Worcester City History
These pages will provide a brief history of the city and
some of its most notable residents, whose contributions to
sciences, the arts or society are still celebrated today.
Worcester City Charters
The Archive Service now holds digital copies of the Worcester
City Charters owned by the city council.
Download the Worcester City
Charters (PDF 109 KB).
With the exception of Dancox, all the essays marked were written
by WASP volunteers.
The council had a diverse range of responsibilities including
finances (monies owed or loaned, distribution of municipal funds),
property (maintenance, leases of municipal property), trade
(regulation of markets and quality of goods) welfare (charities,
poor, the city gaol) and governing procedures (succession of
councillors, officials and Parliamentary representatives,
negotiation of charters).
The Chamber was the governing body of the city of Worcester. The
council chamber actually consisted of two chambers; the 48 and the
more important 24 (which included the mayor), from whose ranks the
city's magistrates were also chosen. Membership was through
co-option, and members were largely well-off and literate merchants
or (more rarely) gentlemen who gave their service for no or nominal
wages. There was continuity of government as resignation without
good cause, absence from meetings or, from 1649, refusal to take up
a nominated position was punishable by a fine. Acceptance into the
48 and then the 24 was the standard career progression of a local
government official. Promotion was dependent on the death or
removal of other members, but some offices, such as bailiff or
mayor, could only be held for a fixed period or by someone who had
held a certain junior position. By the nineteenth century, this
structure had been superseded by just one council chamber.
From 1555 the reasons for dismissal (temporary or permanent)
from either chamber were for 'evil government', non-residence in
Worcester for a period of at least one year, failure to attend
meetings without good reason despite due warning, and occasionally
what could be termed as behaviour not befitting a councillor. The
frequency of meetings depended on the quantity and urgency of the
matters to be discussed. During the Civil War meetings were held
every few days, though for the rest of the seventeenth century it
was not unusual for meetings to be held at 6-8 week intervals.
Nineteenth century meetings were often monthly and incorporated the
duties of the Burial Board, Local Board of Health
Mayor * Bailiff * Sheriff *
Chamberlain * Town Clerk
This page was last reviewed 15 May 2013 at 21:33.
The page is next due for review 11 November 2014.