A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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The church of ST. HELEN in the High Street, though much restored, retains a 15th-century arcade of six arches on either side. The 15th-century font is octagonal. The church seems to have been considerably repaired in the 18th century, when the tower was rebuilt. It contains a ring of eight bells, with laudatory inscriptions commemorative of the victories of Marlborough, all dated 1706 except the seventh, which is of 1712, and cast by Richard Sanders of Bromsgrove. The church contains a monument to Dud Dudley, recently restored.
The plate consists of a cup and cover paten of 1571, another cup and cover paten of 1588, a large paten of the same date, a plate inscribed 'e.d. M. Brooks 1770,' and a flagon with a spout bearing the arms of Bishop Hough, but having no hall-mark. (fn. 1)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1538 to 1812, burials 1556 to 1812, marriages 1539 to 1754; (ii) marriages 1754 to 1812. (fn. 2)
ALL SAINTS church, at the bottom of Broad Street, was rebuilt in 1742; it is of six bays with aisles, has Doric columns and wide round-headed windows in the side walls. The tower at the west end retains its 15th-century lower story with angle buttresses, but is finished at the top with two stages of the date of the rebuilding. There are various fragments of old glass in the windows and a fine wrought-iron stand for the mayor's sword. There are a number of old monuments, the most important being one to Alderman Samuel Mathew with a bust (1676), and another of a man and woman kneeling at desks to Edward Hurdman, last bailiff and first mayor and Joan his wife (1621). 'The chancel of this church being spacious and fair was built by a parson (Roger Gower, resigned 1468) of this parish and exceeding almost the power of so ordinary a rectory, whose name being broken out in the glass is I hope recorded in Heaven. The five windows of the chancel contained their original glass. (fn. 3)
There is a ring of ten bells, originally cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester in 1692, and the fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth are of this date. The treble is by Thomas Rudhall, undated; the second, third, fourth and sixth by Abel Rudhall, dated respectively 1752, 1750, 1750 and 1753. The tenor is by Thomas Mears & Son of London, 1805. There is also a 'ting-tang' by Abel Rudhall, 1741.
The plate consists of an Elizabethan cup of large size with cover paten dated 1571, a second cup with cover paten of 1635, a paten of 1839 and a spoon. There are two large old flagons of pewter. (fn. 4)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1560 to 1638; (ii) 1639 to 1678; (iii) 1678 to 1731; (iv) baptisms and burials 1732 to 1778; marriages 1732 to 1754; (v) baptisms and burials 1779 to 1812; (vi), (vii) and (viii) marriages 1754 to 1792, 1793 to 1809 and 1809 to 1812.
The church of ST. ALBAN, at the bottom of Fish Street, is very small, and has a nave and north aisle separated by an arcade with round 12th-century columns. There is a Jacobean pulpit and a plain 12th-century circular moulded font. There is a small wooden bellcote containing a little modern bell. There were formerly two bells, bought by the architect, Mr. J. P. St. Aubyn, and sold by him to St. James's, Devonport, in 1851. One of these was dated 1588 and the other 1630.
The plate consists of a cup of 1619, having on one side the name W. Wyatt with his arms and on the other W. Warmsey and his arms, and a modern paten. There is a pewter tankard 7 in. high. (fn. 5)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1630 to 1726; (ii) baptisms and burials 1727 to 1812, marriages 1727 to 1754; (iii) marriages 1756 to 1812.
