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Worcestershire
WorcsCoatArms.jpg
EnglandWorcestershire.png
Geography
Status Ceremonial & Non-metropolitan county
Origin Historic
Region West Midlands
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 34th
1,741 km2 (672 sq mi)
Ranked 29th
Admin HQ Worcester
ISO 3166-2 GB-WOR
ONS code 47
NUTS 3 UKG12
Demography
Population
- Total (2008 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
Ranked 38th
557,600
320 /km2 (829/sq mi)
Ranked 21st
Ethnicity 97.5% White
1.1% S.Asian
Politics

Worcestershire County Council
http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/
Executive Conservative
Members of Parliament
Districts
WorcestershireNumbered.png
  1. Worcester
  2. Malvern Hills
  3. Wyre Forest
  4. Bromsgrove
  5. Redditch
  6. Wychavon

Worcestershire (pronounced /ˈwʊstərʃər/ ( listen) WOOS-tər-shər) or /ˈwʊstərʃɪər/ WOOS-tər-sheer; abbreviated Worcs) is a non-metropolitan county, established in antiquity, located in the West Midlands region of central England. In 1974 it was merged with the neighbouring county of Herefordshire to form the county of Hereford and Worcester; which was divided in 1998, re-establishing Worcestershire once more as an independent entity. Following the 1998 reform the crest of the Malvern Hills forms the east–west border between the two counties, with the exception of the parish of West Malvern in Worcestershire.

The county borders Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire. To the west, the county is bordered by the Malvern Hills, and the spa town of Malvern. The southern part of the county is bordered by Gloucestershire and the northern edge of the Cotswolds, and to the east is Warwickshire. There are two major rivers flowing through the county, the Severn and the Avon.

The cathedral city of Worcester is the largest settlement and administrative seat of the county, which includes the principal settlements of Bromsgrove, Stourport-on-Severn, Droitwich, Evesham, Kidderminster, Malvern, and the largest town, Redditch, and a number of smaller towns such as Pershore, Tenbury Wells, and Upton upon Severn. The northern part of the county includes the beginnings of the vast urban sprawl of the industrial West Midlands agglomeration, while the remainder and the south of the county is largely rural.

Contents

Language

There are many accents and dialects within Worcestershire. The county's northern commuter towns such as Redditch and Kidderminster have had an influx of the Black Country accent which has affected the accents of Bromsgrove and parts of Redditch and formed a new accent unique to those towns. The rest of the county has retained the distinctive tones of the West Country accent, typified and made famous by the The Archers, the world's longest running radio soap opera, set in a fictional county situated somewhere between the (in reality, bordering) counties of Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

History

Absorbed by the Kingdom of Mercia during the 7th century and then by the unified Kingdom of England from 927 to 1707, it was a separate ealdormanship briefly in the 10th century before forming part of the Earldom of Mercia in the 11th century. In the years leading up to the Norman conquest, the Church, including the cathedral, Evesham Abbey, Pershore Abbey, Malvern Priory and other religious houses, increasingly dominated county. The last known Anglo-Saxon sheriff of the county was Cyneweard of Laughern, and the first Norman sheriff was Urse d'Abetot who built the castle of Worcester and seized much church land. Worcestershire was the site of the Battle of Evesham in which Simon de Montfort was killed on 4 August 1265. In 1642, the site of the Battle of Powick Bridge the first major skirmish of the English Civil War, and the Battle of Worcester in 1651 that effectively ended it.

During the Middle Ages, much of the county's economy was based on the wool trade, and many areas of its dense forests, such as Malvern Chase, were royal hunting grounds. In the nineteenth century, Worcester was a centre for the manufacture of gloves; the town of Kidderminster became a centre for carpet manufacture, and Redditch specialised in the manufacture of needles, springs and hooks. Droitwich Spa, being situated on large deposits of salt, was a centre of salt production from Roman times, with one one of the principal Roman roads running through the town. These old industries have since declined, to be replaced by other, more varied light industry. The county is also home to the world's oldest continually published newspaper, the Berrow's Journal, established in 1690. Malvern was one of the centres of the 19th century rise in English spa towns due to Malvern Water being believed to be very pure, containing "nothing at all".[1]

Local government

Worcestershire's boundaries have been fluid for over a hundred years since the abolition of the form of local administration known as the Hundreds in 1889, but the continual expansion of Birmingham and the Black Country during and after the Industrial Revolution altered the county map considerably.

1884–1911

Worcestershire County Council came into existence following the Local Government Act 1888 and covered the historic traditional county, except for two designated county boroughs at Dudley and Worcester. The county also had many exclaves and enclaves, which were areas of land cut off from the main geographical area of Worcestershire and completely surrounded by the adjoining counties of Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Oxfordshire. The most noticeable were Dudley and the area around Shipston-on-Stour. In return, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Shropshire had their own exclaves within Worcestershire. These were found at Clent, Tardebigge and Halesowen/Oldbury (or the Halesowen Parish area) respectively and were transferred to or rejoined Worcestershire in October 1844 following the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844. This Act of Parliament was designed to eradicate the issue of 'islands' or 'exclaves', however Shipston-on-Stour remained associated with Worcestershire until April 1931 and likewise Dudley until 1966. The southern boundary of the county was also confusing, with parish boundaries penetrating deep into Gloucestershire and vice-versa. This was also eventually resolved following the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844.

