• Code 280424-7

City of Worcester, Visit of George III. 1788. Comemmorative medalet.

Silvered brass, 24.8mm diameter, scalloped edge, weight 3.64 grams.  GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA Laureate head right, W A & Co below.  Rv. M· B· F· ET· H· REX· F· D· B· ET· L· D· S· R· I· A· T· ET· E· 1788· around, WORCES / TER / AUGUST / 6·7 & 8  in spade-shaped crowned shield.  D&H 34.  About EF

The makers, Richard Wilmore and Samuel Alston, were toymen and button makers in Bread Steet, Newmarket, Birmingham, 1779-1790.

King George III visited the city of Worcester in August 1788.  An account of the visit was compiled by Thomas Pitt then a chorister and later organist of the cathedral, 1793-1806.

The account described in detail the preparations for the visit including the rehearsals on the 4th and 5th of August for the band, an impressive ensemble, comprising some 119 people including 12 of the King’s private band.

The security arrangements included ten of the High Sheriff’s Javelin men, and 60 Soldiers from Lord Harrington’s Regiment of Foot.

The King and company, including the Queen and the three elder princesses, arrived on the evening of Tuesday 5th August and were entertained by a "General Illumination" in the city and suburbs.

Wednesday 6th August

The King’s party was staying at the Bishop’s Old Palace, very near the Cathedral, and the day began with the official rising of the King, attended by the Bishops of Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester and representatives of all the foremost nobility, clergy and gentlemen of the county.

Soldiers were stationed at the North Door of the Cathedral to welcome the Royal party at 11:30, who were then accompanied to the throne. Handel’s anthem Zadok the Priest, and other music was played. Admittance cost half a guinea.

Thursday 7th August

Another morning concert was arranged for the Royal party. Nearly 500 persons attended, and £71 14s 0d was collected for local widows and orphans.

In the afternoon, the Royal party walked in the City and viewed the china at the Warehouse of Mr. Flight in the High Street, where they purchased a considerable quantity of elegant tea china. From there they went to the carpet factory of Messrs. Michael and Watkins, in Silver Street. The crowd became so great that it threatened to overwhelm the royal party and they took refuge in the owner’s house. The King, in order to avoid the crowds went through a number of side and back passages to the Palace, to order his coach. On the way he encountered a drunk who offered the King his services. The King recommended that the man to “go home to bed”.

In the evening there was a Grand Concert in College Hall attended by five hundred people, but their Majesties absented themselves.

Friday 8th August 

At 9am various city dignitaries went to the Palace to request of the King the honour of a visit to the city. The King accepted and there was a procession from the Palace to the Guildhall where they met representatives from the companies of Iron Mongers, Clothiers, Cordwainers, Mercers, Tailors, Bakers, Glovers, Butchers, Barbers and Vintners, all walking “two & two” with their accompanying flags and pages.

A triumphal arch covered with Gilt Laurel erected at the door lead to the Assembly Room where an elegant assortment of sweetmeats, fruit and wine was laid out. The king drank a glass of wine and wished prosperity on the City of Worcester.

The procession then returned to the Cathedral, where there was a performance of Mr Handel’s Messiah. Upwards of two thousand persons attended, and £379 16s 6d was collected for charity, including £200 from the king.

That evening the Royal party went to College Hall at for yet another concert. The performance ended shortly after 10pm, and the Royal party was conducted to their carriages by the Stewards, Dean and Sub-Dean, each holding a candle. The rest of the company retired to the Deanery, and afterwards there was a ball.

 Saturday 9th August  On his final morning in Worcester the King rose early and took a survey of the country from Castle Hill before he returned to the Palace and breakfasted and went again to the China works, where he was most impressed. He left 10 guineas to be distributed amongst the workmen. On leaving the factory he was overheard to say to the Queen “our holidays are now over”.

The Royal party left Worcester about eleven o’clock, when their departure was observed by many thousands. They subsequently met for a public breakfast at Diglis House with some six hundred people present some of whom danced on the green till near Four o’clock.

During his visit the King empowered the release from two prisons a number of Felons, who were thought deserving, 18 were discharged, many of whom were under sentence of Transportation for life, others for the Terms of seven or fourteen years.

Finally, as a lasting tribute to the high esteem the King held for Worcester’s great trades, he gave permission for Messrs. Flight, China Manufacturer, Hall the Printer, and Michael & Watkins Carpet Manufacturers to put the Royal Arms over their respective doors.

It would seem the 1788 Royal visit to Worcester was a success.

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