The church of ST. ANDREW is on the north side of St. Mary's Street (now Copenhagen Street), in a large graveyard hallowed by Bishop Thornborough in 1635. (fn. 6) The church consists of a chancel with side chapels, a nave with aisles, and a western tower open to the church. The chancel is of the late 12th century, and has on either side a pointed arch of which the label, which is a roll, returns as an impost. The chancel arch is of the 14th century, and the nave arcades, of two very lofty arches on slender piers on either side, are of the 15th century. The tower forms the west end of the nave and has tall arches on the north, east and south, and is vaulted with an intricate lierne vault decorated with sculptured bosses bearing the twelve apostles, the Annunciation, Nativity, the Trinity, St. George and other subjects. The eastern piers towards the nave are panelled and have double corbels in the form of fan vaults to carry the nave arcade. The aisle walls were renewed in a restoration of 1886. The roofs are mostly original, that of the nave is flat panelled and the aisles have lean-to panelled roofs; that of the north chapel is flat pitched and divided into four bays. The late 12th-century font is circular and moulded. Externally the tower is of three stages, and is surmounted by an attenuated spire built by Nathaniel Wilkinson, a Worcester architect, in 1751. The height of the tower is 90 ft. and the spire 155 ft. 6 in., or 245 ft. 6 in. in all. According to Nash the old tower was 30 yds. in height, and the spire 44 yds. 1 ft. 10 in. (fn. 7)
There is one large bell, dating about 1520, inscribed with Gothic characters—
ANDREE SANCTI CAMPANAM QVIPPE BEATAM FECIT IN HONOREM VYLLEI DIGNYM SINI FLOREM.
There is also a 'ting-tang' of 1771 by Thomas Rudhall, inscribed 'Come away make no delay.'
The plate consists of a large paten of 1650 and a modern cup. The flagon is of plated ware. (fn. 8)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms and burials 1656 to 1769, marriages 1656 to 1755; (ii) marriages 1754 to 1779; (iii) marriages 1779 to 1796; (iv) marriages 1796 to 1812; (v) baptisms and burials 1770 to 1812. An earlier volume, all entries 1541 to 1656, known to have existed, is now missing.
The church of ST. CLEMENT was at the extreme north-west angle of the city, and nothing but a fragment of the west wall remains. It consisted of a nave and chancel with a wide aisle and wooden tower at the west end, which was put up after the Civil War in place of the stone tower which was then destroyed. (fn. 9) It was pulled down in 1823, when a new church was built on the other side of the river in the middle of the parish. This building is of grey sandstone in an intended reproduction of 12thcentury style; it consists of chancel, nave, and western embattled tower with pinnacles, and vestry below the chancel.
There is one bell by Thomas Mears of London, 1822, cast from the three old bells.
The plate consists of an Elizabethan cup with floral band ornament of 1571, a second cup, 1748, and a large paten of the same date. (fn. 10)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1694 to 1730; (ii) baptisms and marriages 1730 to 1751, burials 1730 to 1754; (iii) marriages 1751 to 1753; (iv) baptisms 1751 to 1790; (v) baptisms 1790 to 1798; (vi) marriages 1754 to 1782; (vii) marriages 1782 to 1802; (viii) baptisms and burials 1799 to 1812; (ix) marriages 1802 to 1812.
The church of ST. MICHAELstood just to the east of the great belfry within the cathedral precinct, and consisted of a small nave and chancel under one roof, and a wooden tower porch on the south-west. In 1764 'the inside hath lately been made very neat by a new altar-piece, communion table and pulpit, embellished with very pretty carvings; a gallery and pews; whereby it is rendered, of an old rude structure, neat, decent and commodious.' (fn. 11) The church was pulled down early in the 19th century and a new church built adjoining Lich Street, which in turn is now converted into a muniment room for the episcopal papers.
The bell, hanging in the western gable, is inscribed in Gothic capitals Gavde Michael Inclite Paradisi preposite, followed by an inscription in small type, 'Dñs Thomas Clyvegrove Rector anno dñi m°cccclxxx° ihc' Between the words are various ornamental stops, including heads of a king and queen and grotesque figures. There is a 'ting-tang' by Abel Rudhall, 1761, inscribed come away make no delay.
The old church had two more bells, one of 1660, now lost, and one by the same founder as the present bell, inscribed est angelvs gabriel missvs thomas linley. This is now at St. Paul's, Devonport, where it was placed by Mr. J. P. St. Aubyn.
