation work. They had a touch screen which obviously dates from this time – and it was well worth watching. (They could do with putting it on their website). I sat and worked my way through every film – lovely to see the architect talking about the project, and explaining what sort of vaulting is what.

It was starting to rain as we went outside, so I had a quick scoot round with a camera. It is quite a place (that’s the sort of description Pevsner would never have used!)

The sculpture is called “Leafing through history” and was made by Tom Harvey in 2007. It’s a shame he’s lost his hand, but wood is not concrete – nothing natural will last. What has lasted is skill, and a building built to the glory of God.

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Avoncroft Museum of Buildings

Avoncroft Museum of Buildings – https://avoncroft.org.uk/ – is one of those places I have read about, but never got to. It is near Bromsgrove, and we found it easily. They have a mobility scooter you can borrow, so we were able to get to the whole site. They have an interesting mix of buildings, and other bits and pieces. The ecclesiastical pieces – this started as a church crawling blog after all – are the spire of St Paul’s church Smethwick and a tin tabernacle from Bringsty Common, Herefordshire, and a hearse.

The original St Paul’s church was built in 1857 – West Smethwick Working Men’s Church, designed by G.B. Nicholls. By 1961 the base of the spire had rotted, and a fibreglass replacement was cheaper. Two years later the church was burned down, only the spire remained. It was kept when a new building was constructed in 1966. That was declared redundant in 1991, and the spire was re-erected here!

The Tin Chapel was built in 1891 at a cost of £70. The Anglicans were worried about the number of people attending the Methodist church. It was purchased from the catalogue of J.C. Humphries, a London iron merchant and manufacturers – similar chapels were installed across the Empire (they had a photo of the Railway Mission chapel in Bury St Edmunds). It arrived in a flat pack at Brockhampton railway sidings, and was taken by horse and cart to its final site. It could host baptisms, but not weddings or funerals – wonderful Ecclesiatical Law! It was closed in 1988 and moved here in 1995.

The Tollhouse comes from Little Malvern. It dates to 1822 and stood where the current A4104 meets the current A449. When they rebuilt it here they discovered the bread oven – and they rebuilt the privy.

The Chain Shop comes from Scotia Works at Cradley Heath near Birmingham. Mid C19, fourteen hearths, worked until 1969. A recording of some memories helped us picture how hot (but freezing in winter) and noisy it must have been. There was also a Blacksmith’s Shop.

The C15 Town House from Bromsgrove was rather lovely – though they need a gardener.

The Perry Mill is from Hunt End, Redditch, and was built between 1790 and 1810. Perry is an alcoholic drink made by fermenting pear juice.

The Windmill is from Hill Farm, Danzey Green, Warwickshire. It is a typical West Midlands Post Mill. The upper structure, called the Buck, pivots on a huge central post. It turns into the wind, and the sails have an 18 metre wide span. The mill was built in 1830, though the post comes from an earlier mill that had been taken down in around 1784. It was rebuilt in 1969/70.

The Museum has the National Collection of Telephone boxes. I could write a piece about each sort of box, or you could just enjoy the photos.

A wonderful collection of AA and RAC boxes too – what we did before mobile phones.

And some police boxes (in the days when we had police).

They had a very nice café. I had a large pot of tea, and a very small cup and saucer.

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Worcester Cathedral – Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary – 4, Quire and Crypt

After the tower I needed a late lunch, then we went and explored the Quire. The volunteers directed us out of the main north door, then in to the Quire by another – easier than coping with a large lift. Then there is another smaller lift, so Julie could get to most places. Having said that, some of these photos might be of things elsewhere in the Cathedral – just enjoy them.

The Quire is the original centre of the Cathedral and its worship – and it is worth looking up at the organ pipes and ceiling.  The organ was built by Kenneth Tickell in 2008. The stalls are Victorian, but the misericords are C14 – including a series of the seasons of the year. I didn’t photo them all – they are rather lovely.

In a really convenient place between the choir stalls and the altar rail is the tomb of John, King of England (like many others I automatically think “bad king”). Born in 1166 he died at Newark on Trent in 1216 (younger than me). His plan had been to be buried at Beaulieu in Hampshire, but the abbey there was in the hands of rebels, so he came here (that must have been an interesting journey). His tomb was moved further east in 1232, and the effigy dates from then. The tomb itself dates to 1529. I think the altar frontal works well.

