Malvern Interest

Also See


Doric pillar box, Worcester Rd

Where

Malvern, its name probably deriving from the Celtic for bare hill (Moel-bryn), is on the borders of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. Hence the use of Three Counties in various enterprises’ names. There are a number of parts making up the area, some with clearer boundaries than others: Great Malvern, Malvern Link, West Malvern, Malvern Wells, Little Malvern, Barnards Green …..

Things to do

Official Malvern tourism info on Visit the Malverns, including accommodation and events. Great Malvern Tourist Information Centre (TIC) at 21 Church Street, near the Elgar statue/Post Office at the top end of town. Open 10am-5pm every day for most of the year (but closing 4pm Sundays), phone 01684 892289. Their 50p Factsheets (2003) on Malvern Water, Landscape, Walking the Hills, etc are pretty good.

Attractions

  • See Events page for festivals and regular events grouped by area. Also see our calendar and listings section, by date and category.
  • Malvern Museum Open Easter to October, 10.30am to 5pm (not Wednesdays). Phone 01684 567811.
  • The Theatre of Small Convenience. Previously a Victorian loo, now perhaps the smallest theatre anywhere. Edith Walk, Great Malvern. From their web site: “Using salvaged materials, the interior has been transformed into an intriguing and unique theatre venue …… This small space is available for local amateur and professional performers and seats 12 people (16 open plan).” Phone 01684 568933.

Join In

Arts and Crafts

  • Are on the Creative page, along with more artists, galleries beyond Malvern, craft courses etc.

Cultural

Key text, published April 2003, is A literary trail around the Malverns from Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, available in local bookshops/TIC.

Books written/published by Cora Weaver on famous names – see under Malvern Springs. Bygone Malvern, The Malverns, and other local history titles by Pamela Hurle which were published by The History Press (may be out of print).

The Malvern Book Co-op should stock a full range of local authors and local titles. 2 St Ann’s Road, between the Unicorn and Red Lion pubs (a little way uphill from the start of Worcester Road).

Music

Most of our info on the quintessentially English local composer Elgar is on the Elgar Connection page. Info on Elgar Ride Variations cycle ride is on Cycling page.

Another noted British composer, Holst, was born in Cheltenham – not that far away. Check out Holst Birthplace Museum.

Jenny Lind, the Victorian ‘Swedish nightingale’ and international singing star, lived at Wynds Point (near British Camp).

Poetry

The Visions of Piers Ploughman is set on the Malverns, written by perhaps the best known medieval English poet, William Langland. One source of the text is published by Oxford University Press – see Amazon for availability, or alternative version. Or try the online version at the (American) Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse.

All night from tower to tower they sprang; they sprang from hill to hill: Till the proud Peak unfurled the flag o’er Darwin’s rocky dales Till like volcanoes flared to heaven the stormy hills of Wales, Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern’s lonely height, Till streamed in crimson on the wind the Wrekin’s crest of light, Till broad and fierce the star came forth on Ely’s stately fane, And tower and hamlet rose in arms o’er all the boundless plain; from The Armada, Lord Macaulay.

The Dymock Poets are connected with the area around that village, and John Masefield (was poet laureate, 1930-1967) grew up in Ledbury (see Events re Poetry Festival).  ‘Iris by Night’ by Robert Frost, one of the Dymock poets, is based on a walk on the Hills with Edward Thomas in summer 1914: One misty evening, one another’s guide, We two were groping down a Malvern side The last wet fields and dripping hedges home. ‘Collected Poems of Robert Frost’ published 2013.

AE Housman’s A Shropshire Lad The Bartleby web site has many of the poems, which stray beyond the bounds of that one county. Buy from Amazon co.uk. Also see Housman Society.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning lived at Hope End (Ledbury direction) for much of her early life (1806-1829 or possibly 1809 to 1832). British Library entry on her. Her poem The Lost Bower talks of this area. Selected Poems from Amazon.co.uk.

WH Auden taught at the Downs School in Colwall for a few years – one poem is dedicated to the headmaster. He married Erika Mann in Ledbury. Collected Auden from Amazon.co.uk.

Literature, drama

George Bernard Shaw was closely involved with the Malvern Drama Festival from its start in 1929. The Apple Cart was written for the first festival, and five of his plays had their premiere at Malvern Theatre in the years from then. Plays Political: The Apple Cart; On the Rocks; Geneva at Amazon.co.uk. Productions by J.M. Barrie are also associated with the theatre.

