In 2015 Worcester was ranked in the top ten UK cities for heritage. Boasting a beautiful Norman Cathedral it has strong and identifiable musical, cultural and industrial heritage.
Originally a Roman settlement and then a burgh of Alfred the Great; fortified against Viking raiders along the River Severn, Worcester began to thrive once the city became part of an episcopal see and had a bishop.
King John of Magna Carta fame, – whose favoured hunting ground was Feckenham Forest; covering most of Worcestershire at the time – is buried at his own request in the cathedral chancel. He was flanked by the shrines and tombs of St. Oswald and St. Wulfstan until they were destroyed during the Reformation. Worcester Cathedral is also the final resting place of the brother of King Henry VIII, Prince Arthur; as well as former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.
Shakespeare allegedly married Anne Hathaway in Worcester in 1582 to avoid a scandal in Stratford, as she was pregnant at the time!
The first and last battles of the English Civil War were fought at Worcester. The last battle was a bloody affair, with thousands killed in fierce fighting outside the Sidbury Gate, as well as through the city streets. The future King Charles II made his escape from the city on the 3rd September 1651 from a place you can still visit; as it is a public house selling fine food and drink. As committed republicans, US Presidents to be, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, saw Worcester as a beacon for liberty and democracy, and came on a pilgrimage to the city in 1786.
Other famous visitors to Worcester include Elizabeth I and George III, who wasn’t allowed to leave by notorious gate keeper Robert Sleuth until he paid the road toll!
Sir Edward Elgar lived at 2 College Precincts, and is reckoned to have played in the Cathedral Cloisters as a small boy.
Photos by Chris Dobbs LRPS – firstname.lastname@example.org