To the left is the Chantry Chapel of Prince Arthur. He was the eldest son of Henry VII, married Catherine of Aragon in 1501, and died the following year in Ludlow. His body was brought here, presumably because it was the nearest place already housing a Royal tomb. Work started on this chapel a couple of years later, and it took about 12 years to finish. You can walk in from the Quire, but also go and look at it from ground level. Wonderful!

The Chapel of St George, the small North East Transept, was rededicated in 1936, designated as a War Memorial chapel. I wondered if they expected another War just three years later. There is a memorial to Woodbine Willie – a man I know a little about (you can download my talk about him at https://www.stedsandstmatts.co.uk/world-war-1-at-st-matthew-s (scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the link)). There is a Walk Round Worcester leaflet available, following his life and residences.

There are lots more tombs and memorials, all of which have fascinating stories. Lord Lyttelton (1817-1876), the brother-in-law of Gladstone, was largely instrumental in raising the funds for the restoration of the Cathedral in 1874. Charlotte Elizabeth Digby, the wife of the Reverend William Digby, daughter of the Honourable Colonel and Lady Lucy Digby – one assumes she was not his sister … . Born on 7 August 1778, appointed by HM Queen Charotte as one of her Maids of Honour in 1802, married in January 1803, and “died at Malvern of a rapid consumption” in 1820. What beautiful toes she has!

The area behind the High Altar is rather good. Lovely to look up, and I like the panel on the back of the reredos. The east wall is a C19 recreation, Mr Pearson the architect imagined a pattern of C13 windows. The stained glass is Victorian, and shows the life of Christ.

There is some very good AV – I enjoyed the picture of what the Cathedral would have looked like when John was buried. Plenty to watch and work through.

I went down into the Crypt, and could imagine I was in St Wulfstan’s Cathedral. Late C11 architecture, originally much bigger – indeed so large that it would always have needed candles in the centre part. It is still used for regular worship – part of me is very pleased by that, part of me feels guilty that Julie would not be able to get to a service there. The Pieta is by Glynn Williams, made in 1991 according to the guidebook, 1984 according to http://glynnwilliamssculptor.co.uk/pagep/eightyfive.html. The website has an interesting map of where his works are – the only one I think I know is to the diver at Winchester Cathedral. Time for another explore – last time I went there was when we handed James our Dean over from St Edmundsbury to Winchester.

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Worcester Cathedral – Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary – 3, The Tower

My last photo in the Nave was the Defibrillator – so now I go and climb the tower. 235 steps to climb 202 feet up the tower which was completed in 1374. Yes, of course I can. The first staircase is in one of the oldest parts of the Cathedral, dating from about 1250. That’s the first 110 steps, then there’s a bridge over the vaulting of the NW transept ceiling, and into the Clock Room.

This room is used as a teaching centre for bell ringing complete with dumbbells. The leaflet is rather proud: “These are special training bells and recreate the experience of having highly skilled ringers working with you. It works just like a flight simulator.” There’s a not a lot one can say to that. The Clock was built by Joyce & Co of Whitchurch in 1869. A chap was on duty at this level – and it turned out he knew my tower captain from Ponteland, and had rung those bells.

Up another 125 steps. Very sensibly the chap in the Clock Room was connected by radio to the lass on the roof, so they could ensure one way traffic. The stairs were narrow, but perfectly manageable – and I am not as unfit as I thought I was. Understandably the Ringing Room, the Carillon Room and the Belfry were all locked. The Carillon was installed in 1872, and is now “silent and obsolete”. That sounds like a challenge for a new Dean wishing to make their mark! Apparently there are 16 bells – a ring of 12  (“one of the finest rings in the world”) plus 4 additional semitone bells. I don’t claim to understand how it all works.

The leaflet we had been given gave us pictures from each of the compass points, telling us what we can see. In 1651 Prince Charles (later Charles II) watched the last battle of the English Civil War from the top of the tower before he fled the city. Having enjoyed the view, I walked down in a happier frame of mind than His Royal Highness. We went to the café – we will come across Prince Charles again later in the week.