The plate consists of two cups and a large paten, which, with a plated flagon, were provided in 1882. (fn. 12)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1546 to 1791, burials 1546 to 1791, marriages 1548 to 1755; (ii) marriages 1754 to 1802; (iii) marriages 1802 to 1812; (iv) baptisms 1792 to 1812, burials 1792 to 1812.
The church of ST. NICHOLAS, on the east side of the Cross, was rebuilt about 1730 from designs by Thomas White, a native of Worcester and a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren. It has four round-headed windows on each side, a small apse at the east end, a fine tower and cupola at the west, and the whole is raised upon a crypt. Some few old monuments remain on the walls, but the fittings are modern.
The bells consist of a ring of six by Richard Sanders of Bromsgrove, and are dated 1715.
The plate consists of a large paten of 1685 and two cups of 1807; there are also two plated flagons. (fn. 13)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1564 to 1693, burials and marriages 1563 to 1692; (ii) baptisms and burials 1694 to 1812, marriages 1694 to 1755; (iii) marriages 1554 to 1812.
The church of ST. SWITHUN is at the west end of Mealcheapen Street, and was rebuilt in stone about 1736, in plan a parallelogram with a western tower. There is a three-decker pulpit with sounding-board, a wrought-iron stand for the mayor's sword, and a marble altar. The font was restored in 1914.
There are six bells: the treble, second and tenor by John Martin, 1654; on the tenor is mas. solley of hindlip gave this bell. The third, fourth and fifth were cast at Worcester about 1410; they bear the 'Royal Head' stamps, representing Edward I and Queen Eleanor, and are inscribed respectively †johannes cristi care me salva semper clare; †ave maria gracia plena dominvs tecvm; †iesvs nazarenvs rex ivdeorvm fili dei miserere mei.
The plate consists of a large paten of 1685 and a modern cup and flagon. (fn. 14)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1539 to 1653, burials and marriages 1538 to 1653; (ii) all entries 1653 to 1746; (iii) baptisms and burials 1747 to 1812, marriages 1747 to 1754; (iv) marriages 1754 to 1794; (v) marriages 1794 to 1812.
There are six other churches within the city bounds, but outside the walls.
The church of ST. STEPHEN, Barbourne, was built in 1862 mainly at the cost of two ladies named Lavender, and has a small tower at the west end of the south aisle. The plate consists of two cups, a paten, and a flagon given by the late Thomas Oldham. The parish was formed in 1862, (fn. 15) and the living is a vicarage in the gift of Mr. F. L. Curtler.
The church of ST. GEORGE in St. George's Square was built in 1894 in place of a Georgian structure of 1820, from designs of Sir Aston Webb. The plate consists of two cups, a paten, and a plate of modern pattern, the gifts of Miss Newport in 1830. The parish was formed from Claines in 1862, and the living is a vicarage in the gift of the vicar of Claines. (fn. 16)
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE, in the Tything, at Sansome Walk was built in 1876, and had a tower and spire added in 1889. There are two cups, two patens, an almsdish and a flagon given by Colonel Johnstone at the opening of the church. The parish was formed from Claines in 1875, (fn. 17) and the living is a vicarage in the gift of the Bishop of Worcester.
The church of ST. BARNABAS, Rainbow Hill, was built in 1885 from designs by Mr. Ernest Day. There is a cup and paten of Elizabethan pattern, given in 1883 by Archdeacon Lea. There is also a flagon of pewter. The parish was formed from Claines in 1883, (fn. 18) and the living, a vicarage, is in the gift of the Bishop of Worcester.
The church of ST. PAUL in the Blockhouse was built in 1885 from designs by Mr. G. E. Street. There are two cups, a paten, and a plate in plated ware. The parish was formed in 1844 from the extra-parochial district of Blockhouse and part of St. Peter's parish. (fn. 19) The living is a vicarage in the gift of the bishop.
HOLY TRINITY, Shrub Hill, was built in 1863–5. Over the nave is the timber roof of the guest-hall of the priory. The bell, in a flèche on the roof, is said to be the treble of the old cathedral ring inscribed 'God save the king, 1640.' The plate is modern, and consists of a cup, paten, almsdish and flagon. The parish was formed in 1866 from St. Martin and Claines, (fn. 20) and the living is a vicarage in the gift of the bishop.
