This feature of English Cathedrals was to facilitate the private saying of the Holy Office by many clergy or monks.Worcester is also typical of English cathedrals in having a chapter house and cloister.This declined slightly in the years immediately before 1540, as recruitment seems to have halted.There were 35 Benedictine monks plus the Prior Holbeach at the time of dissolution, probably 16 January 1540; eleven were immediately given pensions, while the remainder became secular canons in the new Royal College. A further five former monks were pensioned from the college in July 1540.The former monastic library of Worcester contained a considerable number of manuscripts which are, among other libraries, now scattered over Cambridge, London (British Library), Oxford Bodleian, and the Cathedral library at Worcester of today.While Worcester declared itself for Parliament, it was swiftly occupied by the Royalists, who were using the building to store munitions when Essex briefly retook the city after a skirmish on its outskirts.There is an important connection with Fleury Abbey in France, as Oswald, bishop of Worcester from 961 to 992, was professed at Fleury and introduced the monastic rule of Fleury to the monastery that he established at Worcester around the year 966, which was dedicated — as the present cathedral church is — to St. The last Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Worcester, Wulstan, unusually remained Bishop after the Norman Conquest until his death in 1095. The Priory Cathedral was a major landowner and economic force, both in Worcester and the county.Its properties for instance included the Priory manor of Bromsgrove.
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John Bell, a moderate reformer, was Bishop from 1539–43, during the period of the Priory's dissolution.
In the early 16th century, Worcester had around 40 monks.
It was a centre of learning and provided schooling. The Church received a portion of local taxations and ecclesiastical law applied to Christian morals and could result in punishments.
It had close political associations with leading gentry and aristocracy.