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MEDIEVALFEST 2024

Worcester Cathedral will step back in time this Summer as Medieval merriment takes over the entire estate in a week of fun for all ages from the middle-ages.
From Monday 12 – Saturday 17 August families and visitors, young and young-at-heart, can enjoy a whole host of Medieval themed festivity.

Free Activities
On Monday 12 August the top lawn of the Old Bishop’s Palace will transform into a Medieval village. Open from 10am to 10pm daily until Saturday 17 August, there will be a festival village with food and bar open throughout the day, soft archery, a Medieval gift shop and much more.
At 11am, 1pm and 3pm daily, there will be fire pit building and s’mores making sessions for all to enjoy.
From 10am to 5pm each day there will also be a Dragon Quest trail around the Cathedral and Old Palace grounds as visitors hunt to find the dragons and their eggs.
At 11am on Monday 12 and Wednesday 14 August pre-school children can enjoy Medieval story time, followed by craft activities in the Cathedral’s West End (underneath the pink giraffe window). Then on Tuesday and Thursday there will be family Medieval crafts in the Nave.

Pre-Bookable / Chargeable Activities
Everyday at 11am, 12pm, 1pm and 2pm, turn up and climb to the top of the Cathedral’s Medieval Tower and look out over Worcester, where it is rumoured the future King Charles II viewed the Battle of Worcester during the Civil War in 1651.
Each evening at 6.30pm attend a Medieval talk in the Abbot’s Kitchen of the Old Palace, including Medicines, Myths, Mary, Science Fiction and Medieval Minds.
There will be opportunities to join Medieval library tours to view ancient manuscripts and artefacts, at 12pm on Wednesday and Thursday.
On Thursday 16 August there will be Medieval dancing throughout the day. Enjoy demonstrations and workshops from local dance company Gloriana in the Chapter House.
The Cathedral will be celebrating its resident Monarch on Thursday 17, with ‘King John Day’ in the Nave and Quire. Explore King John’s tomb with the man himself, learn to use a quill to write your own copy of the Magna Carta, join in Robin Hood art and craft activities and more.

The week will end on Saturday 17 August with a Medieval Banquet in the Great Hall of the Old Palace – dine in style, with dress-up encouraged!

Many of the activities on offer during MedievalFest Week are free of charge, however some are chargeable and require pre-booking to secure a place.

Plan Your Visit

£20,000 Grant from Associated Companies Supports Stonemasons’ Career Development

We're delighted to have received an award of £20,000 from the Associated Worshipful Companies of The Mercers’, Masons’, Cooks’ and Broderers’ for two restoration projects – one to the county war memorial and one to the Old Bishop’s Palace boundary wall – supporting the career progression of our newly qualified stonemasons.
Earlier this year Debbie Branford and Alfie Rollett passed their Level 2 stonemasonry apprenticeships with distinctions. They now need to continue their learning in order to progress their careers. This grant will enable them to take ownership of two specific pieces of restoration work, as part of their Level 3 training.
The County War Memorial’s steps, which have become worn and unsafe due to frost damage, will be given some much-needed TLC, ensuring all is in good order in time for this year’s Remembrance commemorations. The repairs will be made with Portland limestone to match the original stonework.
The second emergency repair is to the north precinct wall between the Old Palace and the Heart of Worcestershire College. A section of the wall, which forms part of a now lost Tudor building, has succumbed to a tree growing out of it and become dangerous. The Old Palace was the original Worcester Bishop’s Palace dating in part back to the 11th century.  It became the deanery in the 19th Century.
The masons will fully draw, record, dismantle and rebuild using as many of the original sandstone blocks as possible, replace new stonework where necessary and repoint using conservation techniques.  
Clerk of Works, Kate Andrew, said: “My team are excited and very grateful for the award of funds by the Members of the Masons' Company and Associated Companies to support the repair of the First World War memorial and assist with work on the Old Palace boundary wall.
“We offer a special and unique environment to work and the training we provide produces stonemasons of high-quality calibre and great ability, that go on to work on cathedrals and historic buildings, benefitting the built environment nationally. Our project is focused on enabling the Cathedral to continue to provide training and opportunities in stonemasonry to this high standard, at a time of significant financial pressures. 
“Each element of restoration will be part of Alfie and Debbie’s CWF Level 3 core training and they will gain evidence for their core skills needed, including liaising with professional bodies, making templates, and cutting out stone, ordering stone, fixing stone and using various conservation techniques. They will work under the supervision of the Master Mason and Senior Mason, who will be training them on site.
“There is a gap presently in provision in formal training which makes it difficult for stonemasons to progress onto Level 4 – degree level qualification. We are working to fill this gap – and to provide training and enrichment opportunities for our Level 3 masons that will enable them to progress to Level 4 and participation in the Cathedral Workshop Fellowship Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair.  This project will enhance their training and help them to develop the skills which will support them throughout their careers, expanding sector capacity and benefitting stone related crafts more widely.”
Kate Andrew was presented with the award at a lunch ceremony by The Master of the Worshipful Company of Masons at Mercers’ Hall, London.
Members of the Associated Companies will visit the Cathedral to view the completed works in September, when a special stone commemorating their support will be unveiled. 
The Worshipful Company of Masons is number 30 in the order of precedence of the Ancient Livery Companies of the City of London, as set by the Aldermen of the City in 1515. Today there are over 110 and the number continues to grow. The focus of the Livery Company is to preserve and encourage the use of natural stone in the built environment. This includes supporting the training of craftsmen as well as the preservation and appreciation of iconic historic stone buildings.
Kate Pryke, Deputy Chair, Masons Company Charitable Trust, said: “I am delighted that your application has been successful. It was a unanimous decision to award the grant to Worcester Cathedral for the two restoration projects which will form part of your stone mason apprentices’ CWF Level 3 core training, under the supervision of your Master Mason and Senior Mason.
“We are pleased that the grant will cover the cost of the first project - the restoration of the Grade II listed Worcestershire War memorial in the Cathedral North Gardens – in its entirety.
"As some of the second project - an emergency repair of the Old Palace Boundary Wall - is brickwork, we are delighted that the remaining amount of the grant will cover that part of the restoration cost attributable to stonework.”
Tap the link to find out more about stonemasonry here at Worcester Cathedral. 