CS Lewis lived in Malvern as a child, including a spell at Malvern College, 1910-14. He introduced JRR Tolkien to the Head of English, George Sayer and The Lord of the Rings was first put down on tape at his Malvern home. CS Lewis The Complete Chronicles of Narnia from Amazon.co.uk:

Roget of Roget’s Thesaurus died in West Malvern (1869) while on holiday, and is buried there.

Annie Darwin, daughter of Charles Darwin, was brought to Malvern when sick hoping to benefit from the water cure, but she died here aged 10 and is buried in Malvern Priory graveyard.

Evelyn Waugh – see Madresfield Court below.

Other Names

Thomas Attwood, a leader in the campaign for parliamentary reform which led to the Reform Act of 1832, was one of Birmingham’s first 2 MPs. He presented the first National Petition of the Chartists to Parliament in 1839. He died in Malvern on 9th March 1859 (Source: schoolnet).

Morgan cars have been made in Malvern for many years. See their web site for some history.

Malvern Places

There’s more ‘noteables’ than this. These are ones which have caught our attention for some reason.

Great Malvern rail station. A good place to eat, admire the intricate iron foliage on the platform roof columns, and maybe catch a train.

Great Malvern Priory. Founded in 1085, with mainly 15th century structure. The amazing collection of stained glass ranges from medieval to modern and includes 15th and 19th century, the north transept window being a gift from Henry VII. Also medieval floor and wall tiles. On the dissolution of the monasteries in 1541, locals bought the building for £20 to replace their decaying parish church. Our photo album shows stained glass, misericords (wooden carving on seats, mainly 14th and 15th century) and views. Also see the Priory site (take a virtual tour or check out history) or Priory organ and choirs website.

Stained glass, Little MalvernLittle Malvern Court. 14th Century Prior’s Hall once part of the 12th Century Benedictine Priory. Gardens and accommodation – limited public opening Weds/Thurs, mid April to mid July, phone 01684 892988. Info on Historic Houses Assn website. The adjacent Little Malvern Priory church has some interesting stained glass, restored 2004, with part of the east window from 15th century showing the then royal family – see photo. Also old carvings, similar floor tiles to Great Malvern etc.

Madresfield Court. Visits by appointment only, April to July. The Rock Garden is “commonly regarded as being one of (James) Pulhams’ masterpieces”, according to the James Pulham web site (original page link now gone). Home of the Lygon family and the Earls Beauchamp, Evelyn Waugh was a frequent visitor, and elements were used in Brideshead Revisited (Source: Literary Heritage West Midlands).

  • Doric Pillar Box, in Worcester Road opposite Link Common (see top of page). Erected Dec 1857. There’s another on corner of Peachfield Road and St Andrews Road.
  • Stocks in North Malvern Road.
  • Street gas lamps. Working lights at: A449 crossing Wells Common, Holywell Road (Malvern Wells), Priory Churchyard (Great Malvern), Moorlands Road (Link Common) and elsewhere. Photo below taken on Malvern Common. Note: These are mainly maintained by the relevant parish/town council, and a refurbishment programme giving them much higher efficiency is almost complete, spring 2012.
Gas lamp on Malvern Common

Web sites about Malvern

Those with a tighter focus will be listed under the relevant heading elsewhere.

Local Links for local people

If no direct link for a parish council, try Worcestershire My Parish site

Worcestershire County Association of Local Councils.

Information on the arms of Malvern Town Council (transferred from the former urban district).

Citizen/hyper-local reporting

See our own MalvernTrail Storify pages rounding up social media, local news and links for the Malvern Hills area. This may expand, and contributions or suggestions are welcome.

West Malvern Community News page.

In Herefordshire: Bromyard Info, Ledbury Community Portal.

Free Range Vicar Blog from the Agricultural & Rural Chaplain for the diocese of Worcester who ranges over Worcestershire & Dudley, but based at Knightwick/Martley. He moved to a new post October 2010, but you can still read some insights into issues he met.

General Web Guides

Also see general tourist info on Further Afield page.

Visit Herefordshire official tourist site.

FatBadgers page on Worcestershire.

Official Visit Worcestershire web site.

National Trust places to visit include Brockhampton Estate, Hawford Dovecote.

Severn Tales Tales of the River Severn.

Comments welcome

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