Birmingham's continuous expansion has been a large contributory factor to Worcestershire's fluid boundary changes and associated housing issues. In November 1909, Quinton Urban District was ceded to Birmingham and was followed by Yardley, Northfield and Kings Heath in November 1911. As a consequence of the transfer to Birmingham, these areas were no longer part of Worcestershire and became associated with Warwickshire. Dudley's historical status within the Diocese of Worcester and through its aristocratic links ensured that the island was governed on a largely autonomous basis. Worcester was also self-governing and was known as The City and County of Worcester.

1966–1974

During the Local Government reorganisation of April 1966, Dudley expanded beyond its historical boundaries and took in Sedgley, Brierley Hill, Coseley and part of Amblecote. The Local Government Act redefined its status and County Borough of Dudley became part of Staffordshire, the county which all of these areas had been part of. At the same time, Worcestershire gained a new county borough known as Warley, which was an amalgamation of Oldbury Urban District, Rowley Regis Urban District, the County Borough of Smethwick and parts of Tipton. The Oakham area of Dudley, which was already in Worcestershire was transferred to the new county borough. During these reorganisations, the area of the county council grew only where Stourbridge took in the majority of Amblecote Urban District from Staffordshire and the designation of Redditch in 1964 as a New Town. This in turn saw expansion into the area in and around the villages of Ipsley and Matchborough in Warwickshire. The Redditch New Town designation coincided with a considerable programme of social and private house building in Droitwich, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Kidderminster and along the Birmingham boundary at Frankley, Rubery and Rednal. Frankley would later be transferred from Bromsgrove to Birmingham control in April 1995.

1974–present

From 1974, the central and southern part of the county was amalgamated with Herefordshire and Worcester County Borough to form a single non-metropolitan county of Hereford and Worcester. The County Boroughs of Dudley and Warley along with Stourbridge and Halesowen were incorporated into the new West Midlands Metropolitan county. The West Midlands County Council existed for only a short period before abolition in April 1986 by the Government, though legally exists to this day as an administrative county and ceremonial county.

In the 1990s UK local government reform, the decision was taken to abolish Hereford and Worcester, with the new non-metropolitan county or shire county of Worcestershire regaining its historic border with Herefordshire.

The new county still excluded towns such as Stourbridge, Halesowen, Dudley and Oldbury, due to the reorganisation's remit of dealing with only non-metropolitan counties in England. The new County of Worcestershire came into existence on 1 April 1998 as an administrative county and ceremonial county, although some cross-boundary organisations and resources are shared with the Herefordshire unitary authority, these include waste management and the youth offending service.

The post-April 1974 Hereford & Worcester districts of Redditch, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Wychavon and Wyre Forest were retained with little or no change. However the Leominster and Malvern Hills districts crossed over the historic border, so a new Malvern Hills district was constituted which straddled the pre-April 1974 county boundary to the west, south-west and north-west.

See also: List of Worcestershire boundary changes

Broadway Tower, one of several Worcestershire follies

Worcestershire County Council Election Results

Year Conservative
Party
Liberal
Democrats
Labour
Party
Liberal
Party
Health Concern Independent Wythall
Residents
2005 30 8 15 2 1 1 0
2009 42 8 3 1 2 0 1

Physical geography

Worcestershire is a fairly rural county. The Malvern Hills, which run from the south of the county into Herefordshire, are made up mainly of volcanic igneous rock and metamorphic rock, some of which date from before 1200 million years ago. For more on the geology of the Malvern Hills, see the External links.

Culture, media and sport

Football is the most popular sport in the county, and by far the largest and most successful football club in the county is Kidderminster Harriers F.C.. In 2000 they became the first Worcestershire club to compete in The Football League. The county is also represented by Worcester City of the Blue Square Premier South & Bromsgrove Rovers of the Southern Football League.

The county is home to the Worcestershire County Cricket Club, traditionally first stop on for the touring national side's schedule in England. The Club's players have included Imran Khan, Tom Graveney, Ian Botham, Glenn McGrath, Graeme Hick, Kapil Dev, Vikram Solanki, Don Kenyon and Basil D'Oliveira. Worcester Rugby Football Club, the Worcester Warriors, whose ground is at Sixways, Worcester, were promoted to the Guinness Premiership in 2004.

The village of Broadheath, about 6 miles (10 km) North-West of the city of Worcester, is the birthplace of the composer Edward Elgar.

Malvern is the home of the Malvern Fringe Festival, one of the oldest festivals of its kind in the world.[2]

Radio in Worcestershire

BBC Hereford & Worcester, Wyvern FM and Sunshine Radio broadcast to both Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The Wyre broadcasts to the north west of Worcestershire. Youthcomm Radio, a Community radio station, broadcasts to the city of Worcester. Birmingham-based radio stations such as BBC Radio WM and BRMB have traditionally considered the bordering areas of Worcestershire as part of their broadcast area. The Birmingham based West Midlands regional stations, such as Heart and Smooth Radio regionals also cover much of the county.

In 2007 the Office of Communications (Ofcom) awarded a DAB Digital Radio multiplex licence for Herefordshire & Worcestershire to MuxCo Ltd. who aim to provide several new stations in 2009, while also providing a digital platform for Wyvern FM, Sunshine Radio and BBC Hereford & Worcester and area extensions to United Christian Broadcasters and the Highways Agency. In 2008, CE Birmingham, who own and operate the Birmingham local DAB multiplex licencees improved coverage of DAB Digital Radio across other parts of the county to include Worcester and Malvern. Services that can be heard reasonably across much of Worcestershire are: BRMB, Chill, Gold (Birmingham), Magic Radio, Sunrise Radio, Traffic Radio (Midlands), BBC Radio WM, Xfm (Midlands) and Radio XL.