Two of the churches of Worcester, those of St. Helen and St. Alban, are recorded as early as the 11th century in a document of much interest. In 1092, in a synod held at Worcester, Bishop Wulstan ended a dispute between Alfnoth, priest of St. Helen's, and Alain, priest of St. Alban's, in which the monks of the cathedral priory were interested. It was then found that there was no parish in the city, except that of the mother church, by which it is evident that the cathedral is meant. The church of St. Helen, it was said, had been a 'vicarage' to the mother church from the time of King Æthelred of the Mercians. In 969 Winesige, priest of St. Helen's, was also 'vicar' of the mother church. He, with other clerks, accepted the monastic life under the influence of Bishop Oswald, and he and the rest conveyed the churches which they held to the use of the monks. (fn. 21) The other churches are not named, and we know little of the early history of Worcester parishes.
After the death of St. Wulstan in 1095 the monks committed the church of St. Helen to Fritheric to hold for their use, and at that time the chapels of Wick, Witley, Wichenford, Kenswick and Holt belonged to it. (fn. 22) The church was confirmed to the monks by Bishop Simon in 1148, and was reappropriated to them in 1215, (fn. 23) but in 1234 it was handed over to the bishop, (fn. 24) and the patronage has since remained with the Bishops of Worcester. (fn. 25) In 1287 Bishop Giffard appropriated it to the chapel of the Carnarie of Worcester in exchange for a rent of £10 a year from the manor of Henbury in Saltmarsh (fn. 26); but throughout the 14th century the incumbent is called rector, (fn. 27) and in 1535 St. Helen's was returned as a rectory. (fn. 28) The living was united in 1882 with that of St. Alban.
In 1175 a controversy between Osbert Fitz Hugh and the Prior of Worcester as to the advowson of All Saints', Worcester, was settled in favour of Osbert, with the condition that the clerk nominated by him should be presented by the prior to the bishop, and should pay half a mark yearly to the convent. (fn. 29) The right of nomination (fn. 30) followed the descent of Cotheridge Manor (fn. 31) to the Corbetts, Robert Corbett dying seised of it in 1513, (fn. 32) leaving a son Roger. The dean and chapter presented in 1557 on the nomination of Roger's son Sir Andrew Corbett of Moreton Corbet (co. Salop). (fn. 33) It must have passed shortly after to Sir Robert Acton of Ribbesford, who was holding it in 1557–8, (fn. 34) and, though Sir Andrew Corbett made a conveyance of it in 1574, (fn. 35) it seems to have descended with Elmley Lovett in the Acton family until 1619, when Sir John Acton sold it to Robert Berkeley. (fn. 36) It was confirmed to William Berkeley of Cotheridge by Sir John's widow Anne in 1622, (fn. 37) and was afterwards purchased of William Berkeley by certain merchants. By them it was forfeited to the Crown, (fn. 38) in which it remained until 1877, when it was transferred to the Bishop of Worcester, (fn. 39) who is the present patron.