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Worcester Cathedral – Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary – 2, The Nave

Bank Holiday Monday in a Cathedral. Having explored the Cloister, we walked into the Nave. It was lovely that both doors from the Cloister, including the one with a wheelchair ramp, were wide open, as were the West Doors too. There was a group of youngsters skateboarding outside, and at one point they drifted into the Cathedral. No one pounced on them, thrust a leaflet under their noses, told them to remove their baseball hats – they were as welcome as anyone was else was. They had a wander round and explore, just like I did. There was a bunch of Welcomers by the North Door who were lovely – sold me a photo permit, gave us a leaflet, said ‘thank you’ when I used the donation point, and told us how to get into the Quire with a wheelchair (see the next blog). The main entrance from the City is through the  North Door. That is totally accessible, and has a very smart noticeboard.

Worcester was a Roman settlement, and there may well have been a church here. In Saxon times it was settled by the tribe of the Hwicce. In 680 the Diocese of Worcester was split from that of Lichfield, and the first bishop was a chap called Bosel, a monk of Whitby. He built a church here dedicated to St Peter. Dunstan, Ethelwold and Oswald did more building in the C10, and then Wulfstan (bishop 1062 to 1095) did more. Fascinating to think about how this Anglo-Saxon bishop survived as a bishop well into Norman times. We’ll visit his crypt later on this journey. The East End was rebuilt in the C13, and the Nave in the C14 – if you know what you are looking for, you can see that the North side was redone before the South. There was more restoration work after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, but it wasn’t until the Victorian period that there was major work done. Fortunately it was done well. It is a wonderful space – so why did I only take two photos which shows that? The West Window is a C19 Hardman window showing the Garden of Eden – apparently there is a pink giraffe if you look hard enough. I’ll take their word for it. The font is Victorian (1891), massive, and practically inaccessible. Julie is demonstrating this.

Lots of lovely memorials and tombs. The first is that of Robert Wilde and his wife Margaret Cooling. They were wealthy clothiers and lived at the Commandery. I realise that my notes on the Painted Chamber (a couple of blogs ago) didn’t give a date for the paintings – do I assume the Robert and Margaret regularly admired them? She died in June 1606, he died the following January.

This is the tomb of Sir John Beauchamp of Powick and Alcester and his wife Elizabeth Pateshull. He was born in 1330 and died circa 1389. His coat of arms is, to quote the notice, “Gules (red) fesse (band) between six martlets” and hers’ “Argent (silver) fesse (band) between two crescents”. “The Beauchamp crest of ducal coronet Gules (red) a swan’s head Argent (white/silver) repainted incorrectly at a later date”.

Every blog post should have a mystery – when the chap with the camera realises he didn’t get a decent enough photo of the memorial to work out who is being memorialised. (There should always be an excuse to go back!)

The Moore monument is to a family of drapers and clothiers in the city in the time of Elizabeth I. Their fortunes were laid by farming out spinning and weaving with local farmer’s wives and cottagers, they then dyed the cloth and sold the finished article. Soon they had connections in London and with the Continent. The figures are not identified on the monument. They are probably John Moore and his wife Anne on the right, their son and daughter John and Margaret in the centre, and their son Thomas in his Aldermanic robes with is wife Mary. Thomas was the last to died in 1655 at the age of 79.

Judge Littleton, born (1422) and died (1481) at Frankley in Worcestershire. He was Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1447 and Justice of the Common Pleas in 1466. His book on Tenures, with the commentary of Sir Edward Coke, became the standard work on Real Property Law. He has been called the Father of our English laws. The memorial to Bishop Edmund Freake, successively Bishop of Rochester, Norwich and Worcester, 1516-1591. The notice tells me that on the foot of the tomb is the signature of Anthony Tolly (1546-1594) a Worcester craftsman. Apparently this is the second oldest signed monument in England. I also like the idea of going from Rochester to Norwich to Worcesrer – I wonder how much he ever visited his dioceses and cathedrals?

Richard Edes was Dean from 1597 to 1604. Before then he had been appointed Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth I in 1598, when he was already “held in great admiration at court for his preaching and excellent and polite discourse.” In 1603 he became a Chaplain to James I, and was invited to become one of the team of Divines who undertook the translation of the Authourised Version, but he died before the work got very far. There is a portrait of him at the Bodleian at Oxford, and he is buried in the Lady Chapel (not here where his memorial stands).