Demography

Population totals for Worcestershire
Year Population Year Population Year Population
1801 107,151 1871 209,850 1941 294,660
1811 119,464 1881 229,455 1951 331,943
1821 135,658 1891 240,762 1961 374,267
1831 152,634 1901 250,620 1971 422,495
1841 159,862 1911 261,428 1981 477,538
1851 170,638 1921 261,533 1991 524,021
1861 190,244 1931 261,960 2001 542,107
Pre-1974 statistics were gathered from local government areas that now comprise Worcestershire
Source: Great Britain Historical GIS.[3]

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Worcestershire at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added[4] Agriculture[5] Industry[6] Services[7]
1995 5,047 225 1,623 3,200
2000 6,679 159 2,002 4,518
2003 7,514 182 1,952 5,380

Industry and Agriculture

Fruit farming and the cultivation of hops were traditional agricultural activities in much of the county. During the latter half of the 20th century, this has largely declined with the exception southern area of the county around the Vale of Evesham, where orchards a re still worked on a commercial scale. Worcester City's coat of arms includes three black pears, representing a now rare local pear variety, the Worcester Black Pear. The county's coat of arms follows this theme, having a pear tree with black pears. The apple variety known as Worcester Pearmain originates from Worcestershire, and the Pershore plum comes from the small Worcestershire town of that name, and is widely grown in that area. John Drinkwater, the poet, wrote

Who travels Worcester county takes any road that comes when April tosses bounty to the cherries and the plums.

Worcestershire is also famous for a number of its non-agricultural products. The original Worcestershire sauce, a savoury condiment made by Lea and Perrins, is made in Worcester, and the now closed Royal Porcelain works was based in the city. The town of Malvern is the home of the Morgan traditional sports car. The painting, A Worcestershire Cottage by Arthur Claude Strachan is also of general renown.

Education

Worcestershire has a comprehensive school system with sixteen independent schools including the RGS Worcester, The King's School, Worcester, Malvern St James and Malvern College. State schools in Worcester, the Wyre Forest District, and the Malvern Hills District are two-tier primary schools and secondary schools whilst Redditch and Bromsgrove have a three-tier system of first, middle and high schools. Several schools in the county provide Sixth-form education including two in the city of Worcester. Several vocational colleges provide GCSE and A-level courses and adult education, such as South Worcestershire College, and an agricultural campus of Warwickshire College in Pershore.

Towns and villages

The county town and only city is Worcester. The other major settlements, Kidderminster, Bromsgrove and Redditch are satellite towns of Birmingham. There are also several market towns: Malvern, Bewdley, Evesham, Droitwich Spa, Pershore, and Tenbury Wells.

For a full list of settlements, see list of places in Worcestershire.

Places of interest

Local groups

See also

External links

Footnotes

  1. ^ Bottled Waters of the World. Retrieved 9 August 2009
  2. ^ Wikipedia Fringe theatre.
  3. ^ A Vision of Britain through time, Worcestershire Modern (post 1974) County: Total Population, http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/data_cube_page.jsp?data_theme=T_POP&data_cube=N_TOT_POP&u_id=10089839&c_id=10001043&add=N, retrieved 2010-02-21 
  4. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  5. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  6. ^ includes energy and construction
  7. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

References


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Worcestershire is a county in the West Midlands in England.

Map of Worcestershire
Map of Worcestershire
  • Worcester -- the county town.
  • Bewdley - charming market town on the River Severn
  • Bromsgrove - a town.
  • Droitwich - a town.
  • Evesham -- a market town.
  • Kidderminster - town
  • Malvern - a historic spa town, and the gateway to the Malvern Hills.
  • Redditch - a town.
  • Stourport-on-Severn - a town.
  • Broadway -- small village in the Cotswolds often referred to as the Jewel of the Cotswolds.

Get around

Bewdley Museum - Resident crafts people, fascinating indoor & outdoor displays, daily traditional craft deomonstrations, varied events, activities & exhbitions. Delightful gardens & cafe.

Stay safe

As with the rest of the UK, in any emergency call 999 or 112 (from a land-line if you can) and ask for Ambulance, Fire or Police when connected.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WORCESTERSHIRE, a midland county of England, bounded N. by Staffordshire, E. by Warwickshire, S. by Gloucestershire, W. by Herefordshire, and N.W. by Shropshire. The area is 751 sq. m. It covers a portion of the rich valleys of the Severn and Avon, with their tributary valleys and the hills separating them. The Severn runs through the county from N. at Bewdley to S. near Tewkesbury, traversing the Vale of Worcester. Following this direction it receives from the E. the Stour at Stourport, the Salwarpe above Worcester, and the Avon, whose point of junction is just outside the county. The Avon valley is known in this county as the Vale of Evesham, and is devoted to orchards and market gardening. The Cotteswold Hills rise sharply from it on the S.E., of which Bredon Hill, within this county, is a conspicuous spur. The Avon forms the county boundary with Gloucestershire for a short distance above its mouth. The Teme joins the Severn from the W. below Worcester, and forms short stretches of the W. boundary. Salmon and lampreys are taken in the Severn; trout and grayling abound in the Teme and its feeders. Besides the Cotteswolds, the most important hills are the Malvern and the Lickey or Hagley ranges. The Malverns rise abruptly from the flat Vale of Worcester on the W. boundary, being partly in Herefordshire, and reach a height of 1395 ft. in the Worcester Beacon, and 1114 in the Hereford Beacon. They are divided by the Teme from a lower N. continuation, the Abberley Hills. The Lickey Hills cross the N.E. corner of the county, rarely exceeding l000 ft. Their N. part is called the Clent Hills. Partly within the county are the sites of two ancient forests. That of Wyre, bordering the Severn on the W. in the N. of Worcestershire and in Shropshire, retains to some extent its ancient character; but Malvern Chase, which clothed the slopes of the Malvern Hills, is hardly recognizable.

