The Commandery is most famous for being the Royalist Headquarters during the deciding battle of the English Civil War – the Battle of Worcester 1651.
The Commandery was given a dramatic new purpose in 1651 when Charles Stuart (later Charles II) marched into Worcester on the 22nd August 1651 at the head of 13,000 men and set up his Headquarters in the city. William, 2nd Duke of Hamilton, was the Royalist Commander in Chief and he and other officers were billeted at The Commandery.
Charles’ Royalist army had marched from Sterling in Scotland to Worcester, covering 350 miles in just three weeks. When they arrived in Worcester the soldiers, most of whom were Scots, were under equipped, some without shoes and their clothing in rags.
The Royalist troops spent the next two weeks preparing the city’s defences, including the fortification of Fort Royal Hill behind The Commandery and City Walls alongside the building.
On the 3rd September 1651, battle commenced at around noon with an attack from Oliver Cromwell’s 28,000 strong ‘New Model Army’. The battlefield covered a seven mile front from Powick to Red Hill, including the entire modern-day city.
After several strategic gains, the Royalists quickly faltered at the Sidbury Gate outside The Commandery and many soldiers were killed as they tried to flee. To commemorate those who lost their lives at the Battle of Worcester, an annual ceremony takes place on Fort Royal Hill on the 3 of September. The Duke of Hamilton was carried back into The Commandery with blood pouring from a wound in his leg, and he died about a week later. It is said that Hamilton’s body was hastily buried under The Commandery floor, before being exhumed and reburied in Worcester Cathedral.
Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU