The Ghosts of Christmas Past in Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral library is an amazing repository of books and manuscripts that have been collected and studied here for centuries. However it also houses a continuing record of the institution in which it has grown: the Cathedral itself. This blog post will take a peek back through the records to see what was going on in Worcester Cathedral during Christmasses long since passed.

December, 1867


Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

This flyer is for a Christmas performance of Macfarren’s Cantata ‘Christmas’ in 1867. The concert saw the Cathedral Choir singing with Miss Anna Hiles, the ‘Prima Donna of Covent Garden and her Majesty’s Theatres, London’, which must have been an exciting treat for any audience member!


December, 1892

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This is a Precentor’s Report for the year 1892, when Christmas Day happened to fall on a Sunday. The last paragraph of the report describes how the Cathedral services were arranged the last time this happened, with no afternoon services:

This arrangement, while fully providing for the religious observance of the day, leaves the afternoon free for family gatherings.


December, c. 1900s

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This carol book is undated but is thought to come from the 1900s. It is one of a great number of orders of service which are kept in the Cathedral library.


December, unknown date


Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

This is a homemade Christmas card, date unknown, which bears a print of the nave of Worcester Cathedral. It is a cropped version of an engraving by Wild from 1823.


December, 1994

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For the first time in 1994 the Cathedral hosted BBC Hereford and Worcester’s ‘A Celebration of Christmas’ concert. The concert continues to be hosted by various different venues around Herefordshire and Worcestershire every year.


December 2015


Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

There are dozens of Christmas trees lining the cloisters this year as part of the fourth Christmas Tree Festival held in Worcester Cathedral. This wonderful book-themed tree is the library’s entry for 2015 – there is still time to vote for us as the ‘People’s Choice’ tree!

Merry Christmas all,


Rosie Pugh




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