Table of contents

Geology

Archean gneisses and schists (Malvernian) and volcanic rocks (Uriconian) form the core of the Malvern Hills; being the most durable rocks in the district, they form the highest ground. Similarly tuffs and volcanic grits (Barnt Green rocks) crop out in the Lickey Hills near Bromsgrove. They are succeeded by the Cambrian rocks (Hollybush Sandstone and Malvern Shales), which are well developed at the S. end of the Malvern Hills, where in places the A.rchean rocks have been thrust over them. The Lickey Quartzite, probably of the same age as the Hollybush Sandstone, is extensively quarried for roadstone. Strata of Ordovician age being absent in Worcestershire, the Silurian rocks rest unconformably on the earlier formations; they include the Upper Llandovery, Wenlock and Ludlow series. These dip steeply W. from the Malvern and Abberley axis and plunge under the Old Red Sandstone; some of the lower beds are represented at the Lickey, while the Wenlock Limestone forms some sharp anticlines at Dudley. The Silurian strata are rich in marine fossils, and the included limestones (Woolhope, Wenlock and Aymestry) are all represented in the Malvern district. The Old Red Sandstone succeeds the Silurian on the W. borders of the county. The Carboniferous Limestone and Millstone Grit were not deposited, so that the Coal Measures rest unconformably on the older rocks. These are represented in the Wyre Forest coalfield near Bewdley and in the S. end of the S. Staffordshire coalfield near Halesowen; they contain rich seams of coal and ironstone and several intrusions of basalt (dhustone, Rowley-rag). The so-called Permian red rocks are now grouped with the Coal Measures; some intercalated breccias cap the Clent Hills (1036 ft.). The Triassic red rocks - unconformable to all below - cover the centre of the county, and on the W. are faulted against the older rocks of the Malverns; they include the Bunter sandstones and pebble-beds, and the Keuper sandstones and marls, the beds of rock-salt in the latter yielding brine-springs (Droitwich, Stoke Prior). A narrow and seldom-exposed outcrop of Rhaetic beds introduces the marine Liassic formation which occupies most of the S.E. of the county; the Lower Lias consists of blue clays and limestones; the latter are burnt for lime and yield abundant ammonites. The sands and limestones of the Middle Lias and the clays of the Upper Lias are present in the lower slopes of Bredon Hill and of the Cotteswolds, and are succeeded by the sands and oolitic limestones of the Inferior Oolite. Glacial deposits - boulder-clay, isolated boulders, sand and gravel - are met with in many parts of the county, while later valley-gravels have yielded remains of mammoth, rhinoceros, &c. Coal, ironstone, salt, limestone and roadstone are the chief mineral products.

Climate and Agriculture

The climate is generally equable and healthy, and is very favourable to the cultivation of fruit, vegetables and hops, for which Worcestershire has long held a high reputation, the red marls and the rich loams being good both for market gardens and tillage. About .five-sixths of the area of the county is under cultivation, and of this about five-eighths is in permanent pasture. Orchards are extensive, and there are large tracts of woodland. Wheat and oats are the principal grain crops. Turnips are grown on about one-third of the green crop acreage, and potatoes on about one-fourth. There is a considerable acreage under beans. In the neighbourhood of Worcester there are large nurseries.

Industries

In the N. Worcester includes a portion of the Black Country, one of the most active industrial districts in England. Dudley, Netherton and Brierley Hill, Stourbridge, Halesowen, Oldbury and the S. and W. suburbs of Birmingham, have a vast population engaged in iron-working in all its branches, from engineering works to nail-making, in the founding and conversion, galvanizing, finishing and extracting of metals, in chemical and glass works. Worcester is famous for porcelain, Kidderminster for carpets and Redditch for needles, fish-hooks, &c. Salt is produced from brine at Droitwich and Stoke. The fire-clays and limestone of the N. unite with the coal measures to form a basis of the industries in the Black Country. Furniture, clothing and paper-making and leather-working are also important.

Communications

The Great Western railway serves Evesham, Worcester, Droitwich and Kidderminster, with branches from Worcester to Malvern and into Herefordshire, from Kidderminster to Tenbury and the W., and from the same junction to Dudley and Birmingham. The London & North-Western system touches Dudley. .The Midland company's line between Derby, Birmingham and Bristol runs from N. to S. through the county, with a branch diverging through Droitwich and Worcester, another serving Malvern from Ashchurch, and an alternative route from Birmingham to Ashchurch by Redditch and Evesham. The Severn is an important highway; the Avon, though locked up to Evesham, is little used save by pleasure-boats. Canals follow the courses of the Stour and the Salwarpe, and serve the towns of the Black Country.

