Worcester


Worcester
/woos"teuhr/, n.
1. Joseph Emerson, 1784-1865, U.S. lexicographer.
2. a city in central Massachusetts. 161,799.
3. a city in Hereford and Worcester, in W England, on the Severn: cathedral; Cromwell's defeat of the Scots 1651. 74,300.
4. Worcestershire.

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I
City (pop., 2000: 172,648), central Massachusetts, U.S. On the Blackstone River, the original settlement (1673) of Worcester was disbanded during King Philip's War (1675–76) and a later settlement was established in 1713.

Textile manufacturing began in 1789; the first corduroy cloth in the U.S. was produced there. Industrial development occurred after the opening (1828) of the Blackstone Canal. An early abolitionist centre, Worcester became an important stop on the Underground Railroad. It is a commercial and industrial centre and the state's second largest city. Among its institutions of higher education are College of the Holy Cross and Clark University (1887).
II
City and administrative district (pop., 2001: 93,358), administrative and historic county of Worcestershire, west-central England.

Located on the River Severn, it was settled before AD 680. During the Middle Ages it was an important wool town and also became known for its glove making. Oliver Cromwell and his Parliamentarian army routed Charles II and his Scottish army in the Battle of Worcester, effecting an end to the English Civil Wars. In 1751 John Wall founded the porcelain industry for which the town became famous, and in 1838 the condiment known as Worcestershire sauce was introduced there by Lea & Perrins. The town's noted cathedral (11th–14th century) contains the tombs of King John and Prince Arthur, the eldest son of Henry VII. Cathedral Grammar School and Royal Grammar School were founded in the 16th century.

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      city (district), administrative and historic county of Worcestershire (Worcester), west-central England. Worcester is the historic county town (seat) of Worcestershire. Except for the small residential suburb of St. John's, it lies on the east bank of the River Severn. The city has little river frontage because much of the land adjacent to the river is liable to flooding. Pitchcroft Meadow (on the east bank) is one of the oldest racecourses in England.

      The first recorded occupation of the site was prior to 680 CE, and the cester in its name (from Latin castra, “camp”) suggests earlier Roman habitation. In 1086 the town consisted of a castle, cathedral, and small settlement, all surrounded by a wall and deep ditch. The River Severn was forded at Worcester until 1313, when the first bridge was built.

      During the Middle Ages Worcester was an important wool town, and glove making has been important since the 13th century. Berrow's Worcester Journal, Britain's oldest surviving newspaper, was founded in 1690. In 1751 John Wall founded the porcelain industry for which the town is now famous. Another famous product is Worcestershire, or Worcester, sauce, a complex fermented condiment that was introduced by Lea & Perrins in 1838. Various light engineering concerns are also found in the modern town.

      The town played a crucial role in English history with the Battle of Worcester (1651), which brought to an end the English Civil Wars. Charles II, in an attempt to regain the throne, had gathered together a Scottish army and marched south with it. It reached Worcester on August 22, and the king selected the Commandery (a 16th-century structure located east of the cathedral) as his headquarters. Oliver Cromwell, the leader of the Parliamentary faction, with forces far outnumbering those of the king, attacked the town from both east and west and finally captured it. Charles II managed to escape to France.

      The cathedral has dominated every stage of Worcester's history. Bosel, a monk from Whitby, became the first bishop, in 679 or 680. In 983 Bishop Oswald (St. Oswald) constructed a new cathedral. The present building was begun by Bishop Wulfstan (St. Wulfstan) in 1084, but there have been numerous additions and alterations over the centuries, and little remains of the original except the crypt. In 1224 the Early English-style Lady Chapel and choir were begun, while the present nave and the tower were completed in 1317 and 1374, respectively. A thorough restoration, internal and external, was carried out between 1857 and 1874. Among the notable monuments in the cathedral are the tombs of King John and Prince Arthur, the eldest son of Henry VII.

      The town has two long-established grammar schools: the Cathedral Grammar School (King's School) was founded in 1541, and the Royal Grammar School was given a charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1561. Area 13 square miles (33 square km). Pop. (2001) 94,029.

      city, seat of Worcester county, central Massachusetts, U.S., on the Blackstone River, about midway between Boston and Springfield. A major commercial and industrial centre and the state's second largest city, it is the hub of an urbanized area composed of a number of towns (townships), including Holden, Shrewsbury, Boylston, Millbury, Auburn, and Leicester. The original settlement (1673) was disbanded during King Philip's War (1675–76), and permanent settlement was not realized until 1713. The community was incorporated as a town in 1722 and named for Worcester, England.

