Historic Towns and Villages in Worcestershire
This page Abberley - Malvern
Abberley is an attractive town with a 19th century church, topped by a clock tower that rises to 160 feet in height. This is not the oldest church in Abberley, however, for beside the rectory is a ruined Norman church built upon a much earlier Saxon foundation. Nearby at Stockton stands The Elms, an 18th century manor (now a hotel) designed by Gilbert White, who studied under Christopher Wren.
Bewdley stands at a crossing of the River Severn, at the edge of the Wyre Forest. The major road bridge across the river was designed in 1798 by the famous Scottish engineer, Thomas Telford, who also built the Severn Suspension Bridge. At one time Bewdley was a major inland harbour, and that prosperity is remembered in a large number of attractive Georgian century buildings in the town centre.
The village of Bredon lies at the foot of Bredon Hill, beside the River Avon. The hill is 991 feet in height, a fact which prompted the building of Parson's Folly in the 18th century to make it exactly 1000 feet to the top of the folly! Parson's Folly stands inside large Iron Age earthworks. During the 1st century the hillfort was defended against the Roman army in a desparate and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to withstand the Roman invasion.
One of the prettiest and most popular villages of the Cotswolds, Broadway has long been a destination for tourists, drawn by the lovely honey-coloured architecture and the wide high street that gives the village its name. Above the village is Broadway Tower, a striking folly that was once the home of Arts and Crafts pioneer William Morris.
Bromsgrove is a market town in Worcestershire, about midway between Worcester and Birmingham. A royal estate in the Norman period, the origins of the town go back to at least the Saxon period. Bromsgrove was granted a market charter in 1200, and in the later Middle ages it was a centre for the wool trade. Perhaps the most intriguing historic building is Grafton Manor, which dates to the 14th century.
Droitwich's major claim to fame is as a spa town, but there are good reasons to visit even if you've no intention of following in the footsteps of those who came to "take the waters". Within the area are four enjoyable historic houses, including Westwood House, a Jacobean mansion of brick set behind a an impressive gatehouse.
Elmley Castle is a very pretty village at the base of Bredon Hill. There are a large number of attractive timber-framed cottages, and the medieval church of St Mary contains several interesting pieces of medieval sculpture. A trail leads from the village to the earthwork remains of a Norman castle on the slopes of Bredon Hill.
A Benedictine abbey was founded here in 710 AD, on the banks of the River Avon, on a spot where a herdsman had a vision of the Virgin Mary. As the abbey grew in size and importance, so did the town of Evesham. The most famous moment in Evesham's history came in 1265 when Simon de Montfort led his rebel troops to defeat here against Prince Edward, the future Edward I. There are two historic churches within the old abbey precincts, one 12th century (All Saints) and one 16th century (St Lawrence).
Hanbury is a pretty hamlet between Droitwich and Bromsgrove. The village is best known for Hanbury Hall, a marvellous William and Mary house that was owned by the Vernon family for over 300 years. The Hall is now in the care of the National Trust, and stands amid 400 acres of park and gardens. There may have been an early Christian church at Hanbury as early as the 4th century, but there was certainly a Saxon minster at Hanbury as early as the 6th century, most likely located on Church Hill. The Mercian kings established a royal hunting park near here, but by the medieval period the manor belonged to the Bishops of Worcester.
There are no less than six 'Malverns' nestled against the bulk of the Malvern Hills. The oldest historic building is Malvern Abbey, founded in 1085 but rebuilt in the 15th century. There was a 12th century priory at Little Malvern, and the refectory and priory church still survive. Malvern owes its heritage as a spa town to the pure spring waters that tumble down from the hills. More than a million bottles of Malver Water are sold around the world each year. In the Victorian period people flocked here to drink the waters, and Malvern became a fashionable resort. Atop Herefordshire Beacon, above Little Malvern, is an Iron age hillfort.
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