The chapel of St. Alban, Worcester, was given by Æthelbald of Mercia in 721 to the abbey of Evesham. (fn. 40) In 1092 it was found that St. Alban's with the other churches of the city was a chapel of the cathedral church. (fn. 41) In 1206, however, it is called a church, (fn. 42) and was one of those involved in the dispute of 1207 between the bishop and the Abbot of Evesham. (fn. 43) The Abbot and convent of Evesham presented until the Dissolution, (fn. 44) when the advowson passed to the Crown, in which it remained vested until the end of the 17th century. (fn. 45) From that time the Bishops of Worcester have been patrons of St. Alban's. The rectory was united in 1882 to that of St. Helen. (fn. 46)
The advowson of St. Andrew's belonged to the Prior and convent of Worcester, (fn. 47) and was granted in 1542 to the dean and chapter, (fn. 48) to whom it has since belonged. (fn. 49) In 1352 John de Crowle gave the parson of St. Andrew's half an acre of land for enlarging his rectory. (fn. 50)
In the time of Bishop Roger (1164–79) the advowson of St. Clement's was given by Hugh Poer and Richard de Grafton to the Prior and convent of Worcester. (fn. 51) It was thereupon claimed by Osbert son of Hugh de Say as a chapel of the church of All Saints, (fn. 52) but the bishop determined that it was a free chapel, and its advowson remained with the convent until the Dissolution, when it was granted to the dean and chapter, the present patrons. (fn. 53) In 1450 an indulgence was granted to all those assisting in repairing the church. (fn. 54)
The parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Bedwardine included the bishop's palace, the cathedral churchyard, the castle precincts and some part of the surroundings. It was in the county of Worcester until 1835, when it was transferred to the city. It substantially represented the area of the cathedral sanctuary. (fn. 55) The advowson belonged to the sacristans of Worcester, (fn. 56) and was granted in 1542 to the dean and chapter, (fn. 57) with whom it remained (fn. 58) until 1910, when the greater part of the parish of St. Michael was united to St. Helen's.
The parish of St. Nicholas included the important suburb without the Foregate and also the northeastern angle of the walled area. The advowson has always belonged to the Bishops of Worcester. (fn. 59) On the anniversary of St. Nicholas the scholars of Worcester School came with lighted candles and assisted at mass and vespers. A dispute arose in 1291 as to the disposition of the tapers, and it was decided by Bishop Giffard that they might either be given to the rector of St. Nicholas or kept by a citizen of Worcester until the next anniversary. (fn. 60)
The advowson of the church of St. Swithun was given by Bishop Simon (1125–50) to the prior and convent, on the petition of Eudes, the dean on whose land it had been built. (fn. 61) The advowson was granted on the Dissolution of the priory to the dean and chapter (fn. 62) who are still the patrons. The churchhouse of St. Swithun's was granted in 1549–50 to the citizens of Worcester. (fn. 63)
There was a chapel dedicated to St. Peter the Less in the castle of Worcester, the advowson of which belonged to the Earls of Warwick. (fn. 64) It is first mentioned in 1276 and appears for the last time in 1402. The chapel of St. Margaret was granted with St. Alban's in 721 to Evesham Abbey. Eylwin, Abbot of Evesham, gave it with the consent of the convent to Reyner, rector of St. Andrew's, as the chapel had been built on the land of the said church in Worcester opposite 'Wudestape,' for a rent of a pound of incense yearly to the sacrist of Evesham. (fn. 65) It was in the parish of St. Andrew, adjoining the river, and was granted in 1588–9 to Charles Baghot. (fn. 66) The chapel of St. Catherine was built on a pasture called 'Collehyl,' near Worcester, and belonged to the hospital of St. Wulstan. It passed with the hospital to Richard Morrison and was sold by him in 1544 to Richard Combe. (fn. 67)
A chapel dedicated in honour of St. Nicholas in the priory of Worcester, near the great hall, is mentioned in the 14th century. (fn. 68) The chapel of St. Laurence is mentioned in 1316. (fn. 69) Habington speaks of it as without the walls near Friar Street. (fn. 70)
