Worcester Cathedral and Swan sanctuary

The whole of scripture is inspired and given by God for teaching truth, refuting error, correcting our ways and helping us to live right. This is so those who serve God may become mature…

2 Timothy 3: 16 ,17 (Clear Word Bible)
Worcester Cathedral with one of its entrances facing the river Severn. Before our focus shifts I want to tell you about what I didn’t see. Historians have known for centuries that Prince Arthur King Henry VIII’s brother, was buried in the cathedral. Archaeologists now say they have located Arthur’s grave beneath the Cathedrals limestone floors.

Prince Arthur married Catherine of Aragon when they were both 15 years old. The 10 year old Prince Henry (Henry VIII) escorted Catherine up the aisle. Arthur died 6 months later of sweating sickness. Catherine then at the age of 23 married the king, Henry VIII who was 18 at the time. Catherine became pregnant 6 times but only Mary survived. After twenty or so years of marriage Catherine was dismissed from court and denied contact with her daughter, Mary. She died at the age of 50.

It is said she loved Henry VIII to the end. According to some in the court at the time they were mischievous and had a lot of fun as a couple.

Looking at Worcester Cathedral in the distance from a bridge over the Severn. We are looking at
Worcester Swan Sanctuary
created by Worcester City Council and Worcester Cathedral in the 1980s.
This was because many swans had died nationally from lead poisoning.
The sanctuary has young swans, old and disabled swans and
swans that have lost their mates.
There is no food for them in the river . The towns’ people feed them.
You can see bags of food labelled for them in the shops.
“Swans …always look as though they have been reading their own fan mail.”
Jan Strutter (1901-1953 English writer who died of breast cancer)
These are mute swans with distinctive orange bills and black face marking. They don’t migrate and during their 6 week moult between June and August they cannot fly.

For hundreds of years swans were symbols of wealth and status.(in 1501 one Swan cost 13s 4d and 20 sheep cost 5s) The king claimed ownership of all swans , except those granted to others. Our late Queen still had this right and all the swans on the Thames belong to the monarch. The monarch’s Swan keeper has them counted and checked for injury or poor health each July at “Swan Upping”.

White Swan of cities slumbering in thy nest… white phantom city, whose

untrodden streets

Are rivers, and whose pavements are the

shifting shadows of the palaces and

strips of sky.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow(American poet and Educator 18071882 His first wife died in a house fire and he died of peritonitis)

Thank you for looking at these swans and reading a bit about them and poor Arthur.


3 thoughts on “Worcester Cathedral and Swan sanctuary

  1. Wasn’t that Henry the one who chipped off his wives’ heads? Interesting
    I wonder who owns the swans now? Charles III?


  2. Wasn’t that Henry the one who chopped off his wives’ heads? Interesting
    I wonder who owns the swans now? Charles III?


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