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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