This memorial to Richard Solly is rather a sad one. “Whilst on a tour of pleasure with his family, was seized with an inflammation of the intestines, which in five days terminated his life at Malvern.” When you do the maths you realise his first child had her third birthday the day before he died, the second was just two, and the third was only five months old. Frances, his wife, came from an Irish family – so I hope there was someone to be with her and care when she found herself in Malvern with a seriously ill husband and three tiny children. The family must have had money, so that would have helped – I hope their faith comforted them too. I’d love to know the story of Jane Cazalet too – died unmarried at the age of 56. I wonder if she had loved someone who died too young?

Bishop Henry Philpott (1807-1892) had charge of the See during the Victorian restoration of the Cathedral – now he looks after the tables.

There is a memorial to Edward Elgar and a memorial window – the Dream of Gerontius.

A defib, with Prayer Book in case it doesn’t work!

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Worcester Cathedral – Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary – 1, The Cloisters

The best space to spend a Bank Holiday Monday (27 May) is in Worcester Cathedral – http://worcestercathedral.co.uk/  – SO 850545. This may take a while to write up. As we had parked on the south side of the Cathedral – being a bank holiday no one stopped us driving into the Close – we started in the Cloisters.

The original cloister of the Abbey would have been built in wood, and was rebuilt in stone in the C14 and early C15. In 1762 they replaced the glass, then there was a major Victorian rebuild in 1866. Today it may not echo to the feet of the monks, but it links the school, the shop, the Chapter House, the café, the Cathedral – so it remains busy. The garden in the middle is a peaceful spot, and there were some families enjoying the sun. The café is excellent – when we arrived for food it was just a couple of minutes before they stopped doing hot food, but they were quite happy to sort us out. We spent too much in the shop as well – they were smiling in the face of a busy day.

The Cloister was full of wonderful art from local schools – congratulations to them and (I assume) to the Cathedral and Diocesan Education departments for getting it all together (and no doubt the Cathedral vergers and works’ department were busy too). We had some bible stories, local people and swans (why did I fail to walk beside the river and see the local swans?).

Other displays took us round the world, back into the past, and challenged us to care for our planet.

There is also a fascinating selection of stained glass – so much of it that you can buy a pocket guide detailing the lot. My problem is that the pictures in the pocket guide are a bit too small to work out which window is which – however http://www.gornalandsedgley.org.uk/content/pages/documents/1366478224.pdf has come to my aid – thank you. The C19 rebuild did not fill the 28 cloister windows with glass, and in 1916 the Dean and Chapter started their project to glaze the lot (it’s not as if anything else was happening in 1916!). They decided to install glass that would be both a history of the English church and a series of personal memorials. The project started in 1916, and the Millennium Window went in in 1999 – we take our time in the good old Church of England! Here are just a few of them.

Here are Ecgwin, Bishop of Worcester 693, and King Oswic, founder of the Abbeys of Gloucester and Bath, and King Oswald founder of Pershore, and Cyneburga, sister of Oswic, first Abbess of Gloucester. East Walk Window 6.

Theodore, Greek Archbishop of Canterbury, unifier of the church at the Synod of Whitby (my Lindisfarne friends might disagree with that assessment), and Chad, bishop of Mercia. The death of King Penda, and  King Egbert and King Oswy accept Theodore as the Archbishop – East Walk Window 5.

Going back a bit, in East Walk Window 3 we have the Mission of St Augustine – with King Ethelbert and Queen Bertha in the centre. Next to it, in East Walk Window 4, we have Lindisfarne and St Cuthbert.

North Walk Window 3 has Henry II and Thomas a Becket, and West Walk Window 6 has William III and Queen Anne.

I don’t know where these angels are. This window was installed in 1991 to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the founding of The King’s School by Henry VIII (how are they going to top this in 2041?). It is by Alfred Fisher and Chapel Studios of Kings Langley in Hertfordshire. The roundel of horse and ride was designed by John Exton, art teacher at the school, and is based on a seal of Henry VIII.

Out in the garden itself I was able to photo the Millennium Window, installed in 1999 (I am impressed by a Cathedral that got a Millennium Project done before the Millennium!). I cam across Mark Cazelet’s work in Suffolk – have a look at www.markcazalet.co.uk.

Right, time to enter the Cathedral.

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