St Michael's College, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire. Henry Woodyer (1816-1896). 1856-58. "Coursed dressed rubble with ashlar dressings and very steeply pitched slate roof" (listing text). Grade II* listed. Along with its chapel (which is seen on the right here), this is a former choral music college, founded in 1856 by Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley (1825-1889) to preserve and enrich the tradition of Anglican church music. The college closed in in 1985, and the chapel took on a new role as the parish church. The college building too has been given a new lease of life as an international boarding school called King's College St Michael's.

Adjoining cloister, linking college and chapel.

The college building is in Gothic Revival style. The listing text describes it as having a "[l]ong range of roughly 12 bays aligned east/west with three-bay parallel range to north-west and also three-bay wing at right angles to north-east with square stair tower in angle. Also hexagonal stair turret at west end.... Mainly two storeys and attic with dormers." The attic storey with its seventeen "crazily steep and narrow dormers, particularly characteristic of Woodyer" was planned as the dormitory (Brooks and Pevsner 587). Its other particularly notable feature, its long cloister walk, was designed to link the college building with its chapel.

The complex as built was never quite as Ouseley intended: due to lack of funds, its bell tower and west cloister wall, which would have created a quadrangle, were never added. However, as John Austin points out, "the present view of the whole site, church and college, from the cricket pitch, is a constant delight as is the view from the garth to the cricket pitch and beyond, to the beautiful Worcestershire countryside" (93).

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Photographs © Philip Pankhurst (very slightly modified for perspective), and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use the images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]


Austin, John D. Ouseley's Legacy: The Catholic and Gothic Revivals, Henry Woodyer and St Michael's College., 2014 (Google Preview).

Brooks, Alan, and Nikolaus Pevsner. Worcestershire. Buildings of England series. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007.

"St Michael's College and adjoining cloister." Historic England. Web. 21 February 2020.

Created 21 February