Worcestershire or Worcester, an inland county bounded on the NW by Salop, on the N by Staffordshire, on the E by Warwickshire, on the S by Gloucestershire, and on the W by Herefordshire. Its outline is very irregularly quadrangular. Its boundaries are mostly artificial. Its greatest length from N to S is about 34 miles; its greatest breadth is about 30 miles, its circuit is about 220 miles; and its area is 480,560 acres. The surface exhibits fine diversity of valley and hill, well watered and richly wooded, abounds everywhere with soft pleasing scenery, and includes many vantage-grounds, particularly the Malvern Hills on the SW boundary, commanding extensive delightful views. The chief rivers are the Severn, the Avon, the Stour, and the Teme. Igneous and upper Silurian rocks occupy small tracts in the W and SW, carboniferous rocks, including coal and ironstone, form a considerable tract in the NW around Bewdley, and trias rocks, variously new red sandstone, Bunter sandstone, and keuper marl, form nearly all the rest of the county. Quartz occurs in the Malvem and Lickey Hills, granite, syenite, and greenstone in the Malverns, limestone among the Silurian rocks, basalt in the Cawney and the Tansley Hills, rock salt at Stoke Prior, brine springs at Stoke Prior and Droitwich, and medicinal springs at Malvern, Evesham, Flyford Flavel, and Kidderminster.
Strong clay is the prevailing soil, a rich loamy sand abounds in the N, light sand and peat earth are in some parts of the E, and a rich alluvium is in some parts of the valley of the Severn and its tributary streams. Wheat, barley, beans, potatoes, and hops are the principal crops. Market-gardening is largely carried on, and apples and pears for the production of cider and perry, are extensively cultivated. Various breeds of cattle are fattened, sheep of the Leicester, Cotswold, Malvern, and other breeds are numerous, and hogs are kept for bacon.
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Archives and Libraries
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service
Telephone: 01905 822866
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
List of Registration Districts in Worcestershire from 1837 to 1974.
Directories & Gazetteers
The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Worcestershire online, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, etc.
Land and Property
The Worcester - Return of Owners of Land in 1873 is available online.
Old map of Worcestershire circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)
Old map of Worcestershire circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Worcestershire papers online:
Parishes and places
The towns and parishes have now been moved to a separate page.
The Visitation of Worcestershire 1569 is available on the Heraldry page.