Worcester (Woos'ter), the county town of Worcestershire, 27 1/2 miles by rail SW. of Birmingham, 65 1/2 NNE. of Bristol, and 121 (by road 111) WNW. of London. It stands on the left bank of the Severn, here crossed by a five-arch stone bridge (1781-1841), 270 feet long. Previously perhaps a station of the Romans, Wigornaceaster became in 679 the seat of a Mercian bishopric, whose cathedral is Worcester's chief glory. It is a double cross in plan, 410 feet long, 126 wide across the west transept, and 60 to 67 high, with a central tower of 196 feet. Rebuilt from 1084 onwards, and restored since 1857 at a cost of £100,000, it is mainly Early English and Decorated in style, but retains a very interesting Norman crypt. The simplicity, if not plainness, of the exterior is amply compensated by the fine perspective of the lofty groined roof, and the general noble effect of the interior. One may specially notice the columns of Purbeck marble, the 14th-century choir-stalls and misereres, the elaborate modern reredos, the circular chapter-house, the splendid peal of twelve bells, and the tombs of King John, Prince Arthur, Lord Lyttelton, the Earl of Dudley, and (in the cloisters) 'Miserrimus,' a not very wretched Nonjuror. At Worcester, alternately with Hereford and Gloucester, are held the festivals of the 'Three Choirs.' The old episcopal palace is now the deanery, the present palace since 1842 being Hartlebury Castle, 11 miles N.; and the cathedral school (1541) occupies the superb 13th-century refectory of a Benedictine priory. There is also Queen Elizabeth's school (1561). Nothing remains of the castle, and the Guesten Hall was ruthlessly pulled down in 1860; but there are a fine hall called the Com-mandery, a gatehouse ('Edgar's Tower'), and a good many old timbered houses, while of public buildings may be noticed the guildhall (1723), the shire-hall (1S35), and the museum and free library (1836-79). Worcester is the seat of the Royal Porcelain Works, dating from 1751, and covering 5 acres, the glove-manufactory of Messrs Dent (a Glovers' Company was incorporated in 1497), and the ' Worcester Sauce' factory of Lea & Perrins; besides huge vinegar-works, great nurseries, and manufactories of railway signals, chemicals, etc. In the neighbourhood are hop-yards. Worcester is a municipal borough, chartered by Richard I. in 1189; a parliamentary borough, returning only one member since 1885; and also, since 1888, a county borough. Pop. (1851) 27,528; (1881) 38,270; (1901) 46,624. Worcester was the scene of numberless sieges from the time of the Danes down to the 'crowning mercy' of Cromwell, when, on 3d September 1651, he routed Charles II., killing 4000 and making 7000 prisoners. Charles afterwards commemorated Worcester's loyalty by granting it the motto of 'Civitas fidelis.' Natives have been the alchemist Kelly, Lord Somers, and Mrs Henry Wood; whilst among the eighty and more bishops have been St Dunstan, St Oswald, St Wulfstan, Cantilupe, Latimer, Whitgift, Gauden, Stillingfleet, Hough, Hurd, and Perowne. See works by Abingdon (1717), Thomas (1737), Wild (1823), Britton (1835), Prof. Willis (Journal Archœol. Init., vol. xx.), Walcott (1866), Noake (1866), and J. G. Smith and Onslow (1883).
Worcester (Wooster or Woorster), the second city of Massachusetts, on Blackstone River, 44 miles WSW. of Boston. Several suburban villages are included within the 36 sq. m. of the municipality. 'The Academic City' contains the state normal school, two state lunatic asylums, a military institute, high school, Jesuit college, Baptist academy, a large women's school, etc. Its churches include many handsome buildings, and from the porch of the Old South Church the Declaration of Independence was first read in Massachusetts. It manufactures wire, boots and shoes, iron products, and woollens. Pop. (1880) 58,291; (1900) 118,421.