Stonemasonry

Worcester Cathedral Partners with Internationally Renowned Artist

We've teamed up with internationally renowned glass artist, Allister Malcolm to design an exclusive special edition of individually hand-crafted in-memory pieces to remember and celebrate lost loved-ones. 

Cathy Sloan Fundraising Director, “We are so excited to be working with Allister whose work can be seen in galleries worldwide.  Allister is well known for his glass art and for his appearances as a mentor on the TV series Make It at Market.  Allister also shares our passion for the environment and sustainability making him the perfect partner for this project, as his studio moves towards increasingly sustainable practices.”

Designed to be a symbolic and poignant permanent reminder that the memory of our loved ones live on, brightly, forever the Perpetual Flame pieces are for sale, in support of the Cathedral.  Each individual Flame is unique and made using Allister’s signature style of hot sculpting techniques encasing cane work, glittering gold and colour.

Stourbridge based Allister explained, “I really enjoy working on projects that allow our glass to be appreciated by different audiences. It was an honour to be approached to develop something unique for the Cathedral. The idea of creating something inspired by the process of lighting a votive really appealed to me”.

The Interim Dean of Worcester, The Reverend Canon Dr Stephen Edwards, said: “Every day in the Cathedral hundreds of candles are lit as a sign of prayer, remembrance, and thanksgiving. Lighting a candle in memory of someone we have loved and lost is a meaningful way to remember and honour their life and the time we spent with them.”

A selection of the limited Perpetual Flame pieces are currently on display in the Cathedral in the Nave for visitors to enjoy.  

Order your Perpetual Flame

We've Been Awarded the Trip Advisor Traveller's Choice Award 2024

We're absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the Trip Advisor Travellers' Choice 2024 Award - placing us in the top 10% of attractions worldwide!
Each year Trip Advisor recognises travellers’ favourite attractions around the world, based on reviews and ratings collected over the last year.
Your opinions and stories helped us to win this amazing accolade - thank you SO much!

Visit Us On Trip Advisor

NEW DEAN OF WORCESTER ANNOUNCED

The King has approved the nomination of The Revd Canon Dr Stephen Edwards, Interim Dean of Worcester, to be appointed as the new Dean of Worcester. Stephen has been Interim Dean since the retirement of the Very Revd Peter Atkinson last September. He will be installed as Dean on Sunday 15 September at 3pm.

Stephen joined Worcester Cathedral as a Residentiary Canon in September 2019 and has had particular responsibility for promoting the Cathedral’s mission in the Diocese and local community, as well as the pastoral care and spiritual nurture of the Cathedral community. As Interim Dean, he has led the Cathedral through the vacancy and as Dean he will continue to play a key role in both the Cathedral and the Diocese.

Stephen said: “Ever since arriving in Worcester five years ago I have loved this amazing Cathedral and have grown in deep affection for the people and city as well as the wider diocese. It is now a privilege and joy to be appointed as Dean of Worcester and I look forward to continuing to develop the Cathedral’s ministry and position as a place of prayer, learning and welcome.”

Bishop John said: “I am delighted with this appointment. Stephen is an exceptionally gifted priest who is much loved in Worcester and beyond. He has been a brilliant Interim Dean, and we are very blessed that God has called him to be the next Dean.”

Stephen was ordained in 1996, serving first in the Church in Wales and then in the Diocese of Manchester, where he was Rector of the inner-city parish of St Agnes’, Longsight and then Team Rector of Wythenshawe. Stephen was also the Bishop of Manchester’s adviser for liturgy and worship as well as the co-ordinator of the Manchester Estate Ministry Network. As a Residentiary Canon of Worcester Cathedral, Stephen has also been involved in the Cathedral and diocesan Eco groups and the diocesan Racial Justice Forum. He is the independent chair of the Worcester Cares forum for homelessness and vulnerable people. His interests include architecture, ales and a love of dogs!

Stephen’s biography
Stephen was educated at Lancaster University and trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge. He was ordained in 1996 served his curacy in the parish of Colwyn Bay, in the Diocese of St Asaph, Wales. From 1999, he served as Priest-in-Charge of Bryn-Y-Maen.

In 2002, Stephen was appointed Priest-in-Charge at St Agnes Birch-in-Rusholme, with St John with St Cyprian Longsight, in the Diocese of Manchester. From 2012, he served as Team Rector of Wythenshawe and, in 2013, he was additionally appointed Area Dean, Withington.

In 2019, Stephen was appointed Residentiary Canon at Worcester Cathedral, named as Vice-Dean in 2021, and he took up his current role as Interim Dean in 2023.

Read the Downing Street Announcement

Distinctions all Round for Stonemasons

There’s a distinct air of celebration around the works yard after two of our apprentice stonemasons scooped the highest accolade in their recent assessments.

Debbie Branford and Alfie Rollett both received distinctions in their Standard 2 Stonemasonry qualifications, meaning they now progress from apprentices to qualified stonemasons.   

Master Mason at Worcester Cathedral, Darren Steele, said: “This is great news, not only for Debbie and Alfie, but for the Cathedral and heritage sector as a whole. We are delighted to be one of only nine Cathedrals in the country that has its own dedicated team of stonemasons. We offer a sought-after training programme to bring the next generation of masons through and ensure the long-term conservation of our historic architecture.

