The Worcester Cathedral once known as the Western Priory is one of the loveliest cathedrals of England. It officially goes by The Cathedral Church of Christ and The Blessed Mary the Virgin of Worcester. It is located at Chapter Office, 8 College Yard, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR1 2LA.
The cathedral houses the tomb of King John who before his demise, requested to be buried there. Prince Arthur was also buried there and has a memorial in his name, Prince Arthur’s Chantry. The chantry saved the cathedral from being destroyed by Henry VII, Prince Arthur’s brother during the English Reformation. Apart from King John and Prince Arthur, 13 other notable people have been buried in the cathedral. Worcester Cathedral features medieval cloisters, an ancient crypt and chapter house, and Victorian stained glass. It also houses the ancient Cathedral Library and archive, which houses the second largest medieval manuscript collection in any UK cathedral and is one of the most important libraries of medieval music and books in the world. It contains almost 300 medieval manuscripts and 5,500 post-medieval printed books.
The cathedral was built from the 11th to the 16th century. The building of the cathedral started in 1084 and lasted up to 1504. The building reflects every English architecture style from Norman to Perpendicular Gothic. The cathedral is renowned for the Norman crypt and its unique chapter house. Other gorgeous and unusual architectural works that it is renowned for include the transitional Gothic bays, its woodwork and “exquisite” central tower. Extensive restoration works have been carried out on the cathedral over the years.
Events and Tours
The cathedral is open all year for tours and exhibitions. It is open daily from 7.30 a.m to 6.00 p.m to the public and entry is free. To tour the cathedral, individuals can turn up without prior booking at 11.00 a.m and 2.30 p.m on Saturdays. From April to November, individuals have more opportunities to turn up for a tour twice a day at 11.00 a.m and 2.30 p.m, Monday through Saturday. Groups however have to book their tours in advance, as they cannot just turn up for tours. Groups can book for guided tours all year round. The cathedral tower is open on Saturdays, school holidays in the summer, bank holidays and from Easter to the end of October, and has a splendid view of the city. To tour the library however, booking is required for both individuals and groups, there are no ‘turn up tours’ allowed for the library.
Prominent among the events that hold in the cathedral is the annual graduation ceremony of the University of Worcester, which take place over the course of four days in the month of November. The cathedral is also a great and regular venue for classical concerts.
Access and Refreshments
The cathedral has access for people with disabilities as most sections are accessible and parking is available. There is no access yet to the Tower and the Library because of the narrow and spiral staircases in them. Visually impaired people can use a tactile guide in the cathedral and there is a loop made available for visitors with hearing impairments.
The cathedral offers refreshments in the Priors Parlour Coffee Shop, conference catering facilities for groups of 6 to 6o and a gift shop.
Mrs Susan McLeod