Charter 400

The Charter Festival 1621 – 2021  – a celebration of our city

The 1621 Charter marked a momentous occasion in the development of Worcester City. On 2 October 1621, James I put his seal to the Charter that granted Worcester the rights and constitution that established the basis of the modern governance of the city and county of Worcester. Although many of the rights existed since 1189 (Richard Charter) this Charter is widely recognised as ‘creating’ the city of Worcester.

The government of the city was entrusted to a Mayor, “six lawfull and discreet citizens” as Aldermen, a Sheriff and two Chamberlains, a body of twenty four including the Mayor and Aldermen and a body of forty eight including the two chamberlains.

The actual Charter is held by Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service at The Hive. A precis of the Charter can be found here. The Charter will be on display for public viewing throughout the year, locations will be revealed soon.

The Worcester Charter of 1621 is a short film showing the Charter and explaining the significance to Worcester.

The 400th anniversary in 2021 will celebrate Worcester’s rich heritage and culture and will also provide an opportunity to promote, encourage, enthuse, revitalise and boost local businesses which have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Walking Tours

Discover History have developed a new heritage walking tour that will look at how the city was governed, the privileges it received in 1621 and the personal story of Edward Hurdman, the first Mayor of the city. The tour will run throughout the year following all appropriate safety guidance and places can be booked by calling 07949 222137 or emailing discoverhistory@aol.com.

Events

The list of events and activities will grow as the momentum builds throughout the year. Plans so far include:

June

From June 21st till 3rd September: Essay Competition.
Here is your chance to do some research and find out why the Charter matters – and what difference it has made to the running of the city since 1621. There are three categories to enter:
Children aged 8-12 (School Years 3-7), prize is £100-worth of book tokens; Young people aged 13-18:
(School Years 8-13) prize is £250-worth of book tokens; Open competition for age 16+ cheque prize worth £500. Please email tourism@worcester.gov.uk,  stating the category you wish to enter for a registration form. Good luck!

Thursday 24th: ‘Impeachment, Personal Rule and the Lead Up to the English Civil War.’
A fascinating Battle of Worcester Society lecture from Chris Monaghan, Principal Lecturer in Law and Deputy LLB Course Leader at the University of Worcester. Booking essential via www.thebattleofworcestersociety.org.uk/events

July

Date To Be Confirmed: Discovery History ‘Perambulation’ Tour (10:30 and 14:30).
Two special tours which will follow the route to beat the bounds of the City, commemorating Worcester’s rich history. Booking essential via www.discover-history.co.uk.

From Saturday 3rd July: St Peters Heritage Trail
Organised by St Peter the Great County Parish Council. A leisurely two hour stroll encompassing 15 key location points, which reference the people and places which have shaped St Peter’s Parish, from the early 1600’s to the present day. The trail follows established Parish pedways including, parks, play areas, picnic spots and pubs. Start point: St Peters Village Hall, WR5 3TA (next to Tesco). Self-led, via leaflet or Facebook – St Peters Festival, at each key point the physical route is signposted with QR codes for more detailed information.

Thursday 8th July: Worcester Life Stories Battle of the Boozers Pub Quiz 8 (from 7.30pm, various locations). The popular Worcester Life Stories lockdown quizzes go live, in a city-wide pub quiz tournament. To register your pub’s involvement please email worcesterlifestories@gmail.com by 12noon Monday 5th July for more information on how to take part. Please note your pub will need access to wifi and a screen in order for the quiz to be broadcast via YouTube.

Saturday 24th – Sunday 1st: Three Choirs Festival.
This prestigious event will be celebrating the Charter anniversary with the following:

The Marian Consort (26th, College Hall)
Orlando Consort (27th, College Hall)
Choral Evensong, Worcester Cathedral Choir (27th, Cathedral)

Tuesday 27th – Monday 2nd: The summer fun programme at The Commandery. Tues – Sat 10:00 – 17:00 Sun 11:00 – 15:00.
Tudor building-wattle and daub, b+w houses, plasticine stick building, toilet roll turrets, tudor roses. For information www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/whats-on/

Friday 30 July – 1 August: Worcester Pub Beer Festival
A celebration of Worcester’s thriving pub culture, organised by the Worcester Campaign for Real Ale.
www.worcesterpubbeerfestival.com

August

Tuesday 3rd – Monday 9th: The summer fun programme at The Commandery. Tues – Sat 10:00 – 17:00 Sun 11:00 – 15:00.
Civil War escape week-secret letters, mini maze, obstacle course, hidden crowns, code breakers. For information www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/whats-on/

Tuesday 10th – Monday 16th: The summer fun programme at The Commandery. Tues – Sat 10:00 – 17:00 Sun 11:00 – 15:00.
Georgian canals-raft making, play canal, traditional boat art, bridge making, animal sheets. For information www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/whats-on/

Saturday 15th: Worcester Show
This year’s Show has several specially themed ‘Charter’ classes to mark the 400 year anniversary:

Floral Decoration/Art Class 601 – A basket arrangement representing Historic Worcester

Cakes and Preserves Class 703 – Sarah’s Baking Mad Competition One decorated cake with the theme Historic Worcester

Photography Class 1009 – Capture the spirit of Historic Worcester

Fun & Creativity Classes 1101/1102/1103 – Create a picture or collage about ‘Historic Worcester’

Tuesday 17th  – Monday 23rd: The summer fun programme at The Commandery. Tues – Sat 10:00 – 17:00 Sun  11:00 – 15:00.
Victorian inventions-cup phones, stamp making, Morse code breaker, ice cream craft, other Victorian inventions (how many can you name). For information www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk/whats-on/

Friday 20th: 400 Years of Worcester, A Play in 45mins
A humorous and entertaining look at the main events in Worcester over the past 400 years. Performances at 10.00, 12:00 and 14:00 at the Guildhall. High St Worcester WR1 2EY. Free entry for more information www.worcesterfestival.co.uk

Thursday 19th: Civil War Artefacts Found During the Excavations for the Southern Link Road.’
A interesting Battle of Worcester Society lecture from Richard Bradley, Worcester Archive and Archaeology Service. Booking essential via www.thebattleofworcestersociety.org.uk/events

October

Saturday 2nd: Charter Day Celebration.
An event in the Guildhall to mark the historic date of the signing of the Charter on 2nd October 1621.

Get involved

There will be many opportunities to get involved with the Festival over the coming months. We’ll be posting events and activities on this page. If you’d like to find out more, feel free to get in touch.