Worcester's cathedral ferryman hangs up his oars after 41 years  - The Worcester Observer

Worcester's cathedral ferryman hangs up his oars after 41 years 

Worcester Editorial 31st May, 2024   0

WORCESTERS founding cathedral ferryman is retiring after 41 years of service.

Since 1983, Mark Glossop has been at the helm of the ferry service that has rowed countless passengers across the River Severn from the Water Gate, maintaining a tradition that dates back over 600 years.

The Cathedral Ferry has a storied history, originating in the 12th century when it provided a direct and convenient crossing for monks and milkmaids traveling to work in the meadows and the Priory of Hardwick in St John’s.

The service operated daily until the late 1950s but was revived in 1983 with the launch of the current boat, ‘Doris’.

Mark’s involvement began when Nicola Milne, wife of the then head master of King’s School, reached out to him over concerns about students’ lengthy walk to playing fields across the river.

With her encouragement, Mark helped initiate a fundraising campaign to restart the ferry service.




Mark has not only rowed the ferry but also dedicated himself to maintaining it, including uncovering long-lost steps on the opposite riverbank and installing new railings.

The ferry has provided more than just a mode of transport – it offers passengers a unique perspective of Worcester Cathedral and a connection to centuries of local history.


Mark said: “It has been a pleasure rowing people across the river for the past four decades, but I’m 88 now, and the time has come to hand over to the next generation.

“I have met some interesting people and seen some sights over the years, including transporting a cohort of Women’s Institute members dressed in mid-19th century costumes, wedding parties, ale festival goers, and visitors from all over the world. I will miss it, but it will still be here for all to enjoy.”

The Cathedral Ferry continues to operate on Saturdays and on Sundays and Mondays of Bank Holiday weekends from April to September, between 1:15pm and 5:15pm, weather permitting.

Interim dean of Worcester, Canon Stephen Edwards, said: “The Cathedral Ferry offers a perfect view of the Cathedral from the beauty of the river but it also provides a practical link for passengers wanting a quicker journey across to the other bank.

“Mark’s amazing service in restarting and then maintaining this historic link deserves much praise and thanksgiving.

“Thanks to his dedication the Cathedral Ferry remains part of the rich culture of the city.”

Over the years, the Cathedral Ferry has raised over £20,000 for various charities, including the Cathedral, St Richard’s and Acorns Hospices, Maggs Day Centre, and the Sea Scouts.

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