Ancient Monuments

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Western range of monastic buildings of the Cathedral Priory

A Scheduled Monument in Cathedral, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.1885 / 52°11'18"N

Longitude: -2.2218 / 2°13'18"W

OS Eastings: 384933.110617

OS Northings: 254490.365485

OS Grid: SO849544

Mapcode National: GBR 1G4.P37

Mapcode Global: VH92T.F8S5

Entry Name: Western range of monastic buildings of the Cathedral Priory

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005504

English Heritage Legacy ID: WT 263

County: Worcestershire

Electoral Ward/Division: Cathedral

Built-Up Area: Worcester

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Worcester St Nicholas and All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Worcester


Monastic buildings and associated buried archaeological remains 80m south-west of Christ and St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 20 May 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.

This monument includes monastic buildings and associated buried archaeological remains situated on the western side of the Worcester Cathedral Precincts on the east side of the River Severn. The monument survives as the undercroft, stone walls and buried features of a dormitory, song school, infirmary and water drain. The buildings were constructed of sandstone in the 12th century with alterations and partial rebuilding during the 14th and 19th centuries. The remains of the monastic buildings are represented by shared walls with current cathedral buildings and unroofed standing walls. A lower part of the northern wall is combined with the southern wall of the cathedral cloister passage and the eastern wall is shared with the west wall of the cloister. On the north wall is a doorway from the infirmary passage and in the north eastern corner is a small doorway with steps in the wall to the floor above. Two flying buttresses supporting the chancel and infirmary passage of the cathedral are situated on the north wall. The remains of the south western corner are represented by approximately 12m of the southern wall and 10m of the western wall. The southern wall retains a window arch with the remains of trefoil tracery with two ogee headed lights below. Situated in the western wall are a small blocked window and a double window with trefoil heads. Segmental headed arches divided by stepped buttresses define the access to the undercroft which has pilasters for cross arches with small members in the angles for an unribbed vault. A buried main water drain for the cathedral buildings passes through his area towards the river and excavations have revealed the bases of vaults. Most of the dormitory fell in 1302 and was partially rebuilt in 1376.

The monastic buildings are listed at Grade II*.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Early monasteries were built to house communities of monks or nuns; sometimes houses were `mixed' and included both sexes. The main buildings provided facilities for worship, accommodation and subsistence. They included a series of timber halls and perhaps a stone church, all located within some form of enclosure. The Benedictine monks, who wore dark robes, came to be known as `black monks'. These dark robes distinguished them from Cistercian monks who became known as `white monks' on account of their light coloured robes. Over 150 Benedictine monasteries were founded in England. As members of a highly successful order many Benedictine houses became extremely wealthy and influential. Their wealth can frequently be seen in the scale and flamboyance of their buildings. Benedictine monasteries made a major contribution to many facets of medieval life and all examples exhibiting significant surviving archaeological remains are worthy of protection. Despite partial demolition and modern additions, the monastic buildings south west of Christ and St. Mary’s Cathedral survive comparatively well and contain a number of architectural features of considerable interest. Elements of earlier structures will remain as buried features and will be concealed behind later stone and brickwork and will provide important information on the social life of the monks, construction and rebuilding.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Page, W, Willis-Bund, J W (editors), The Victoria History of the County of Worcester: Volume IV, (1924)
Pevsner, N, Brooks, A, The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, (2007)
Pastscape Monument Nos:- 116218, 1415278 & 116219

Source: Historic England

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