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Worcester, diocese of

Worcester, diocese of. Now roughly conterminous with Worcestershire, it was created by Theodore in c.679 out of the large Mercian see for the Hwicce people who inhabited Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and half Warwickshire. The Worcester diocese was reduced in size by the creation of the see of Gloucester in 1541 and Birmingham in 1905, though it also briefly (1836–1918) included the Coventry area until its own diocese was created. Despite the Danish invasions, there was continuity of episcopal succession. Oswald (961–92), a monastic reformer, replaced the cathedral's secular canons with monks. He also held the archbishopric of York in plurality from 972, as did his successors until 1016 and for a short spell after 1040. Notable bishops were Wulfstan (1062–95), a man of great sanctity, Hugh Latimer (1535–55), burned at the stake, Edward Stillingfleet (1689–99), a latitudinarian scholar, and Charles Gore (1902–5), an Anglo-catholic writer, who also successfully campaigned for the creation, out of his own see, of the Birmingham diocese of which he became first bishop (1905–11). The cathedral, though Norman in plan with Norman crypt and chapter house, was largely refashioned in the 19th cent. with a Perpendicular cloister. It contained the shrine of Wulfstan (destroyed at the Reformation) and houses the tomb of King John.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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