      Textile manufacturing began in 1789, and the first corduroy cloth in the United States was produced there. Early economic development was hindered by a lack of waterpower, but, with the advent of steam power and the opening (1828) of the Blackstone Canal linking the community to Providence, Rhode Island, a period of expansion and industrialization began; the building of railway connections further stimulated the city's growth. Modern industries are highly diversified and include the production of metals, textiles, clothing, paper, electrical machinery, and precision instruments. Hospitals, colleges, and other service-related institutions and firms also contribute to the economy.

      The city was an early centre of abolitionist (abolitionism) sentiment and became an important stop on the Underground Railroad, a route for escaped slaves. The Massachusetts branch of the Free-Soil Party, which opposed the extension of slavery, evolved out of a meeting (1848) held in Worcester. The city, a noted educational and cultural centre, is the seat of the College of the Holy Cross (Holy Cross, College of the) (1843; the oldest Roman Catholic college in New England), Worcester Polytechnic Institute (1865), the Worcester State College (1874), Clark University (1887), Assumption College (opened 1904; university status 1950), and the Worcester campus of Becker College (1887). Other institutions include the Worcester Art Museum, the EcoTarium (formerly the New England Science Center), the Worcester Historical Museum, and the Higgins Armory Museum (with a notable collection of medieval armour). The annual Worcester Music Festival, which has provided classical music since 1858, is the oldest music festival in the United States. Lake Quinsigamond and the Quinsigamond State Park are to the north. Inc. city, 1848. Pop. (1990) city, 169,759; Worcester PMSA, 478,384; (2000) city, 172,648; Worcester PMSA, 511,389.

      town, Western Cape province, South Africa. It lies in the Breë River valley, between the rugged Dutoits and Hex River mountains, east-northeast of Cape Town. Worcester was founded in 1820 and attained municipal status in 1842. It is a prominent viticultural centre, and fruit processing and canning, brandy distilling, wool milling, and light manufacturing are its economic mainstays. The town has schools for the blind and the deaf. The Karoo National Botanic Garden (371 acres [150 hectares]), just north of the town, specializes in succulent plants indigenous to the Karoo region. Pop. (2001) 66,349.

      county, extreme southeastern Maryland, U.S., bordered by Delaware to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Virginia to the south, the Pocomoke River to the southwest and northwest, and Dividing Creek to the west. It consists of low-lying coastal plains and includes a string of barrier islands along Chincoteague, Sinepuxent, and Assawoman bays. Parklands include Pocomoke State Forest and Pocomoke River State Park, which is divided into the Milburn and Shad landing areas. The Ocean City resort community is located near Assateague State Park and Assateague Island National Seashore, a 37-mile- (60-km-) long barrier reef known for sheltering wild horses. The county was created in 1742 and probably named for the earl of Worcester. Its seat is Snow Hill.

      Tourism, agriculture (poultry, soybeans, and corn [maize]), and food processing are the economic mainstays. Area 473 square miles (1,226 square km). Pop. (2000) 46,543; (2007 est.) 49,374.

      county, central Massachusetts, U.S., bordered on the north by New Hampshire and on the south by Rhode Island and Connecticut. It is an upland region, the principal streams being the Nashua, Blackstone, Quinebaug, and French rivers. The county also contains Quabbin, Wachusett, and Sudbury reservoirs, as well as Quaboag Pond and Lakes Monomonock and Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (Algonquian: “You Fish on Your Side; I Fish on My Side; Nobody Fishes in the Middle”). There are more than 25 state parklands, notably Lake Dennison State Park and Leominster State Forest.

       Nipmuc Indians inhabited the region when European settlers first arrived in the 17th century. The county was formed in 1731 and named for Worcester, Eng. At the town of Harvard, Ann Lee established a Shaker community in the late 18th century, and transcendentalist Bronson Alcott (Alcott, Bronson) founded a short-lived utopian community in 1843. The industrial city of Worcester is the county seat, the state's second largest city, and the site of the College of the Holy Cross (Holy Cross, College of the) (founded 1843), Clark University (founded 1887), and Worcester Art Museum (opened 1898). Other cities are Gardner, Fitchburg, and Leominster.

      Principal economic activities are agriculture (cattle and poultry) and manufacturing (plastic products and metalworking machinery). Worcester has the largest area of any county in the state. Many residents are of French and Swedish ancestry. Area 1,513 square miles (3,919 square km). Pop. (2000) 750,963; (2007 est.) 781,352.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • WORCESTER — WORCESTER, town in central England. It was founded around 1159 and had a small Jewish population until the late thirteenth century. After the persecutions under John, the regents for Henry Ill confirmed the right of Jews to live there unmolested …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • Worcester — Worcester1 [woos′tər] Joseph Emerson 1784 1865; U.S. lexicographer Worcester2 [woos′tər] 1. city in E England, in Hereford and Worcester: county district pop. 81,000 2. WORCESTERSHIRE 3. city in central Mass.: pop. 173,000 …   English World dictionary

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