Worcester, Ancient See of

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Lat. Wigorniensis, diocese established some time before 680 by Abp. theodore of canterbury, as part of his reorganization of the Church in England and the division of dioceses, e.g., Lichfield, that were too large. The first bishop-elect was Tatfrid, a monk of whitby, who died before consecration; the first bishop to be consecrated was Bosel, who was replaced c. 691 by Oftfor, another monk of Whitby. The see included the territory of the lower Severn Valley inhabited by a mixed Anglian and Saxon people called the Hwicce, viz, the later counties of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, and part of Warwickshire. The original cathedral was dedicated to St. Peter; the cathedral completed in 983 was dedicated to both St. Peter and the Bl. Virgin Mary by St. oswald of york (961991), who replaced the secular canons with Benedictine monks; and the present cathedral, begun in 1084 by St. wulfstan (106295) and often rebuilt because of fires or structural collapse, was rededicated in 1218 to the Bl. Virgin Mary, St. Peter, and the Holy Confessors Oswald and Wulfstan. King john was buried here in 1216. The monastery was suppressed in 1540. clement vii, before his election, had been bishop of Worcester; under Hugh latimer the see became a diocese of the Church of England.

Bibliography: bede, Eccl. Hist. 4.23. w. dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum 1:567622. hemingus, Chartularium ecclesiae Wigorniensis, ed. t. hearne, 2 v. (Oxford 1723), passim.. v. noake, The Cathedral Church of Worcester (Worcester 1951). h. lubin, The Worcester Pilgrim (Worcester 1990) p. barker et. al., A Short Architectural History of Worcester Cathedral (Worcester 1994) u. engel, Die Kathedrale von Worcester (Munich 2000).

[r. s. hoyt/eds.]

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Worcester, Ancient See of

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