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Bradshaw’s Guide

Priory Church, Malvern, England. Taken between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900. Original: Library of Congress

Great Malvern

A healthy, fashionable, and agreeable watering place, consisting of Great and Little Malvern, about four miles apart. Both lie on the slope of the Malvern Hills, a long blue smooth ridge, on the borders of Worcestershire and Herefordshire, dividing the valleys of the Severn and Wye. The Worcestershire Beacon, near Great Malvern, is 1,300 feet high; while the Herefordshire Beacon, near Little Malvern, is 1,440 feet. Limestone and sandstone, with sienite, granite, &c, are the chief ingredients in this range, which is green to the summit, and produces excellent mutton. Though now rather bare, it was formerly well-wooded, and still offers much attractive scenery. But the chief recommendation, next to the mineral springs, is the pure and invigorating air, an advantage which renders it well adapted for the fashionable hydro-pathic, or Water-Cure, system here carried out with much success at the establishments of Drs. Gully and Wilson. Its merits, and the scenery of the neighbourhood have been described by Lane and Bulwer. Sheridan Knowles and his wife (née Miss Elphinstone), were patients. Hotels and boarding-houses are numerous, and the walks and drives of great beauty.

St. Anne’s and Holywell, springs much resorted to, are slightly tepid and sulphurated, and useful, especially in glandular and skin complaints. Pumprooms are attached to each, and a church has been lately built at the Holywell, which is nearest Little Malvern. Great Malvern Church is a handsome later Gothic cross, built by the Sir Reginald Bray, who designed Henry VII.’s beautiful chapel at Westminster. It contains some ancient effigies which were in the former church, and a modern tomb, by Hollins, to Mrs. Thompson, of Malvern Priory. This seat adjoins the gate and other remains of a religious house, founded at the Conquest, of which the author of the Visions of Piers Plow men was a member. The parish church of Little Malvern also deserves notice for its antiquity, stained windows, &c., though it is partly dilapidated. The seat of Lady Clare, an old timbered house, and the Roman Catholic chapel, are picturesquely situated. Great Malvern church also possesses some good painted glass.

The prospect from the hills embraces part of eight or nine counties, including the vales of the Severn and Evesham, or the Avon, the cathedrals of Worcester, Gloucester, and Hereford, Tewkesbury Minster, the Welsh Hills, &c, and is the finest in the kingdom. The beacons above-mentioned were fortresses which commanded the passes through the hills. In one part are sewn the remains of a trench which marked the boundary of the chase as divided between the Bishop of Hereford and the Duke of Gloucester.

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Places nearby

  • Gloucestershire : Cheltenham

    Cheltenham takes its name from the river Chelt, and is celebrated for its medicinal waters. It has been for the last sixty years one of the most elegant and fashionable watering places in England.

  • Gloucestershire : Gloucester

    A cathedral city, capital of the county, on the Severn, and the Bristol and Birmingham Railway, 114 miles from London.

  • Herefordshire : Hereford

    Hereford, stands at a military Ford on the Wye, which King Harold protected by a castle, the site of which, at Castle Green, is now occupied by the Nelson Column.