The Medieval Church of St Michael, Worcester

Worcester Cathedral Phipson

Worcestershire Archaeology are currently excavating the Cathedral roundabout on Worcester’s College Street, discovering more about the streets that lined the north of the cathedral precincts until the 1960s, including the ancient lychgate.

Perhaps less well remembered is the little medieval church of St Michael that stood right against the north side of Worcester Cathedral, where the war memorial is now sited. This church was demolished in 1843.

The Church of St Michael the Archangel served a small and quirky parish, which included the Bishop’s Palace and the Castle. The parish remained officially outside the administration of both the City and the Diocese of Worcester until 1832. Eventually the parish was combined with others into Worcester Civil Parish in 1898.

The church was built in the north east corner of the churchyard, the most important cemetery in Worcester from Saxon times. The Archangel Michael was always considered to have a special interest in the burial of the dead.

A new St Michael’s was built in College Street – itself at that time a new road – in about 1840, with the old church demolished a few years later. Following a similar pattern of growth and change, this new St Michael’s was demolished in the 1960s, alongside building the City Walls Road and dualling College Street to create a inner ring road for Worcester.

The Worcestershire Archaeological Society published an article about the medieval church in vol XIX of Transactions. This 19th century watercolour painting of the original St Michael’s is included in the Worcester City museum collection.

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