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WORCESTERSHIREWorcestershire Crestounty of west central England. Herefordshire and Worcestershire existed as counties until 1974, when they were amalgamated to form the county of Hereford and Worcester; in 1998 this county was divided back into Worcestershire and Herefordshire, which regained their pre -1974 boundaries.

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Local Links Worcestershire County Council - Worcester City Council - Bromsgrove District Council

owns and cities Worcester (administrative headquarters), Bewdley, Bromsgrove, Evesham, Kidderminster, Pershore, Stourport, Tenbury Wells, Upton
rea 1640 sq. km / 1,020 sq. miles
opulation 699,900 (1994)


Broadway TowerWorcestershire is bounded to the north by West Midlands, Staffordshire, and Shropshire; to the west by Herefordshire; to the Southwest by Gloucestershire; and to the east by Warwickshire. The surface of Worcestershire varies, the south and Southwest being hilly, while through the centre run the river valleys, with the Lickey Hills and the Clent Hills in the north. The North Cotswold Hills and Bredon Hill lie along the Southeast border of the county.
Worcestershire is well wooded and contains the two ancient forests of Wyre and Malvern Chase. Canals connect the Severn with the Midland canal system. Rivers include the Severn with tributaries Stour, Teme, and the Avon (running through the fertile Vale of Evesham)
Worcestershire's natural features include the famous Malvern Hills in the Southwest with it's highest peak being the Worcester Beacon which is 425 m / 1,395 feet above sea level.

River Severn at ArleyThe River Severn (Welsh Hafren)

Severn Bore The Severn rises on the slopes of Plynlimon, in Ceredigion, west Wales, and flows east and then south, finally forming a long estuary leading into the Bristol Channel; length 336 km / 208 miles. The Severn is navigable for 290 km / 180 miles, up to Welshpool (Trallwng) on the Welsh border. The principal towns on its course are Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester. England and South Wales are linked by two road bridges and a railway tunnel crossing the Severn.

A remarkable feature of the river is a tidal wave known as the `Severn Bore´ that flows for some miles upstream and can reach a height of 2 m / 6 ft.
The Severn is connected with the rivers Trent and Mersey via the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, and with the canal network around Birmingham via the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, which joins the Severn at Worcester.

ommerce Agriculture: cereals (oats, wheat), fruit (apples, pears), hops, vegetables ; cider; much of the county is under cultivation, a large part being devoted to permanent pasture, notably for Hereford cattle
Industries: carpets (Kidderminster), chemicals, engineering, food processing, needles and fishing tackle (Redditch), porcelain (Worcester), salt
amous people Richard Baxter, Samuel Butler (author of Hudibras), Sir Edward Elgar, A E Housman, William Langland (author of the Vision of Piers Plowman), Francis Brett Young and John Masefield.

Bewdley Railway Station

Dudley ZooDudley
Industrial town and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, 14 km / 9 miles northwest of Birmingham. Formerly an important centre for coalmining and iron-smelting at the heart of the industrial Black Country, Dudley now manufactures clothing, glass, and light engineering products.

Black Country MuseumThe Black Country Museum illustrates the area's industrial heritage and includes reconstructed period buildings. There are ruins of a Norman castle, with a zoo in the grounds, and Dudley has a cricket ground.
Dudley was an important industrial centre from medieval times, with abundant coal, ironstone, limestone, and refractory clay. Coalmining existed in the late 13th century, Black Country Museumand the coalmining and iron-smelting industries expanded in the 17th century. The hand-wrought rail trade flourished in the early 16th century, and the manufacture of glass and bricks began in the early 17th century. Heavy engineering was established later. Dudley's limestone quarries were closed in the 1920s. The success of the Merry Hill shopping centre, built on the site of an old steelworks at Brierley Hill, has triggered a decline in the town centre.

Broadway, a village known as 'The Painted Lady of the Cotswolds is full of honey coloured stone cottages.

Spa town on the east side of the Malvern Hills, which extend for about 16 km / 10 miles and have their high point in Worcester Beacon 425 m / 1,395 ft. The Malvern Festival 1929-39, associated with the playwright G B Shaw and the composer Edward Elgar, was revived 1977. Elgar lived and is buried here.

Market town on the River Avon, on the fringe of the Cotswolds, 24 km / 15 miles southeast of Worcester. Fruit and vegetables are grown in the fertile Vale of Evesham.
At the Battle of Evesham, 4 August 1265, during the Barons' Wars, Prince Edward (the future Edward I) defeated Simon de Montfort, who was killed.
A Benedictine abbey was founded here in 701. Its detached Perpendicular bell tower, built in the 16th century, is 33 m / 108 ft high and contains a clock with chimes and 12 bells. Other remains of the foundation include the 12th-century gateway, a fine arch, and the abbot's stables.

