I almost started to talk about this day out several months ago, when a misty morning found us next to the River Severn as it rippled moodily through Worcester. But I was distracted by swans and knights and then, you know, the next five months. So let’s go back to Worcester Cathedral. Walk through that previous post, past the bridges and the swans, and catch up with me here:
The Cathedral offers guided tours, which we gladly joined. The guide was horrified as I stared at this window with not a drop of comprehension. Edward Elgar is commemorated here in this massive stained glass. So the guide told me, with gleeful anticipation on his face, but the lightbulbs in my brain stayed dark. Just go read about him. If you ever go on that guided tour, apologize for me. Or just shout out “Edward Elgar!” and make Worcester proud.
Here’s someone to whom I needed no introduction. King John is taking up prime space here in Worcester Cathedral, perhaps one of the reasons it was not destroyed by by Henvry VIII during the dissolution of the monasteries.
That Henry’s older brother, Arthur, is also here may have played some part. The chantry of Prince Arthur is an almost simple affair, or it is today after the anti-catholic vandalism of many centuries. His tomb box feels understated, and is lined with text. I’ve been searching the googleverse for information about the tomb text, but it seems I’ll need to find an actual book — gasp — to sort out what it says. The guide had no idea.
I doubt very much Henry cared one way or the other for this lady of Beauchamp, but I love her swan.
The crypt contains the oldest existing construction of the original cathedral, dating from the 10th century. St. Oswald built a cathedral here in 980, which St Wulfstan rebuilt and began expanding in the late eleventh century. These two Anglo-Saxon saints are part of the mythology of Worcester, and one of the reasons King John wished to be buried here (with small avatars of each saint sitting on either side of his head).
The cloister of the Cathedral are beautiful and full of light. This area was used as a scriptorium during the monastic era of the Cathedral, with monks scribbling away at their copy tables. Worcester was famous for its library, and to this day retains several fabulously rare tomes.
Which explains these unique ‘squints’ which provide a view straight down the length of the cloister — one person could stand at a corner junction and watch every desk down two corridor lengths to make sure no one was daydreaming or adding excessive doodling to a page. My friends, you are looking at one of the original cube farms.
Again outside the Cathedral complex, a Weeping Angel memorial to the sons of Worcester who fought in South Africa. Although this poor statue-man commemorates the glorious dead, he also looks off in the direction of a very nice pub/cafe, so follow his suggestion and enjoy a cup of something restorative after your long walk around Worcester Cathedral.