“I am immensely proud that both Debbie and Alfie have received distinctions, the highest accolades. 
“This is the first time, nationwide, that masonry colleges have delivered this new qualification, where previously levels 1, 2 and 3 NVQs were mainstay. So, it has been a difficult learning curve for all parties, including the Cathedral work-based teaching team too. 
“Congratulations to both of our newly qualified stonemasons on achieving their apprenticeships to the highest of standards!”

Debbie, who studied at Bath College whilst working and training at the Cathedral, said: “It’s nice to be qualified with a distinction, which just shows the quality of training we’ve received both at college and at the Cathedral. I worked in finance previously, but always had a passion for history and crafts, so I’m happy that I made the right decision to pursue the apprenticeship.”

Meanwhile Alfie studied at York College. He added: “It’s great to finally be a qualified stonemason. The Cathedral and college were both amazing, especially going to York, I feel really lucky to have been sent up there to study. It’s probably an unusual career choice for a 21-year-old, but I was inspired by a friend’s dad, who was a thatcher, to go down the craft / trade route and it’s worked out perfectly for me.”

Worcester Cathedral’s stonemasonry team is committed to ensuring that the beautiful architecture is preserved and that the health of the building is secured for worshippers and visitors to enjoy now and in the future. With over 900 years of historical stonework to look after, the team is kept incredibly busy.

Traditionally-based apprenticeships include in-house training, working and learning with the team on-site and study time to gain stonemasonry qualifications. The Worcester Cathedral workshop has become a sought-after location for bursary placements and apprenticeship training. The Cathedral, in association with the Cathedral’s Workshop Fellowship also puts forward post-apprentice stonemasons for a Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair.

Darren added: “It is our hope that this ancient craft and the skills to conserve and preserve the Cathedral are passed on from one generation to the next.”

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Fond Farewell to Founding Cathedral Ferryman After 41 Years

Mark Glossop, one of the founders (and rower!) of the Cathedral ferry since 1983, is retiring after 41 years at the helm!
The Cathedral Ferry has been rowing people across the River Severn from the Water Gate for over 600 years. It has a rich history dating back to the 12th century when it provided a direct and convenient crossing for monks and milkmaids to cross the river to work in the meadows and the Priory of Hardwick in St John's. The ferry crossed the river every day until the late 1950s.
The service was restarted in 1983, when the current boat 'Doris' was launched.  Since its inception, Mark has volunteered to run and row the boat, and is now hanging up his oars and handing over to a new generation, and will be greatly missed by all who know him.
In 1983, Mark Glossop was contacted by Nicola Milne, wife of the then Head Master of King’s School, over concerns about the distance students were walking in order to access playing fields on the other side of the river after Saturday school.
As a parent, Mrs Milne ear-marked Mark as someone who would lend a hand to address the problem. 
Fundraising began and they decided a vessel to ferry the boys across the river and back was needed on Saturdays, and with the agreement of the then British Waterways, the idea came to fruition.
Mark sourced the boat when on holiday in Dorset that year. He found a strong, sturdy, wide vessel, built circa 1960, and it's the same ferry that still runs today. Originally called Moonraker (probably after the James Bond film), it was decided to rename the boat Doris (after Doris Kinnersley - a local woman who did much for local good causes). 
It wasn't plain sailing, and Mark set to uncovering the steps on the opposite side of the river, which had long since disappeared into the overgrowth. He dug them out by hand and over the years has also been instrumental in securing new railings, as well as maintaining 'Doris' to continue the task at hand. 
The Cathedral Ferry offers a short but delightful journey across the river. Passengers can admire the best view of Worcester Cathedral, which many visitors might otherwise miss.
In 1983 the price of a crossing was 10p one way. Nowadays passengers can cross for just 50p and enjoy not only the ease and amazing views, but also follow in the footsteps of their ancestors who crossed the same waters centuries ago.
Mark said: "It has been a pleasure rowing people across the river for the past four decades, but I'm 88 now, and the time has come to handover to the next generation. I have met some interesting people and seen some sights over the years, including transporting a cohort of Women's Institute across the river dressed entirely in mid-19th century costumes, as part of their procession around the Diocese. We've also had wedding parties crossing over the years, ale festival goers and visitors of all nationalities to the Cathedral and city. I will miss it, but it will still be here for all to enjoy." 
So, the Cathedral Ferry continues to connect Worcester’s past and present, offering a serene escape across the River Severn. Next time you’re in Worcester, consider taking a ride and experiencing this piece of living history!
The Cathedral Ferry currently operates on Saturdays but at Bank Holiday weekends on the Sunday and Monday as well, from April to September, 1.15pm - 5.15pm. You can hop on 'Doris' the ferry down by the Water Gate and cross the river for 50p per person, taking in the spectacular views of the Cathedral from the river*.
*Weather permitting.   
The Cathedral Ferry has supported a number of charities over the years, donating over £20,000 in proceeds to the Cathedral, St Richard's and Acorns Hospices, Maggs Day Centre and the Sea Scouts to name a few.
Happy retirement Mark - thank you for all your hard work over the years! 

The ferry crew are always on the lookout for volunteers (over 18s) willing to spend a few afternoons on the river. If you are interested, please contact Mark on 01905 33265 or email mbglossop@gmail.com

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Bishop John to retire

Bishop John has announced that he will retire in October 2024.

Bishop John was enthroned as the 113th Bishop of Worcester on 1 March 2008, coming here from the Diocese of Ely where he was Bishop of Huntingdon. As Bishop of Worcester, he has been the Chief Pastor for parishes across Worcestershire and Dudley as well as serving in the House of Lords since 2012 and as Lord High Almoner to HM The Queen and then HM The King from 2013.

