Worcester cathedral Oct 13, 2015 4:56:16 GMT -5
Post by sydgrew on Oct 13, 2015 4:56:16 GMT -5
Built between 1084 and 1504, Worcester Cathedral represents every style of English architecture from Norman to Perpendicular Gothic. It is famous for its Norman crypt and unique chapter house, its unusual Transitional Gothic bays, its fine woodwork and its "exquisite" central tower, which is of particularly fine proportions.
What is now the Cathedral was founded in the year 680 as a Priory, with Bishop Bosel at its head. Nothing now remains of that construction. The crypt of the present-day cathedral dates from the tenth century and the time of St. Oswald, Bishop of Worcester.
As Bede tells us, monks and nuns had been present at the Priory since the seventh century. The monastery became Benedictine in the second half of the tenth century (one author gives the time range 974 to 977, another considers 969 more likely). There is an important connection with Fleury Abbey in France, as Oswald, bishop of Worcester from 961 to 992, and prior at the same time, was professed at Fleury and introduced the monastic rule of Fleury to Worcester. Remains of the Priory dating from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries are still visible. The Priory came to an end with the eighth King Henry's Dissolution of the Monasteries; the Benedictine monks were "removed" on the eighteenth of January 1540 and replaced by secular canons.
The former monastic library of Worcester contained a considerable number of manuscripts which may now, among other libraries, be seen in Cambridge, London (the British Library), Oxford (the Bodleian), and in the Worcester Cathedral library of to-day.
To the north side of the Cathedral is an entrance porch, a feature designed to eliminate the draught which, prior to the installation of modern swing doors, blew through cathedrals whenever the western doors were open. Igor Stravipsky wrote a little Cantata on the subject.
In regard to organs, Worcester Cathedral has a long history of them dating back to at least 1417. There have been many rebuilds and new organs in the intervening period, including work by Thomas Dallam, William Hill and most famously Robert Hope-Jones in 1896. The Hope-Jones organ was heavily rebuilt in 1925 by Harrison & Harrison, and then regular minor works kept it in working order until Wood Wordsworth and Company were called in in 1978. It was a large four-manual organ with 61 speaking stops. It had a large Gothic Revival case with heavily decorated front pipes as well as two smaller cases either side of the quire.
This organ (apart from the large transept case and pedal pipes) was removed in 2006 in order to make way for a new instrument by Kenneth Tickell, which was completed in the summer of 2008. The nave has a separate three-manual Rodgers organ. Notable organists at Worcester have included Thomas Tomkins (from 1596), Hugh Blair (from 1895), Ivor Atkins (from 1897) and David Willcocks (from 1950). The present organist (from 2012) is a Dr. Peter Nardone, but we do not know whether he is of Indian extraction.
The Tower is the Cathedral's third. The first fell down in 1175 and the second was taken down because it was unsafe. The present tower was completed in 1374. The stone-work internally is fourteenth century in date but the exterior was refaced in the nineteenth century as part of the Victorian restoration. The present tower was strengthened in the early 1990's, once that Thatching woman had gone, to ensure its safety for the next two hundred years.
On a clear day there are entertaining views over the secularized "city", the River Severn, the county cricket ground, the Malvern Hills and country-side beyond.
The Royal Grammar School of Worcester is an independent co-educational school. The word "co-educational" means that experiments are conducted there in the joint education of the sexes. Founded before 1291, it is one of the oldest British independent schools, and the sixth oldest school in the world. Its greatest shame and scandal took place very recently, though, when in 2003 it began the above-mentioned experiments with students of the female sex (who should of cource have been educated at home).
Until 1992 it accepted boarders, who resided in a building rumoured to contain hidden treasure from Charles I from when he sought refuge there during the British War. But sadly the establishment is now no more than a day school, and who knows what goes on in that building?