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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