Droitwich, once a Victorian spa, reopened its baths 1985 (the town lies over a subterranean brine reservoir); Three Choirs Festival at Great Malvern The greater part of the county was at one time in the hands of the church, and there were no less than 13 great monastic foundations. Of these there are ruins at Pershore and Evesham, both dating from the 8th century and the priory church at Malvern, also of the same date; and ruins at Bordesley and Astley dating from the 13th century. The county is rich in domestic architecture of the Tudor and Georgian periods, and possesses a number of notable country houses.

The magnificent Worcester cathedral dating from 1084 is home to the tomb of King John and the cathedral overlooks one of the most peaceful and beautiful cricket grounds in the country.

Cathedral city on the River Severn, and administrative headquarters of the county of Worcestershire, Industries include the manufacture of shoes, Worcester sauce, and Royal Worcester porcelain.
The cathedral dates from the 13th and 14th centuries. The birthplace of the composer Elgar at nearby Broadheath is a museum. At the Battle of Worcester in 1651 Oliver Cromwell defeated Charles II.
Worcester was important as early as the 7th century owing to its situation on a ford in the Severn. The city motto, `Faithful in war and peace´, commemorates the royalist support given by Worcester during the civil wars. In 1651 Charles II lodged in the city, and from the cathedral tower watched his forces being routed by Cromwell's troops. Many royalist soldiers were imprisoned in the cathedral after the battle. Worcester has been an episcopal see since 680, but its early history is obscure. In 964 St Oswald founded a new church there for Benedictine monks, and Bishop Wulfstan began rebuilding on a large scale in 1084. King John is buried between the shrines of Oswald and Wulfstan.

The cathedral
The Cathedral of Christ and St Mary the Virgin includes a Norman crypt, an impressive geometrical west window, and a Perpendicular cloister with a well-preserved lavatorium and some carved bosses on the vaulted roof. The circular Norman chapter house and the original refectory, now used by the King's School, remain. The external length of the cathedral is 126 m/413 ft and the central tower (completed 1364) is 60 m/197 ft high. The exterior was extensively restored between 1857 and 1874. The building of the Early English choir and Lady chapel began in 1224, and was effected by bishops De Blois and Cantelupe, whose effigies are in the chapel. The last important addition to the cathedral was Prince Arthur's Chantry, with a magnificent Perpendicular screen, erected by Henry VII in memory of his eldest son. The Three Choirs Festival is held here once every three years.
St Helen's is the oldest church in Worcester, dating back to 680, but rebuilt in the 13th and 15th centuries.
St Andrew's and St Albans are other medieval ecclesiastical structures, but these three churches are not now used as places of worship.

The Commandery
The Commandery, formerly called the Hospital of St Wulfstan, was founded by Wulfstan (1085) for a master, priests, and brethren, under the rule of St Augustine; the present structure is 15th century. At the battle of Worcester in 1651, the Commandery was the headquarters of the royal forces under the Duke of Hamilton, and the royal standard was raised on the hill known as Fort Royal, which at that time was part of the grounds.
Medieval buildings still remain in New Street and Friar Street, the most important being that built in about 1480 by the Grey Friars. In `King Charles's House´ Charles II is said to have hidden after his defeat at Worcester. From `Queen Elizabeth's House´, Queen Elizabeth I, according to tradition, addressed the people when she visited Worcester in 1574. Worcester is rich in Georgian buildings. The Guildhall (1721-23) is the work of Thomas White, a native of Worcester. The Royal Grammar School dates back to the 13th century, when it was supported by the merchants of the Trinity Guild; Elizabeth I granted it a charter in 1561. The Worcester Cathedral King's School was established and endowed out of the monastic funds by Henry VIII in 1541, and reorganized in 1884. More modern buildings include the Shire Hall, the Worcester Royal Infirmary, the Victoria Institute, and Crown Gate, a shopping precinct (1992).

West Midlands Safari ParkFrom medieval times Worcester was the centre of a prosperous glove trade. The firms of Dent's and Fownes', founded in the 18th century, carry on this tradition. The Royal Worcester Porcelain Works was founded in 1751 by `John Wall, doctor of Physic, and William Davis, Apothecary´; Wall was also connected with Worcester Royal Infirmary, which opened in a house in Silver Street in 1745. Engineering, including electrical engineering, and mining are the principal modern industries in Worcester. There are also iron and brass foundries, pattern shops, and machine and fitting shops. Other industries include printing, and the manufacture of furniture and agricultural machinery. Berrow's Worcester Journal traces its history to 1690, and is therefore one of the oldest newspapers in England.

Bewdley 2000 FloodBewdley

Bewdley 2000 FloodTown situated on the River Severn, 22 km / 14 miles northwest of Worcester. A stone bridge designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1801, crosses the Severn here. The old town is now a conservation area and a popular tourist centre. The town is often troubled by flooding from the Severn when rains locally and from the Welsh hills combine to raise the river level to cover the lanes which run alongside the river.
The former Conservative Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, was born in Bewdley.

Bewdley is an ancient town, and its prosperity dates from the 15th century; until the Industrial Revolution it was a river port for traffic between the Bristol Channel and the Birmingham area.