Prince Arthur’s Funeral Pall

detail of clothiers pall

This great treasure from Worcester in the Late Middle Ages is on display in The Commandery on loan from the Clothiers Company. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries the Company used the pall to cover the coffin of deceased members during the funeral service. It is sometimes referred to as Prince Arthur’s pall as it has been claimed that it was used for a similar function at the funeral of Prince Arthur at Worcester Cathedral in 1502. Prince Arthur was the older brother of King Henry VIII and died, aged 15, in Ludlow only a few months after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. This first marriage for the Queen was a key part of Henry’s argument for his break from the Roman Catholic Church.

There is no firm evidence that the pall was used at Prince Arthur’s funeral, but the embroidery has been dated from the correct period.

The vestments were decorated with the figures of saints, many of whom are identifiable from symbols, and a number of prophets or donors. The red velvet background has further symbols and floral designs, and there are four emblems with instruments of the clothiers which have been applied at strategic points where the pall would have draped over a coffin.

The pall was restored in 2007, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.


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