Noake's Worcestershire Page 194



GIVEN to the see of Worcester in 850, this parish has for many centuries been the country residence of the Bishop. The episcopal castle was commenced by Bishop Cantelupe in 1255, and was finished and moated by Bishop Giffard in 1268. Several of the Bishops have died here. In the civil wars the King garrisoned the castle, but although it was very strong and had provisions for a year the Cavaliers surrendered in two days without firing a shot! The castle was subsequently destroyed in part, and there seems to be no account of its restoration, though it is believed that the principal part of the present structure was the work of Bishop Hough, in the time of James II. Succeeding Bishops spent large sums in improvements and additions, and Bishop Hurd gave it a fine library (including the library of Bishop Warburton and part of that of the poet Pope). The house, which is constructed of red sandstone, with embattled parapets, contains a fine baronial hall, and has projecting wings, one of which is formed by the chapel; there is also a quadrangular court, enclosed with walls and a gatehouse; a portion of the old moat is converted into a flower garden, and the whole is approached by a fine avenue of trees picturesquely placed on the edge of a park, about a mile and a half in circuit, and an artificial lake skirts the house On the west. The gardens contain elevated terraces of turf to the south, sloping down to the level of the lake. Here the good Bishop Philpotts mainly resides, but his clergy would fain see his Lordship permanently located in the more accessible geographical centre of Worcester - a desire to which the Bishop would be too happy to accede, for reasons arising from considerations both of duty and economy, pro-