Administration and Population

The area of the ancient county is 480,560 acres, with a population in 1901 of 488,338. The area of the administrative county is 480,0J9 acres. The county is of very irregular shape, and has detached portions enclaved in Herefordshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire. It comprises five hundreds. The municipal boroughs are Bewdley (2866), Droitwich (4201), Dudley (48,733), Evesham (7101), Kidderminster (24,681) and Worcester (46,624). Dudley and the city and county town of Worcester are county boroughs. The urban districts are Bromsgrove (8418), King's Norton and Northfield (57,122;(57,122; forming a S. suburb of Birmingham), Lye and Wollescote (10,976; adjacent to Stourbridge), Malvern (16,449), North Bromsgrove (5688), Oldbury (25,191), Redditch (13493), Stourbridge (16,302) and Stourport (4529). Halesowen (4057), Pershore (3348), Tenbury (2080) and Uptonupon-Severn (2225) may be mentioned among other towns. The county is in the Oxford circuit, and assizes are held at Worcester. It has one court of quarter-sessions, and is divided into 17 petty sessional divisions. Worcester and Dudley have ,separate courts of quarter-sessions, and all the boroughs have commissions of the peace. The total number of civil parishes is 239. The ancient county, which is mostly in the diocese of Worcester, with a few parishes in that of Hereford, contains 231 ecclesiastical parishes or districts wholly or in part. The county contains five parliamentary divisions - West or Bewdley, East, South or Evesham, Mid or Droitwich, and North or Oldbury. The parliamentary boroughs of Kidderminster and Worcester return one member each, and parts of the boroughs of Dudley and Birmingham are included in the county.

History

The earliest English settlers in the district now known as Worcestershire were a tribe of the Hwiccas of Gloucestershire, who spread along the Severn and Avon valleys in the 6th century. By 679 the Hwiccan kingdom was formed into a separate diocese with its see at Worcester, and the Hwiccas had made themselves masters of the modern county, with the exception of the N.W. corner beyond the Abberley Hills. From this date the town of Worcester became not only the religious centre of the district, but the chief point of trading and military communication between England and Wales. A charter of the reign of Alfred alludes to the erection of a "burh" at Worcester by Edward and iEthelflead, and it was after the recovery of Mercia from the Danes by Edward that the shire originated as an administrative area. The first political event recorded by the Saxon Chronicle in Worcestershire is the destruction of Worcester by Hardicanute in 1041 in revenge for the murder of two of his tax-gatherers by the citizens.

In no county has the monastic movement played a more important part than in Worcestershire. Foundations existed at Worcester, Evesham, Pershore and Fladbury in the 8th century; at Great Malvern in the 11th century, and in the 12th and 13th centuries at Little Malvern, Westwood, Bordesley, Whistones, Cookhill, Dudley, Halesowen and Astley. At the time of the Domesday Survey more than half Worcestershire was in the hands of the church. The church of Worcester held the triple hundred of Oswaldslow, with such privileges as to exclude the sheriff's jurisdiction entirely, the profits of all the local courts accruing to the bishop, whose bailiffs in 1276 claimed to hold his hundred outside Worcester, at Dryhurst, and at Wimborntree. The two hundreds owned by the church of Westminster, and that owned by Pershore, had in the r3th century been combined to form the hundred of Pershore, while the hundred of Evesham owned by Evesham Abbey had been converted into Blakenhurst hundred; and the irregular boundaries and outlying portions of these hundreds are explained by their having been formed out of the scattered endowments of their ecclesiastical owners. Of the remaining Domesday hundreds, Came, Clent, Cresselaw and Esch had been combined to form the hundred of Halfshire by the 13th century, while Doddingtree remained unchanged. The shire-court was held at Worcester.

The vast possessions of the church prevented the growth of a great territorial aristocracy in Worcestershire, and Dudley Castle, which passed from William Fitz-Ansculf to the families of Paynel and Someri, was the sole residence of a feudal baron. The Domesday fief of Urse d'Abitot the sheriff, founder of Worcester Castle, and of his brother Robert le Despenser passed in the 12th century to the Beauchamps, who owned Elmley and Hanley Castles. The possessions of William Fitz Osbern in Doddingtree hundred and the Teme valley fell to the crown after his rebellion in 1074 and passed to the Mortimers. Hanley Castle and Malvern Chase were granted by Henry III. to Gilbert de Clare, with exemption from the sheriff's jurisdiction.

The early political history of Worcestershire centres round the city of Worcester. In the Civil War of the r 7th century Worcestershire was conspicuously loyal. On the retreat of Essex from Worcester in 1642 the city was occupied by Sir William Russell for the king, and only surrendered in 1646. In 1642 Prince Rupert defeated the parliamentary troops near Powick. Sudeley Castle surrendered in 1644, and Dudley and Hartlebury by command of the king in 1646.

The Droitwich salt-industry was very important at the time of the Domesday Survey, Bromsgrove alone sending 300 cartloads of wood yearly to the salt-works. In the 13th and 14th centuries Bordesley monastery and the abbeys of Evesham and Pershore exported wool to the Florentine and Flemish markets, and in the 16th century the Worcestershire clothing industry gave employment to 8000 people; fruit-culture with the manufacture of cider and perry, nail-making and glass-making also flourished at this period. The clothing industry declined in the 17th century, but the silk-manufacture replaced it at Kidderminster and Blockley. Coal and iron were mined at Dudley in the 13th century.

As early as 1295 Worcestershire was represented by sixteen members in parliament, returning two knights for the shire and two burgesses each for the city of Worcester and the boroughs of Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Dudley, Evesham, Kidderminster and Pershore. With the exception of Droitwich, however, which was represented until 1311 and again recovered representation in 1554, the boroughs ceased to make returns. Evesham was re-enfranchised in 1604, and in 1606 Bewdley returned one member. Under the Reform Act of 1832 the county returned four members in two divisions; Droitwich lost one member; Dudley and Kidderminster were re-enfranchised, returning one member each. In 1867 Evesham lost one member.

