On 5th February 2015, I went with Professor Richard Cust and my third year English Civil War Special Subject Group to Worcester for the day. I have to confess that I live in Worcester so I know the city very well but this trip gave me fascinating new insights into its history as well as giving me the opportunity to show my fellow students around this lovely, historic city!
This trip involved firstly visiting the Commandery which was the headquarters for the Royalist army of the future Charles II in the 1651 Battle of Worcester. As can be seen from the photos we had an excellent talk on the weapons used in the Battle such as pikes and muskets as well as getting to attempt to use them on ourselves! I really valued this experience as it is one thing to read about battles in the history books but quite another thing to get an opportunity to see the weapons used first hand!
After that we ascended Fort Royal which was the site of a half-completed Royalist Star Fort during the Battle. It was a long, steep climb but we were rewarded with excellent views of the city from this great and high vantage point. Next we descended back into the city for a tour along the lovely half-timbered Tudor Friar Street to see how the hand-to-hand fighting of the Battle unfolded in the streets. On this rather bleak and cold winter’s day a pint of Worcestershire cider and a hearty lunch in the cosy and deeply historic King Charles Arms, the pub where the man himself stayed during the Battle, was very welcome!
The tour was rounded off with a walk around the magnificent and vast Cathedral. Although we were disappointed to see that the tower was closed, there were still some very interesting monuments and features within the main body of the Cathedral.
In conclusion therefore this trip was all that an outstanding history trip should be: good fun but extremely informative. It is richly rewarding to leave the library and classroom and see the history we are taught all around us and how it has had a vital role in shaping the world in which we live today. Worcester, which as a city was deeply involved during the English Civil War, was an ideal place to see how this historical impact affects the city even today as seen, for example, in its present motto of ‘Faithful City’ because of its support for the Royalist cause.
By Charles Goode, BA Geography & History