Bishop John will withdraw from ministry in mid-September with a farewell service in the Cathedral at 4pm on Sunday 29 September, to which all are welcome. His retirement will then formally come into effect on 9 October.

He said: “Being Bishop of Worcester has been an enormous privilege. By the time I leave I shall have been here nearly 17 years, the longest I have lived anywhere in my life. I have lived through the best of times and the worst of times in my personal life during those years and am more grateful than I can say for all the love and support I have received. I am not anxious to retire – I am deeply attached to Worcestershire and Dudley and love being Bishop here! However, I shall be 70 in February and feel, under God, that now is the right time to leave.”

Following Bishop John’s announcement, the process will begin to find the next Bishop of Worcester. This will be led by a small group of people from across the Diocese as well as from the national church and will involve wide consultation with those in our parishes. During the vacancy, the Bishop of Dudley, Martin Gorick will become Acting Diocesan Bishop. Further information on the process for selecting the next Bishop of Worcester will be available shortly.

Bishop John will be retiring to Wiltshire with his wife H-J Colston-Inge.

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Pilgrimage for Peace and Nature

We're delighted to support a very special pilgrimage by our own Lay Canon and Eco-Grouper Staffan Engstrom and his wife Katie. 

The pair will walk across four beautiful parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons), Malvern Hills, Pembrokeshire NP and Wye Valley, to the ancient pilgrimage site of St Davids, Pembrokeshire.
The total ascent is more than the height of Mount Everest!

Staffan explains:
"It is a journey calling for peace. Humans must learn to live and act for the benefit of all and the nature that sustains us. This means seeking peace, social justice and care for the environment. We hope to share this message as we walk.

"We had been planning to visit the Holy Land, provisionally in 2023, which was thoroughly quashed by the trouble and tragic fighting that broke out on 7 October in Israel. We hadn't planned to walk the whole way (!) but to include in our trip the 4-day hike from Nazareth to Capernaum, literally following in the steps of Jesus.
"Exactly 900 years previously, in 1123 AD, it became impossible to go there safely because of the crusades. As a result, Pope Callixtus II decreed that you could go to St Davids, at the very South-Western end of Wales, instead, and that two pilgrimages to St Davids would equal one to Jerusalem. 

"The call of Callixtus remains! Here we are, 900 years on, with the Holy Land too dangerous to travel to; wars and conflicts in Ukraine, Sudan, Yemen, the Sahel; and the beautiful world that sustains us under threat."

The pilgrimage aims to raise funds for green spaces at Worcester Cathedral and Christian Charity, Tearfund

Find out more and donate

Peregrine Chicks Hatch at Worcester Cathedral

We're delighted that Peter and Peggy have returned to the nest site at the Cathedral this year and four chicks have hatched!

The chicks are doing well and you can keep up to date with all the action from the nest on our You Tube livestream.

There's lots of exciting milestones to come over the coming weeks, ringing, fledging, and of course we'll be asking you to name the chicks! 

And the exciting news this year is that one of 2022 cohort was recently spotted alive and well and living in Bolton! It's great to now that Peter and Peggy have introduced a new generation to peregrine falcons across the UK!

Watch the Livestream

Three Choirs Festival - Tickets on sale NOW!

Tickets are now available for Three Choirs, Worcester 2024! Explore new music, discover past masters and unearth your favourites at this year's Three Choirs Festival!

The Festival announced a thrilling new programme for its 2024 edition, with a celebration of nature and its enduring influence on composers and musicians at its heart. Taking place in and around Worcester from 27 July to 3 August, the festival features a superb selection of works old and new by composers including Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, Bob Chilcott and Judith Weir.

Highlights of this year’s festival include Elgar’s epic The Kingdom, Holst’s exotic masterpiece The Cloud Messenger, and Bob Chilcott’s thought-provoking The Angry Planet, with performances from the Three Choirs Festival Chorus, the Festival Youth Choir, Festival Voices, Three Cathedral Choirs, the world-renowned BBC Singers, and orchestra-in-residence the Philharmonia. There will also be smaller, more intimate concerts, including laid back late-nights, daytime song and instrumental recitals, and a lively programme of family events, as the festival welcomes an exciting range of soloists and performers including Anna Lapwood, Marta Fontanals-Simmons, Robert Plane, Francesca Chiejina, Jocelyn Freeman and Toby Spence.

The festival marks Holst’s 150th anniversary, the 100th anniversary of Stanford’s death, and the 70th birthdays of Judith Weir and the late Steve Martland, as well as featuring a range of new music, such as the UK premiere of Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for the Endangered and festival commissions from Nathan James Dearden, Paul Mealor and Luke Lewis.

Chief Executive Alexis Paterson said: "We can’t wait to welcome everyone to the festival this summer. There really is so much to discover, whether you’re a seasoned concert-goer looking for world-class performances, a family wanting to enjoy music together in a fun-filled family event, or eager for something a little different in our late-night series." 

Artistic Director Samuel Hudson said: "I am very much looking forward to the 2024 Three Choirs Festival in Worcester, and to a programme filled with breadth and variety, while rooted firmly in the rich tradition which the festival rightly holds so dear. I hope the festival programme will attract many people from far and wide to Worcester this summer!"

Photo credit: Michael Whitefoot

Book Tickets

Get Involved in the Three Choirs Festival this Summer

The Three Choirs Festival is back in Worcester this summer and there are lots of opportunities to get involved, from performing on one of our stages to event management, behind the scenes administration, assisting with Front of House at one of our flagship concerts, and much more.

Volunteer
With eight days packed full of world-class music and visitors from all over the country, our team of dedicated volunteers plays a crucial role in the running of Three Choirs each year. Whether you want to support a festival you love, are looking to start a career in arts administration or event management, or are simply passionate about music, there will be roles to suit everyone and we would love to hear from you.