Antiquities

Remains of early camps are scarce, but there are examples at Berrow Hill near the Teme, W. of Worcester, at Round Hill by Spetchley, 3 m. E. of Worcester, and on the Herefordshire Beacon. Roman remains have been discovered on a few sites, as at Kempsey on the Severn, S. of Worcester, at Ripple, in the S. near Upton, and at Droitwich. There are remains of the great abbeys at Evesham and Pershore, and the fine priory church at Malvern, besides the cathedral at Worcester. There are further monastic remains at Halesowen and atBordesley near Redditch, and there was a Benedictine priory at Astley, 3 m. S.W. of Stourport. There are fine churches in several of the larger towns, as Bromsgrove. The village churches are generally of mixed styles. Good Norman work remains in those of Martley, 8 m. N.W. of Worcester, Astley, Rous Lench in the Evesham district, Bredon near Pershore, and Bockleton in the N.W. of the county; while the Early English churches of Kempsey and Ripple are noteworthy. In domestic architecture, the half-timbered style adds to the picturesqueness of many streets in the towns and villages; and among country houses this style is well exemplified in Birts Morton Court and Eastington Hall, in the district S. of Malvern, in Elmley Lovett Manor between Droitwich and Kidderminster, and in Pirton Court near Kempsey. Westwood Park is a mansion of the 16th and 17th centuries, with a picturesque gatehouse of brick; the site was formerly occupied by a Benedictine nunnery. Madresfield Court, between Worcester and Malvern, embodies remains of a fine Elizabethan moated mansion.

See Victoria County History, Worcestershire; T. R. Nash, Collections for the History of Worcestershire (2 vols., London, 1 7 81 - 1 799); Sir Charles Hastings, Illustrations of the Natural History of Worcestershire (London, 1834); W. D. Curzon, Manufacturing Industries of Worcestershire (Birmingham, 1883); W. S. Brassington, Historic Worcestershire (Birmingham, 1893). See also publications of the Worcester Historical Society.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Worcestershire

Plural
-

Worcestershire

  1. A midland county of England bordered by Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

Related terms


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

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Worcestershire
File:EnglandWorcestershire.png
Geography
Status Ceremonial & Non-metropolitan county
Region West Midlands
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 34th
1,741 km² (672.2 sq mi)
Ranked 29th

<tr><th>Admin HQ</th><td class="label">Worcester</td></tr><tr><th>ISO 3166-2</th><td>GB-WOR</td></tr>

ONS code 47
NUTS 3 UKG12
Demographics
Population
- Total (2006 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
Ranked 38th Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
552,900
318/km² (823.6/sq mi)
Ranked 22nd Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Ethnicity 97.5% White
1.1% S.Asian
Politics
File:Arms-worcs.jpg
Worcestershire County Council
http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/

<tr><th>Executive</th><td>Conservative </td></tr>

Members of Parliament

Districts
File:WorcestershireNumbered.png
  1. Worcester
  2. Malvern Hills
  3. Wyre Forest
  4. Bromsgrove
  5. Redditch
  6. Wychavon

Worcestershire (pronounced IPA: /ˈwʊstəˌʃɚ/; abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. From 1974 to 1998 it was administered as part of Hereford and Worcester.

The county borders Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire. To the west, the county is bordered by the Malvern Hills, by which is located the spa town of Malvern. The western side of the hills is in the county of Herefordshire. The southern part of the county is bordered by Gloucestershire and the northern edge of the Cotswolds, and to the east is Warwickshire. The two major rivers flowing through the county are the Severn and the Avon.

Other than the city of Worcester, there are several other small to medium sized towns such as Kidderminster, Bromsgrove, Malvern, Pershore, Evesham and Redditch. In the southern part of the county, the area is still largely rural.

There are many accents and dialects in Worcestershire. The counties' northern commuter towns such as Redditch and Kidderminster have adopted the Birmingham accent, whereas the rest of the county has retained the distinctive West Country accent.

Contents

History

Main article: History of Worcestershire.

Worcestershire was the site of the Battle of Evesham in which Simon de Montfort was killed (4th August, 1265), and later, in the English Civil War, the Battle of Worcester (1651).

In the nineteenth century, Worcester was a centre for the manufacture of gloves; the town of Kidderminster was a centre for carpet manufacture, and Redditch specialised in the manufacture of needles, springs and hooks. Droitwich Spa, being situated on large deposits of salt, was a centre of salt production from Roman times, one of the principal Roman roads running through the town. These old industries have since declined, to be replaced by other, more varied light industry. The county is also home to the world's oldest continually published newspaper, the Berrow's Journal (established 1690). Malvern was one of the centres of the rise in water-cure establishments in this country, as Malvern water was believed to contain "nothing at all", i.e. to be very pure. [1]

Local government

Worcestershire's boundaries have been fluid for over a hundred years since the abolition of the form of administration known as the Hundreds, though the continual expansion of Birmingham and the Black Country considerably altered the map. Worcestershire County Council came into existence in 1889 and covered the whole of the traditional county, except two county boroughs - Dudley and Worcester. The county also had many exclaves, completely surrounded by the adjoining counties of Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Oxfordshire. The most noticeable were Dudley and the area around Shipston-on-Stour. In return, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Shropshire had islands within Worcestershire. These were found at Clent, Tardebigge and Halesowen/Oldbury respectively, though the latter originally was outside Worcestershire for nine-hundred years. The southern boundary of the county was especially confusing, with parish boundaries penetrating deep into Gloucestershire and vice-versa.

