Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Rainy Day in Worcester

Yesterday we had nothing on our agenda, so I wanted to get out and take advantage of our English Heritage passes to see another one of their properties in the region. After I had a meeting for work in the town of Worcester (home and namesake of the famous Worcestershire sauce) a few weeks ago, I thought we should go back there to see what the town has to offer. Unfortunately we did not find the original location of the sauce, but the town was quite picturesque, despite the rainy Saturday on which we visited....

The town of Worcester is home to a rather large cathedral, The Worcester Cathedral, which really is quite a magnificent cathedral. It sits on a bank overlooking the River Severn. This cathedral actually remains free to tour. (although donations are appreciated so we did opt to participate to help keep it free to the public). 
Built between 1084 and 1504, Worcester Cathedral represents every style of English architecture from Norman to Perpendicular Gothic. It is famous for its Norman crypyt and unique chapter house, its unusual Transitional Gothic bays, its fine woodwork and its "exquisite" central tower. For once, we actually did not climb the tower here....thought our legs would appreciate the rest this time around! 
Inside the cathedral are a number of of them we found to be most interesting was that of Henry VIII's brother, Arthur Tudor. From our extensive knowledge of English history (or watching the series The Tudors, supplemented with some actual historical reading), we remembered that Arthur Tudor was actually married to Catherine of Aragon before she was married to Henry VIII. Arthur died only a few months into their marriage while they were on their honeymoon, so the marriage was declared null and thus Catherine could marry Arthur's brother, Henry. Talk about keeping it all in the family!
The beautiful East Window of the Cathedral.
Back into the rain....

After touring the cathedral and a late lunch in town, we ventured over to Witley Court just outside the city. Witley Court was once one of the great manor houses of the Midlands, but today it is just a ruin house, as it was destroyed largely in a fire in 1937. Today, there is still a large shell of the manor house but the gardens and fountain have become the focal point for visitors to see. 

From the inside of the remains of the house, looking out onto the back lawn with the great fountain and gardens. 
We walked to the very back of the property, and saw this view of the fountain and the manor house which was beautiful. Every hour this main fountain goes off and puts on a little show for the visitors to watch. 
The lady at the front desk when we arrived kept talking about the flowers at the very back of the garden. They were in full bloom and smelled quite fragrant as well.
One of the side gardens and a smaller fountain

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