As well as getting to be part of a community of friendly volunteers and staff, there is also the added bonus of free standby tickets for concerts when you’re not volunteering. Read more about the different volunteering opportunities at 3choirs.org/volunteer

Take to the stage
Performers can take part in the festival by signing up for a slot on the Community Bandstand. Located in the heart of the festival village, the bandstand will play host to local musicians and performance artists throughout the week, from solo acts to choirs and ensembles. Email bandstand@3choirs.org to find out more.

Singers and string players are warmly invited to take part in Nature Sings, the festival’s participation project for 2024 exploring the calendar year through music, which culminates in a festival showcase concert featuring a special all-abilities arrangement of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and a wide range of songs. Individuals, ensembles and choirs are all welcome! Contact hannah.roper@3choirs.org for more information.

If you’d like to take to the stage in one of the festival’s flagship evening concerts, applications are open until 10 May for the Three Choirs Festival Voices. This is a wonderful opportunity to take part in the festival and perform with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and no audition is required. Visit 3choirs.org/join-in/festival-voices for full details and rehearsal dates.

Singers aged 14-25 can also take part in the Festival Youth Choir, who will be performing in the evening concert on Friday 2 August. More information is available at 3choirs.org/youth-choir.

The Three Choirs Festival will be taking place in Worcester from 27 July to 3 August. Tickets go on sale from 29 April at 3choirs.org or by calling 01452 769828.

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The Royal Maundy Service 2024

The annual Royal Maundy Service came to Worcester on Thursday 28 March when Her Majesty The Queen distributed the Royal Maundy gifts on behalf of His Majesty The King at Worcester Cathedral. Ceremonial coins were presented to 75 men and 75 women from around the country, including 39 people from our own diocese covering Worcestershire and Dudley. The gift is presented in recognition of their exemplary Christian service to church and community over many years.

The tradition of presenting alms on Maundy Thursday goes back to at least the 4th Century and in this country, the first record of The Monarch doing it is in 1213, by King Joh, who is buried here in Worcester Cathedral. In recent times it has been the tradition for the service to travel to different cathedrals and it last took place in Worcester in 1980.  The service last year was attended by The King and Queen and was held at York Minster. The number of men and women receiving the Maundy Money is equivalent to the Monarch’s age. For the purpose of the service, our Cathedral became a ‘Chapel Royal’ with the Chapel Royal Choir singing alongside the Cathedral Choir.

The word ‘Maundy’ comes from the Latin word meaning ‘Commandment’. It was on this Thursday, the day before he died, that Jesus gave his disciples what he described as a new commandment: ‘that you should love one another as I have loved you.’

Find out more

Worcester Cathedral's Annual Pancake Race 2024

Wolfson Foundation Grant Boost for Landscaping Project

We're so grateful to The Wolfson Foundation for awarding us a £200,000 grant towards the restoration and interpretation of College Yard.
The project will see improvements to the main north entrance to the Cathedral, transforming it into a more welcoming green square where the Cathedral and city come togeth­er. Work has begun in earnest this week with tree management plans in action and archaeological work is set to start in the coming weeks.  
College Yard is blessed with significant monuments and trees, but has been plagued with car parking misuse, varying surface quality and poor signage, making it in need of a facelift.
This latest grant will assist us in achieving our vision of providing an attractive greenspace, better entrance points and gate­ways, improved signage and wayfinding, and providing a safe and welcoming place for visitors. The plan is to further improve accessibility, encourage active travel and reduce on-site parking, improve biodiversity, surface water manage­ment, lighting, interpretation and opportunities for learning.
Part of a bigger vision to improve the wider Cathedral precincts, work will continue throughout 2024 and beyond, laying the foundations for this exciting project.

Find Out More

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Visit

SATURDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2024 | 2.15pm

The most senior bishop of the Church of England, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will be touring across Worcestershire on Saturday 3 February and visiting the Cathedral along the way!
He will be attending services in Dudley, Pershore and Worcester to pray for the Diocese as well as for peace and justice throughout the world in 2024 and beyond.
The Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, said: "I'm delighted that Archbishop Justin has agreed to spend a day with us in February.
"As Christians, prayer should be the bedrock of all we do, and this day will provide an opportunity for us to support each other as we pray together.
"I hope that it will be an extremely affecting and inspirational day. Please do join us."
The Archbishop will visit the Cathedral at 2.15pm. He will lead a service of prayer and worship followed by the opportunity to visit various prayer stations around the Cathedral.
All are welcome to join us and there is no need to book.

Photo credit: Lambeth Palace Picture Partnership

Services

Appointing a new Dean

The process of appointing a new Dean of Worcester continues to move forward with confirmation of the names of those who will sit on the panel. 

The panel for appointing each Dean is always chaired by a lay member of a church in the Diocese who has wide and senior experience in public life. Lord (Anthony) Hughes of Ombersley, a retired Supreme Court judge, will chair the panel for Worcester. The other members are Bishop John, the Dean of another cathedral, a lay member of Bishop’s Council, a member of the Cathedral’s College of Canons and a representative of the Cathedral Chapter. The Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary, representing the Crown, and the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments (or a deputy) are non-voting members.

The panel will meet in late January to agree a role specification, ahead of which time consultations will have been held with representatives of the wider Cathedral community and the Diocese. The Cathedral Chapter and the Bishop also each produce a document outlining the challenges facing the cathedral and the qualities they would like to see in the next Dean.

The post of Dean of Worcester will then be advertised and the panel meet to shortlist candidates in mid-March.  Interviews will be held in early May and an appointment announced as soon as possible after that.

Bishop John said:

“Please continue to pray for the process of appointing a new Dean of Worcester and for all the members of the panel as we meet. This is a crucial appointment in the Diocese and it is very important to know that people in all of our churches are praying.”