Dudley's historical status within the Worcester Diocese and through its aristocracy links ensured to a certain extent that the island was self-governing. Worcester was also self-governing and was known as The City and County of Worcester. During the Local Government reorganisation of 1966, Dudley expanded beyond its historical boundaries and took in Sedgley, Brierley Hill, Coseley and parts of Amblecote, but lost its Worcestershire status and became associated with Staffordshire. File:Broadway-tower-cotswolds.jpg Other areas of Worcestershire including Yardley, Northfield and Kings Heath became part of the county borough of Birmingham (and therefore were considered part of the geographical county of Warwickshire), the surrounding islands to their respective counties, Oldbury to Warley County Borough and St. John's, Warndon, Claines and St. Peter's Parishes to Worcester. The new county borough of Warley was associated with Worcestershire. In return, Worcestershire's expansion was limited to Stourbridge, taking in the majority of Amblecote Urban District, and the designation of Redditch in 1964 as a New town which saw expansion into Matchborough in Warwickshire.

From 1974 to 1998, the middle and southern part of county was combined with Herefordshire and Worcester County Borough to form a single non-metropolitan county of Hereford and Worcester; the County Boroughs of Dudley and Warley along with Stourbridge and Halesowen were incorporated into the West Midlands Metropolitan county. The West Midlands County Council was in existence for only a short period before abolition in 1986. In the 1990s UK local government reform, the decision was taken to abolish Hereford and Worcester, with the new non-metropolitan county of Worcestershire having the historic border with Herefordshire, but still excluding areas in the north in West Midlands.

The post-1974 districts of Redditch, Worcester, Wychavon and Wyre Forest were retained with little or no change. However the Leominster and Malvern Hills districts straddled the historic border: a new Malvern Hills district was constituted covering the Worcestershire part of these.

See also: List of Worcestershire boundary changes

Physical geography

Worcestershire is a fairly rural county. The Malvern Hills, which run from the south of the county into Herefordshire, are made up mainly of volcanic igneous and metamorphic rock, some of which date from before 1200 million years ago. For more on the geology of the Malvern Hills, see the External links.

Culture,media and sport

The county is home to the Worcestershire County Cricket Club, traditionally first stop on for the touring national side's schedule in England. The Club's players have included Tom Graveney, Ian Botham, Glenn McGrath, Graeme Hick, Kapil Dev, Vikram Solanki, Don Kenyon and Basil D'Oliveira. Worcester Rugby Football Club, the Worcester Warriors, whose ground is at Sixways, Worcester, were promoted to the Guinness Premiership in 2004.

The village of Broadheath, about 10 km North-West of the city of Worcester, is the birthplace of the composer Edward Elgar.

Malvern is the home of the Malvern Fringe Festival, one of the oldest festivals of its kind in the world [2]

By far the largest and most successful football club in the county is Kidderminster Harriers FC. In 2000 they became the first Worcestershire club to compete in the Football League.

Radio

There are three analogue radio stations which broadcast to the county as well as Herefordshire, these are: Wyvern FM, Sunshine Radio and BBC Hereford & Worcester. There is also one analogue commercial radio station broadcasting primarily to Kidderminster, Stourport-on-Severn & Bewdley, known as The Wyre following an extensive campaign to bring local radio to the Wyre Forest District. A Community radio station has been licensed within Worcestershire known as Youth Community Radio which aims to broadcast to Worcester, the radio station is brand new and is on air no at 106.7fm under the name Youthcomm Radio. In addition, there are local and regional analogue and digital radio stations broadcasting into Worcestershire from surrounding areas such as Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire.

Radio Wyvern has been broadcasting since 4th October 1982, although the name was changed slightly to Wyvern FM following the end of simulcasting on AM and FM in 1996. Radio Wyvern commenced broadcasting on 1530 kHz AM (196 Metres Medium Wave) and 96.2 MHz FM in Worcestershire following a campaign to estabish a commercial radio station spearheaded by Severn Valley Radio. It was felt that the name was too Worcestershire-centric and was renamed Radio Wyvern after a mythical dragon or the proposed name for the short-lived County of Hereford & Worcester. The name also symbolises the two major rivers which flowed through the two counties - the River Severn and the River Wye. Radio Wyvern has had a varied history, launching careers of names such as Neil Fox, Eleanor Oldroyd, Jane Garvey and Sybil Roscoe to name but a few. Through its twenty-five years, Wyvern played host to presenters such as, Jonathan Ross, Ruby Wax and Johnnie Walker, although these names arrived at Barbourne Terrace via syndicated means. Wyvern FM is now owned by Gcap Media (formerly GWR Group) and now broadcast via studios at Perdiswell. Following the end of simulcasting on AM and FM, Radio Wyvern launched a new AM service known as Wyvern AM, which was a more adult contemporary service concentrating on playing oldies and melodic music. Wyvern AM was short lived when the company was bought by GWR Group. The AM service was renamed Classic Gold 954/1530 and became an oldies radio station fitting into the Classic Gold Network, until it was sold to Muff Murfin. In 2003, Classic Gold 954/1530 was renamed 'Classic Hits 954/1530' and for a short period became Adult Contemporary, this was soon changed and once again became an oldies radio station. In 2007, Laser Broadcasting acquired Classic Hits 954/1530 and fellow Murfin Media station 'Sunshine 855' from Ludlow. The station was again renamed in 2007 and became Sunshine Radio, complete with daily split programming for Herefordshire and Worcestershire. In September 2008, Sunshine Radio is due to begin broadcasting via DAB Digital Radio across Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

On the 6th September 2007 - the Office of Communications (Ofcom) awarded a DAB Digital Multiplex licence for Herefordshire & Worcestershire to MuxCo (Hereford & Worcester) Ltd. MuxCo aims to provide a number of new radio stations including Shuffle, Smithy Rock, Local Live and Easy Radio. As well as providing a digital platform for Wyvern FM, Sunshine Radio and BBC Hereford & Worcester and area extensions to United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) and the Highways Agency. The new multiplex aims to commence broadcasting from September 2008 utilising three transmitters; two of which are within Worcestershire at Great Malvern and Bromsgrove. Although the applicant has stated that they may extend coverage at a later date via a relay at Headless Cross (Redditch).

