History

The first record of St Swithun's in Worcester is from 1126 when Bishop Eudo granted permission to a nearby Benedictine monastery for a church to be built on this land. The church at this time would have been built in Norman Romanesque style and several traces of this style have been found in the current fabric of the south wall. There is a stone which looks like it was part of a repeating X pattern and another which has the classic Norman zig-zag pattern on it. A Norman vousoir stone was reputedly found when a new door was knocked through the north wall in the early 1900s.

The south wall is largely rebuilt of medieval material whereas the north wall appears to be a standing medieval wall modified to accommodate the 18th century windows. The East wall was newly built in the 1730s and the West end is made up of the 15th century tower which was cosmetically remodelled during the nave rebuild.

Some local researchers think that the church’s location within the Saxon town boundary and the dedication to St Swithun mean that there could have been a church on this site in the Saxon era. There is currently no documentary or physical evidence to support this theory other than the dedication and location but it remains a possibility.

The tower is 15th century but was remodelled when the nave was rebuilt in the 1730s. There are medieval timbers in the roof which appear to have been taken from the interior of the medieval church as they have some decorative moulding.

Many of the tiles on the roof are also medieval and were made in Worcester. This photo shows one which has a deer hoof print in it.

The church before the 18th century rebuilding was described as having a West tower with a nave and a North aisle. The church was thought to have extended Eastwards into The Shambles a little further than it currently does. It's not entirely clear why the church was shortened at this time but it could have been to improve the classical proportions or to create more space at this busy junction between city centre thoroughfares.