Members of the panel:

  • Lord Anthony Hughes - Chair
  • The Rt Revd Dr John Inge - Bishop of Worcester
  • The Very Revd David Monteith  - Cathedral Representative (Dean of Canterbury Cathedral)
  • Revd Canon David Nichol - College of Canons Representative
  • Ms Harriet Chimani - Bishop’s Council Representative
  • Canon Dr David Bryer - Chapter Representative

Non Voting

  • Mrs Helen Dimmock, MBE - Crown Ecclesiastical Secretary
  • Mr David Wicksteed - Appointments and Vocations Adviser

Find out more about Worcester Cathedral

Three Choirs Festival 2024: What to Expect When the Festival Returns to Worcester

It’s always nice to have something to look forward to as we head into winter, and those living in or visiting Worcester next summer need look no further than the return of the Three Choirs Festival to Worcester Cathedral. The festival moves between Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester, bringing renowned soloists and national orchestras to the three counties and showcasing the best of choral music.
The festival has already announced the programme for the evening concerts, which will take place in Worcester Cathedral between 27 July and 3 August. With so much on offer throughout the week, highlights include Elgar’s The Kingdom, music from Holst and Stanford, and premieres of two new festival commissions from Nathan James Dearden and Paul Mealor. Taking the natural world as the source of inspiration, the programme also features Bob Chilcott’s The Angry Planet, Sarah Kirkland Snyder’s Mass for the Endangered and Respighi’s The Birds. Performers coming to Worcester include the BBC Singers, Anna Lapwood, and the festival’s orchestra in residence, the Philharmonia. 
The full programme will be revealed in March, and will include daytime recitals, family events and talks, as well as a series of late-night concerts to round off the day. There will also be a lively Festival Village outside the cathedral, which will play host to local performers and food and drink stalls.

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Tower Pinnacle Project

In the early hours of 27 November 2021, Storm Arwen tore a pinnacle from the Northeast corner of the Cathedral Tower. 

The stone fell through the roof of the North Quire Aisle, damaging the 14th Century vaulted ceiling beneath.  

The vaulting and the roof were repaired in 2022, and the new pinnacle, crafted by our talented stonemasons, was placed in November 2023. 

Watch a Timelapse Journey of the New Pinnacle

Community Loyalty Card

In October we launched our brand new Community Loyalty Card. The card is free of charge and those wishing to join can simply turn up, fill in their details and pick up their card from the welcome desk.
The aim of the card is to make visitors feel part of the connected Cathedral community, to ensure that regular visitors are not asked to donate each time they visit and to receive occasional and seasonal discounts and benefits going forward.

Daniel Parnell, Director of Learning and Welcome, said: “We want Worcester Cathedral to be a welcoming place for all of our visitors, whether they attend regularly, or just once, we wanted to do something to make everyone feel part of the Cathedral community, and also to offer discounts and benefits at certain times of the year.
“Our friendly team of hardworking Visitor Welcome Assistants are stationed at the main entrance to ensure that everyone who comes through the door receives a warm welcome. They also ask those who feel able to make a donation towards the running costs and upkeep of this magnificent building. These new cards will help them to easily identify first time visitors, who perhaps need more help and guidance to make the most of their visit and allow our regular visitors and worshippers to be easily identified too.
“We hope to see lots of people picking up their cards and really becoming part of our wonderful community.” 
Everyone is eligible for a card, so if you love the Cathedral, do pick one up!

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More Than 6,000 Attend Big Green Eco Family Fair

Our Eco Team was delighted when more than 6,000 eco-minded local folk attended the second annual Big Green Eco Family Fair on Saturday 7 October.

Part of the Eco Group’s ‘Living Gently on the Earth’ series – Free events, funded by the National Lottery, that aim to help us learn how to live more gently on the earth - The Big Green Eco Fair launched in October 2022, to a positive response, and has grown in popularity.

This year’s event was officially and beautifully opened by Worcester Cathedral’s Youth Choir in the Chapter House, with many different green groups joining forces to demonstrate the importance of taking care of our planet and of valuing the precious nature that sustains us all. 

There were gardening groups with apple pressing, potted plants and cuttings, wildflower bouquets, wood whittling, fruit and veg, children’s activities with campfire storytelling and craft workshops. There were also edible and medicinal plant foraging tours in the Cathedral grounds, with a repair café, waste reduction advice and energy saving experts on hand. These were all joined by numerous environmental campaigning and special interest nature groups such as Greenpeace and RSPB to name just a couple. 

The main crowd-pulling star of the show however was the ‘Worth the Weight’ vintage clothes sale in College Hall. Based in Sheffield, ‘Worth the Weight’ was founded in 2018 as a way of fighting fast fashion. The team travels the length and breadth of the country selling tonnes of quality vintage stock every weekend.

Lay Canon and Eco Group Member, Staffan Engstrom, said: “We were absolutely overwhelmed by the masses of people that turned out for our second Eco Fair! We were stunned and delighted to welcome 6,000 or more people, with 5,500 recorded through the Cathedral’s main entrance and many more directly through College Hall.

“A huge well done to the team who planned and managed such a lovely day and a big thank you to everyone who joined us to make it the incredible success it was!”

Worcester Cathedral Eco Group

Interim Dean of Worcester Appointed by the Bishop

Following the retirement of the Dean Emeritus of Worcester, the Very Revd Peter Atkinson last month, the Vice-Dean, the Revd Canon Dr Stephen Edwards has been appointed as Interim Dean by the Bishop of Worcester, the Right Revd Dr John Inge.

Canon Edwards was installed as a Residentiary Canon at Worcester Cathedral in September 2019.