The chapel of the Carnarie or Charnel-house at Worcester, dedicated in honour of St. Thomas the Martyr, was built by William of Blois, Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 71) In 1265 his successor, Walter Cantilupe, endowed a chantry of three chaplains in this chapel. (fn. 72) In 1287 there were five priests ministering here, and Bishop Giffard, on appropriating the church of St. Helen to the chantry, increased the number to six. (fn. 73) The wardens were appointed by the bishop (fn. 74) until 1386, when Bishop Wakefield gave the advowson to the prior and convent, who thereupon obtained licence to appropriate it, (fn. 75) and from that time the sacrists seem to have presented. (fn. 76) Bishop Carpenter endowed a library in the chapel. (fn. 77) At the Dissolution the wardern of the chapel received £10 as his salary. (fn. 78) The charnel-house was granted in 1574 to John and William Marsh (fn. 79) and in 1588–9 to Charles Baghot. (fn. 80) In 1649 it was sold as a late possession of the dean and chapter to Edward Basse, a mercer of London. (fn. 81)
A chantry afterwards known as Spagard's chantry was founded in the church of St. Helen about 1288 (fn. 82) by Stephen Spagard, a citizen of Worcester, and his wife Maud. The chantry was endowed with land in Neldarestrete, Wodestapestrete and outside Foregate, and its advowson was vested in the rector of St. Helen's. (fn. 83)
In 1309–10 Thomas de Bransford granted a rent in Worcester to a chaplain in the church of St. Helen. (fn. 84) In 1321 an inquiry was ordered concerning this chantry which had been neglected. (fn. 85) In 1535 there were two services in the church of St. Helen, one called St. Mary's Service and the other St. Catherine's Service. Both were administered by guardians, (fn. 86) and before the dissolution of the chantries they had been united into one service with two chaplains. The endowment, which consisted of gifts by various donors, (fn. 87) was granted with the other chantry lands in 1637 to Thomas Dalmahay. (fn. 88)
There was a chantry in the church of St. Swithun as early as 1285. (fn. 89) This was afterwards known as Bataille's chantry, the presentation to which belonged to the rector of St. Swithun. (fn. 90) It was augmented in 1359 by Nicholas atte Rooke and his wife Margery, (fn. 91) but the endowment was confiscated in 1370 by the Crown on the pretext that the original alienation by Bataille had been made without licence. (fn. 92)
A second chantry in St. Swithun's Church was founded in 1333 by William Carter of Worcester and his wife Cecily. (fn. 93) This chantry was dedicated in honour of our Lady, and was described at the Dissolution as 'great ease and help to the parishioners,' the chantry priest riding early and late, when need arose, in visitation, and saying the morrow mass for all the parishioners, who were only labourers and craftsmen. (fn. 94) The endowments of this chantry were granted in 1637 with the other chantry lands to Thomas Dalmahay. (fn. 95)
The chantry at the altar of St. Catherine in the church of St. Andrew was founded by Richard Whitley at some unknown date. Other benefactors gave endowments which were used towards that service and in repairs to the church. (fn. 96)
The service of our Lady and St. Catherine in the church of All Saints was endowed with land given by various donors without declaring special purposes. Two priests were maintained, removable at the will of the parishioners. (fn. 97) Part of the endowment was granted in 1549 to John Herford, (fn. 98) and in the following year the priest's house was granted to Thomas Reve. (fn. 99) A messuage and garden in Worcester belonging to the chantry were granted in 1585 to Sir Christopher Hatton, (fn. 100) and the whole endowment passed in 1637 to Thomas Dalmahay. (fn. 101)
In 1371–2 Thomas de Lichfield, Richard de Norton, John Leominster and other citizens of Worcester granted land in Worcester to a chaplain to celebrate service in the chapel of the Holy Trinity in the parish of St. Nicholas. (fn. 102) The presentations were made by the city bailiffs. (fn. 103) At the Dissolution the chantry was valued at about £10. (fn. 104) In 1552 its endowment was granted to Stourbridge Grammar School. (fn. 105)
The service of our Lady in the church of St. Nicholas was endowed at the Dissolution with lands valued at 100s. 10d. There was at that time no incumbent. (fn. 106)
The gild of the Holy Trinity is fully dealt with under Worcester Grammar School.
The chantry of the mass of St. Mary in the chapel of St. Mary in Worcester Cathedral is mentioned in 1291, when John de Worcester (Wyg') bequeathed money for its support. (fn. 107) The endowment was augmented by William le Orfevre of Worcester in 1332, (fn. 108) by John de Walcot and Richard de Hindlip in 1340, (fn. 109) by John de Todenham in 1353 (fn. 110) and by William Hull and others in 1378. (fn. 111) Another chantry of one chaplain in the priory church was founded by Thomas Carter of Worcester in 1369. (fn. 112)