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


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


Saturday 24th: Know Your Place.
The launch of the exciting new online website enabling the community to create & share their own life stories.


Saturday 24th – Saturday 31st: 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)


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’


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.