Ofcom received two applications; MuxCo (Hereford & Worcester) and Gcap Media (owners of Wyvern FM).

Shrek 3

Worcestershire is mentioned in the film Shrek 3 as the name of the high school Puss, Donkey and Shrek visit to find Prince Arthur. Donkey mispronounces it, and then after Shrek explains the correct pronunciation, Donkey makes a joke out of it by comparing it to Worcestershire sauce. In real world history Prince Arthur Tudor had a "Prince Arthur's Chantry" dedicated to him in Worcester Cathedral.

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Worcestershire at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added[3] Agriculture[4] Industry[5] Services[6]
1995 5,047 225 1,623 3,200
2000 6,679 159 2,002 4,518
2003 7,514 182 1,952 5,380

Industry and Agriculture

A large area of the county used to be traditionally devoted to fruit-growing and the cultivation of hops; this has decreased considerably since World War II, though in the southern area of the county, around the Vale of Evesham, there are still sufficient orchards that the British Automobile Association signposts a route (the "Blossom Trail") where the orchards can be seen in blossom in spring. Worcester City's coat of arms includes a depiction of three black pears, representing a now rare local fruit variety, the Worcester Black Pear. The county's coat of arms follows this theme, having a pear tree with black pears. The apple variety known as Worcester Pearmain originates from Worcestershire, and the Pershore plum comes from the small Worcestershire town of that name, and is widely grown in that area.

Worcestershire is also famous for a number of its non-agricultural products. The city of Worcester and the surrounding county are best known for Worcestershire sauce and for its porcelain works. Worcestershire sauce (also known as Worcester sauce) is a savoury sauce made with vinegar, anchovies, molasses, tamarinds, onions and spices, used in flavouring various foods and the Bloody Mary drink which is drunk worldwide. The town of Malvern is the home of the Morgan traditional sports car). The painting, A Worcestershire Cottage by Arthur Claude Strachan is also of general renown.

Education

Worcestershire has a comprehensive school system with sixteen independent schools including the The Royal Grammar School Worcester, The King's School, Worcester and Malvern College. Schools in Redditch, Kidderminster and two in Bromsgrove use the upper/middle school tertiary system, with all upper schools having a sixth form, with sixth form provision in the county being quite generous. Just over 6300 pupils take GCSEs in the county each year. In England, the average proportion of pupils in 2006 gaining five good GCSEs (A-C) including English and Maths is 45.8%: for Worcestershire it is 43.1, which is relatively low for a rural county. A few schools in Kidderminster and Redditch produce very low results. At GCSE, the best school is the Haybridge High School in Hagley, closely followed by the Prince Henry's High School in Evesham and St Augustine's Catholic High School in Redditch. The worst performing school is the Elgar Technology College in Worcester. At A level, the county is slightly under the England average, but there are some reasonably performing schools, with the best being Hagley Catholic High School.

GCSE results by district council (%)

  • Malvern Hills 51.7
  • Wychavon 50.5
  • Bromsgrove 48.9
  • Worcester 39.6
  • Redditch 38.1
  • Wyre Forest 34.9

Towns and villages

The county town and only city is Worcester. The other major settlements, Kidderminster, Bromsgrove and Redditch are satellite towns of Birmingham. There are also several market towns: Malvern, Bewdley, Evesham, Droitwich Spa, Pershore, and Tenbury Wells.

For a full list of settlements, see list of places in Worcestershire.

Places of interest

Key
Image:AP_Icon.PNG Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
Accessible open space Accessible open space
Amusement/Theme Park
Image:CL_icon.PNG Castle
Country Park Country Park
Image:EH icon.png English Heritage
Image:FC icon.png Forestry Commission
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House
Museum (free)
Museum
Museums (free/not free)
National Trust National Trust
Zoo

Local groups

See also

External links

Footnotes

  1. ^ Fine Waters [1].
  2. ^ Wikipedia {{subst:#ifexist:Fringe theatre|[[Fringe theatre|]]|[[Wikipedia:Fringe theatre|]]}}.
  3. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  4. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  5. ^ includes energy and construction
  6. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

References


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Worcestershire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

This article uses material from the "Worcestershire" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English


Worcestershire (ˈwʊs.təˌʃə; abbreviated Worcs) is a county in the West Midlands region of central England. From 1974 to 1998 it was part of Hereford and Worcester.

The county borders Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire.

Contents

Physical geography

Worcestershire is a fairly rural county. The Malvern Hills, which run from the south of the county into Herefordshire, are made up mainly of volcanic rock, some of which date from before 1200 million years ago. For more on the geology of the Malvern Hills, see the other websites section below.

Places of interest

  • Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings
  • Walton Hill and the Clent Hills
  • Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural beauty
  • Severn Valley Railway
  • Worcester Cathedral
  • Great Malvern Priory
  • Leigh Court Tithe Barn
  • Claines Church
  • River Teme and valley
  • Tenbury Wells with its unique Pump Rooms.
  • River Severn at Worcester, River Avon at Pershore or Evesham
  • Witley Court at Great Witley. A burnt out shell of a large English stately home, famous for its gigantic fountain, now restored to working order. Currently owned by English Heritage.
  • West Midlands Safari Park
  • Hanbury Hall
  • Forge Mill Needle Museum at Redditch, the only remaining working needle mill in the world.

Local groups

Other pages

Other websites


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