Canon Edwards said: “I am extremely honoured to have been appointed Interim Dean. Just over four years ago the Cathedral Community welcomed me as I was installed as a Residentiary Canon and I often reflect on how these past years have seen a great deal of change. One of those changes which I certainly didn’t foresee was my appointment as Interim Dean by the Bishop of Worcester. I started in this new position at the end of August and feel honoured to be taking this role for the months ahead. The retirement of a number of deans across the Church of England means that I am one of a significant number of Interim Deans – some are internal appointments like mine, others are external. The past four years have given me a good foundation for all that lies ahead but most of all I want to record my personal gratitude to Peter and to the Cathedral Community for their support and indeed continuing welcome.

“I am excited to serve the Cathedral, City and County over the next 12 or so months. Worcester Cathedral is one of England’s finest churches and is at the heart of a vibrant city and region. It is a privilege to be part of community of prayer, learning, and welcome and I look forward to the coming months working with colleagues, volunteers, congregations, and the wider community in ensuring the Cathedral’s ministry continues to be a beacon of hope and place of welcome to all.“

Stephen was ordained in 1996, serving first in the Church in Wales. He was a priest in the Diocese of Manchester from 2002 until 2019, initially Rector of the inner-city parish of St Agnes’ Longsight before moving in 2012 to be Team Rector of Wythenshawe. He was also Area Dean of Withington and the Bishop of Manchester’s advisor for liturgy and worship as well as the co-ordinator of the Manchester Estate Ministry Network. His interests include architecture, ales and a love of dogs! 

It is Church of England procedure to appoint an Interim Dean to serve in the role until a new permanent Dean is installed. The appointment of a new Dean of Worcester is made by The Crown.

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The Dean of Worcester Retires After 16 Years

The Dean of Worcester, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, officially retired on Friday 25 August, after more than 16 years in the post, and 43 years as a priest in the Church of England. His resignation was accepted by Queen Elizabeth II very shortly before her death.

Marking his retirement, Peter said: “To have been Dean of Worcester has been the great privilege of my life. My family and I have lived in the centre of an historic city, and at the heart of a beautiful county. I have had a small share in the custodianship of one of England’s great cathedrals and been surrounded by a wonderful team of people. I thank God for all that I have learnt during my time here, and I will continue to pray for the Cathedral under the leadership of a new Dean.”

The Vice-Dean of Worcester, Canon Stephen Edwards, has been appointed Interim Dean by the Bishop of Worcester, and will serve in the role until a new Dean is appointed and installed.

A special Evensong will be held at the Cathedral at 4pm on Sunday 10 September, to mark the Dean’s retirement. All are warmly welcome to attend. The Cathedral’s Guild of Bellringers will also ring a full peal from 12-4pm to celebrate Peter’s time in post and all that he achieved during this time.

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We're Visit Worcestershire Tourism Awards Finalists!

We're absolutely delighted to announce that Worcester
Cathedral is a finalist in the Large Visitor Attraction of the
Year category of the Visit Worcestershire Tourism Awards 2023/24!
The winners will be announced at a special ceremony in March 2024. 
Wish us luck! 

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We're Dog Friendly!

We're paw-sitively delighted to announce that from Monday 17 July we'll be welcoming visitors’ four-legged companions through our doors (with a well-behaved owner of course)!

We love animals. Our annual pet blessing service has now featured on TV twice and our Christmas Eve crib service featuring live animals attracts thousands each year.

Therefore, we will be welcoming dogs both in our beautiful grounds and inside the building this summer.

We'd like you to help us consider whether this becomes permanent by following a few simple guidelines.

Please click here to read our brand new Dog Policy! 

The Vice-Dean, Canon Stephen Edwards, said:We’ve listened to our visitors’ feedback and have decided to trial a period throughout the summer where dogs are welcome inside the Cathedral for visiting.

“We cannot wait to welcome our four-legged friends into the Cathedral. Dogs are so important to so many of our visitors and bring much love and joy to their families. So, we felt it was only right that we welcome them into the Cathedral, where we hope our visitors will be able to enjoy the beauty of the building with their canine companions.”

By welcoming visitors’ four-legged friends, we hope to take the doggy biscuit when it comes to places to visit this summer.

We hope you like our new paw-licy and we're not barking up the wrong tree! We'll be listening to visitors’ feedback throughout the summer to decide whether this becomes a permanent arrangement.

Dogs are welcome to explore the Cathedral, and its grounds, during visiting hours (Monday – Saturday, 10am-5pm and Sunday, 1-3 pm). 

Dogs

£20,000 Music Trust Grant is Music to Our Ears!

We are incredibly grateful to have been awarded a grant for £20,000 by the Cathedral Music Trust to support the cost of singing tuition for our choristers for a year.  

Samuel Hudson, Our Director of Music, said: "We are extremely grateful to the CMT for this generous grant, which goes right to the heart of supporting music at Worcester Cathedral. The grant will enable us to continue to provide the highest quality singing tuition to all members of our choirs and maintain a safe and well-resourced environment in which all our singers can give their best. We offer our heartfelt thanks to the CMT for their support of cathedral music here in Worcester, and indeed throughout the country."

The Dean, Peter Atkinson, added: "The best case for cathedral music is for it to be heard as widely as possible.

"The Coronation had the wonderful effect of bringing English choral music to the attention of the world, and every cathedral, on a somewhat smaller scale, is doing the same in our cities and counties. We are very grateful to the Cathedral Music Trust for its support." 

The grant is part of a huge funding boost by the CMT for 26 Cathedral Choirs, totalling nearly £450,000 which has been allocated to enable choirs to expand their work with musicians and young people. 

Thank you so much Cathedral Music Trust!! 

 

Learn More About the Cathedral Music Trust

All Four Peregrine Chicks have Fledged!

