A brief History:
Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman spoke fondly of the College, referring to:
“……..the unique atmosphere of St. Michael’s College, Tenbury. I shall never forget my first impression of the place. There was the climb up from the little market town of Tenbury whence some of the lay clerks make their twice daily journey to Mattins and Evensong to lend men’s voices to the boys’ choir, and there before me stretched an enormous common. In the far corner, in a land of blossoming orchards and backed by the blue distance of Clee Hill, rose a chapel, seemingly as large as Lancing.
Attached to it were Warden’s house, school buildings, cloister and dining hall, all in a style of the fourteenth century, re-interpreted in local materials for the nineteenth century by the genius of its architect, Henry Woodyer.
After Evensong, where the music was equal to that of the best cathedral choirs, and a walk round the buildings in the quiet of a Worcestershire evening, I visited the large dormitory, which runs almost the whole length of a building parallel with the chapel. Here Christopher Hassall read his poem* to the boys and held them spellbound as the stars shone through the narrow Gothic windows in the gabled roof…………”
*(A poem was written especially for the College’s centenary Click here)
This little gem was spotted in the Sword, the current St Michael’s Parish Magazine:
A Visit to St. Michael’s in 1880.
Mrs. Ellen Heywood-Waddington read the following extract in “The Transactions of the Worcestershire Naturalists Club 1847-1896” andthought it would be of interest to everyone in St. Michael’s. Membersof the club went on the walk on Monday 25th October 1880 visitingEaston, Little Hereford Church and finishing at St. Michael’s College.
“The walk was then resumed through a very pleasing country past Upton Court and by the Old Wood to St. Michael’s College. This building, with its appurtenances, had been stated in the programme to be inspected by the kind permission of the Rev’d. Principal, Sir Frederick Gore Ouseley, Bart., and the reverend gentleman most courteouslyappeared in person to conduct the party over the college, and explain all its arrangements.
The church in connection with the college was first examined in detail. It is a cruciform structure in the decorated pointed style, having a nave with aisles, transepts, chancel and sanctuary, with a baptistery on the north side. many of the windows are filled with subjects in stained glass, and the sanctuary has five lofty windows, in which our Saviour, St. Michael, with drawn sword, andarchangels and angels are beautifully portrayed. The baptistery contains a font, over which is a tall and most elaborate canopy, and next the wall is a well, the water of which is of a medicinal character like that at Tenbury, and as Sir Frederick observed, had they been living in mediaeval times, miraculous cures might have beenclaimed for it. It is well known that St. Michael’s College is a musical institution where pupils are instructed, and with great kindness.
Sir F.Gore Ouseley himself favoured his visitors with a voluntary on the organ in grand style, which gave a capital idea of the range of its harmonious powers. The cloisters and rooms of the college were next contemplated, as well as the great hall and library, and the company were also led upstairs to the dormitories and otherchambers to see all the arrangements for the pupils. The iron horse conveyed the party from Tenbury to Kidderminster, where dinner was served at the Black Horse Inn.”