Malvern, Worcestershire

Malvern is a town and civil parish in Worcestershire, England . It includes the settlements of Great Malvern, Barnards Green, Malvern Link (with Link Top), Malvern Wells, West Malvern, Little Malvern and North Malvern. Most of these urban centres are separated by tracts of open common land. The civil parish has a population of 28,749 (2001 census). Great Malvern on the eastern flank of the Malvern Hills and on the western perimeter of The Malverns is the main urban centre.

Malvern is in the area governed by Malvern Hills District Council and lies adjacent to the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The MHDC also governs several neighbouring towns and a great many villages.


The name Malvern probably comes from the ancient British language meaning 'Bare-Hill', the nearest modern equivalent being the Welsh 'Moelfryn' (meaning 'bald hill'). Ancient legends have it that the British chieftain Caractacus took his last stand against the Romans on the Malvern Hills, but this has been disputed in modern times.

The medieval poem Piers Plowman begins on the Malvern hillside. Starting from the Middle Ages, Malvern was the site of a Benedictine monastery which first arose in 1085 from a hermitage endowed by Edward the Confessor, of which, beside Malvern Priory church, part survives as Malvern Museum. This building dates back to about 1470. Back in the 12th century Walcher (the second Prior of Malvern) was a notable astronomer and mathematician - his gravestone inside the priory church records this fact.

Malvern is a famous spa, known for its bottled water since 1622. Dr. James Manby Gully made the "water cure" popular in the early 19th century. Several hotels in Great Malvern date from the hey-day of Malvern as a residential spa.

The Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, spent some of his exile here, in the Abbey Hotel.

Culture and economy

The Three Counties Showground near Malvern hosts an annual agricultural show in June, and regular Royal Horticultural Society Gardening Shows. Malvern is home to two famous public schools, Malvern College and Malvern Girls College now renamed Malvern St. James after its 2006 merger with St. James's School. Jeremy Paxman, Denholm Elliott, Barbara Cartland and Aleister Crowley went to school here.

There is an Elgar Trail around Malvern and the surrounding area. A statue of Elgar stands gazing over the town from Belle Vue terrace, and several roads in the town are named after him.

Malvern is also the home of one of the world's longest existing private constructors of series-built automobiles. The Morgan Motor Car is a traditional sports car roadster and over the years has become a 'cult' vehicle, exported all over the world.

Malvern is the largest town in the parliamentary constituency of West Worcestershire. As of May 2005 it is represented by Sir Michael Spicer.

Malvern in Literature

C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien used to walk on the Malvern Hills. The story goes that, after drinking in a Malvern pub one winter evening, they were walking home when it started to snow. They saw a lamp post shining out through the snow and Lewis turned to his friends and said "that would make a very nice opening line to a book". Lewis' book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe later used that image as the characters enter the realm of Narnia.

Scientific Research

During World War II, Malvern was the location to which the UK government was partially evacuated in case of invasion or emergency. During this time, it also became the home of Telecommunications Research Establishment, renowned for its role in the history of radar. It has been said that World War II was won on the playing fields of Malvern, home of the cavity magnetron. The site of TRE still exists in Malvern, but due to shifts in scientific focus, its name has undergone several changes including RRE (Royal Radar Establishment), RSRE (Royal Signals and Radar Establishment), DRA (Defence Research Agency) and finally DERA (Defence Evaluation and Research Agency) when it was privatised in 2001 to become QinetiQ, a world leader in electronics and telecommunications research - and is still the major source of local employment.

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