All four peregrine chicks are doing well and gaining confidence with their wings.
There have been a few rescues, but this is quite normal and all chicks are healthy and beginning to learn to hunt, with their parents help.
A big thank you to everyone who sent in naming suggestions. We've had so many fabulous names sent in, it's been really tough to pick!
We're really pleased to announce the following names for our family:
  • Mum: Peggy
  • Dad: Peter (to mark the Dean's retirement)
  • Chick: Penguin (we just loved the story of the person who misheard talk of 'penguin' falcons)
  • Chick: Penelope
  • Chick: Percie
  • Chick: Mr Lazy (the male who took forever to fledge)!
  • Since Mr Lazy fledged on Saturday the nest is now empty, so the livestream has ended.
Thank you so much to everyone who tuned in to watch their progress, our livestream received nearly 400,000 views from across the globe! We're delighted to have once again seen four healthy chicks hatch and fledge from the nest. The family should remain around the Cathedral until August / September, before the chicks fly off to find their own territories. And we look forward to hopefully welcoming Peter and Peggy back next year!

Worcester Peregrines

A Milestone for Red Hill

A brand-new replica milestone crafted by our stonemasonry apprentice, Debbie Branford, has been installed at Red Hill; commemorating the Worcester Turnpike Trust, which charged tolls to maintain and improve 160 miles of radial roads between 1725 and 1875.

The new milestone was unveiled at a special ceremony on Saturday 20 May.

The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the historical significance of such waymarkers, especially with young people and those who are responsible for their survival.

The unveiling was attended by the new Mayor, Councillor Louis Stephen, who congratulated Debbie; noting the importance of the skills that she was learning, commenting that heritage is not permanent and our historic buildings such as the Cathedral, Guildhall and milestones require on-going restoration and repair; Debbie would be part of the future in keeping our heritage alive!

Milestones are classed as Listed Buildings. The new milestone also marks the WEG’s Wild about Worcester Way and the Worcester Civic Society’s Heritage Trail around the city. The unveiling ceremony was attended by representatives of a wide range of organisations, including The Milestone Society, the WEG and the Civic Society, as well as former and current councillors, Worcestershire Highways and their contractors Ringway, who installed the milestone. The event presented a valuable opportunity for these organisations to share local knowledge and raise awareness of the historic significance of these waymarkers.

Stonemasonry

A Very Irreverend Evening with the Dean

6:30pm Tuesday 13 June, Worcester Cathedral

Join the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, Dean of Worcester, for an evening of anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories from the last 16 years at Worcester Cathedral. 

An opportunity to hear the Dean’s tales before his final farewell on 10th September; join us for a wonderful evening of entertainment at this unique fundraiser in the nave of Worcester Cathedral,  to celebrate Peter Atkinson’s service to the Cathedral and community of Worcester over the last 16 years.

Refreshments will be available in the Cloister during the interval, and we also invite you to join the Dean for a drinks reception in the Chapter House following his talk (limited tickets available).

Funds raised from the night will be used to support the Cathedral with ongoing preservation, conservation and running costs.

The Dean’s newly published book of sermons, A Way of Putting It, will also be available for purchase on the night at a special price of £10 (RRP £14.99).  The book includes 50 of the Dean’s sermons, preached over the past 30 years, a foreword by the Bishop of Worcester, an afterword by the Archbishop of York, and an essay on the art of preaching by Michael Brierley and Georgina Byrne.

Book Tickets

Join us to Celebrate the Coronation

A Service of Thanksgiving in Celebration of the Coronation of King Charles III, Sunday 7 May, 4pm

Join us for Evensong with a county celebration of the Coronation of HM King Charles III and HM The Queen Consort. All are warmly welcome to join us for Evensong.

Ring for the King, Saturday 6 May, 12-4pm

Worcester Cathedral Guild of Bellringers will ring a full-peal from 12-4pm as part of the national ‘Ring for the King’ initiative.

Coronation Art Installation, 5 May – 22 May

From 5 to 22 May, a Coronation themed art installation will be on display in the West Cloister.

Coronation Floral Arrangements, 3 - 9 May

The Cathedral’s Flower Guild will display beautiful Coronation-themed floral arrangements around the Cathedral from 3 May, and throughout the Coronation weekend.  

The Big Help Out, Monday 8 May

Come along and meet our volunteers, from 11am – 2pm, to learn more about volunteering at Worcester Cathedral. Find out how you could help to enhance our visitors’ experience and play your part in preserving over 1,000 years of history and heritage.  

Royal Tours, Tuesday 9 May at 12pm & Thursday 11 May at 2pm

Come and explore our royal connections through history.

Royal Library Tours, Monday 8 May & Tuesday 9 May

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We're A Silver Eco Church!

We're delighted to have achieved the Silver Eco Church Award, by A Rocha UK – the Christian environmental charity committed to equipping churches and their congregations to care for the environment.

After achieving Bronze last year, the Eco Group has been busy working towards Silver, implementing a number of initiatives to improve our eco rating and involve the whole community.

The most recent of which, a rewilding project to create a wildlife habitat, has been picked as one of Co-op UK’s Local Community Fund causes for the second year running.

Last year the Eco Group was awarded National Lottery Funding for its ‘Living Gently on the Earth’ project; a series of community events, talks and workshops on caring for our planet.

Around 10, well-attended sessions have been hosted over the past year, including a vegetarian cooking demo, ethical investments, reducing and acting on waste and plastic, growing your own food, active travel, energy use and measuring and acting on your carbon footprint.

We also held a Big Green Eco Fair in the medieval cloister last October and look forward to making it an annual event for the whole community to come together and celebrate eco-friendly living.

Amongst other work, an Energy Assessment and Carbon Emissions Report has also been completed, renewable energy sources explored, rainwater collection facilities and bird-feeders installed around the site, annual wildlife and wildflower surveys implemented and composting facilities utilised. We have also been engaging with local MPs on a number of issues.

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