Located in England, created in 680 when, at the Synod of Hatfield under St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, the great Mercian diocese was divided into five sees. Tatfrith, a monk of Whitby, was nominated for bishop, but he died before consecration, and Bosel, one of his fellow monks, was consecrated in his stead. The history of the diocese was singularly uneventful, and it was specially fortunate in the fact that it never was long vacant, as so many other sees frequently were. The lines of its bishops from 680 to 1565 were unbroken. The Mercian kings were profuse in the endowments which they lavished on the cathedral church, which was originally dedicated to St. Peter but afterwards to Our Lady . It was originally served by secular canons, but in the tenth century St. Oswald replaced them by Benedictines. He also rebuilt the cathedral, finishing the work in 983, but in 1041 the Danes burned the city and ruined the cathedral, and it was reserved for another saint, St. Wulstan, to rebuild it (1084-89). The new building frequently suffered from fire (1113, 1180, 1202). In 1216 King John was buried there, between the shrines of the two Worcester saints, Oswald and Wulstan; and two years later the cathedral, once more restored, was consecrated at a great gathering at which the king and many prelates and nobles were present. At various times modifications were made in the structure, which gradually assumed the Early Gothic character it now bears. Probably the Worcester nave is among the earliest instances of English Gothic, dating from the later part of the twelfth century. The transepts are a mixture of Norman and Perpendicular work; the choir, lady chapel, and east transepts are Early English (1224). The crypt alone remains of St. Wulstan's work. The monastic buildings, of which only the cloister, chapter-house, and refectory remain, were on the south and west of the cathedral.
From the time of Henry VII the see was filled by Italian prelates, who represented the king's interest at Rome. Among these was the future Pope Clement VII. It was the special prerogative of the bishop to act as chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and thus to celebrate Mass at all assemblies of the clergy at which the primate was present. The following is the complete list of bishops :
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online