The Guesten Hall, Western Side Destroyed 1862 by Henry Harris Lines, painted 1844

1966-94-HHlines-The Guesten Hall - Destroyed 1862-1844-merged-LOWThis watercolour in Worcester City’s collection depicts the remains of Worcester Cathedral’s ancient Guesten Hall. This was the wing of the cathedral where the medieval monks entertained and accommodated their important guests passing through Worcester, including many monarchs.

Lines’ notes on this watercolour say:
The Guesten Hall [at Worcester Cathedral] commenced by Prior Wulstan de Bromford 1320 destroyed in days of Dean Peel
Dimension 65 feet in length 34 wide, 55 high
All destroyed

Worcester Cathedral went through significant restoration between around 1857-1877 overseen by Dean John Peel (Dean from 1845 until his death in 1875). The 8th of 11 children, his oldest brother was Sir Robert Peel who served as British Prime Minister. HH Lines was rather obviously expressing his displeasure in the Dean’s approach.

 

The Guesten Hall was built in 1320 and survived as a complete building until the mid C19th when it was declared too dilapidated to restore, the roof was removed and the walls partially dismantled.

The roof was re-used for the nave in a new church built at Shrub Hill. This in turn was demolished in 1969, its centenary year, but the roof was again saved and can now be seen at Avoncroft Museum in Worcestershire.

The sandstone East wall and window openings remain as a ruin in the cathedral grounds and these continue to be cared for and restored as part of the ongoing conservation of Worcester Cathedral.

The tradition of the Guesten accommodation continues with the use of a house on College Green which dates from the Queen Anne period in the early C18th.

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