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Malvern Hills, Worcestershire

Historical Description

Malvern Hills, a chain of hills along the mutual border of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. It extends from N to S, is nearly 9 miles long and from 1 to 2 broad, and has about twenty distinct summits. Its name may have been originally cither Moel Wren, signifying " an alder mountain " or " mountain with alders," or Moel-y-Yam, signifying " the high court" or " seat of judgment," and that name was easily corrupted into Malvern. The greater portion of the hills, together with Hanley Castle, was given by Edward I. to Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, on his marriage with Joan Dacres, the king's daughter, and the upland portion of his manor, over the greater part of the hills, was thence called Malvern Chase. A portion of the hills beyond the Earl of Gloucester's property belonged to the Bishop of Hereford, and either to prevent a dispute respecting the boundary or to terminate a dispute which had already arisen, a trench, still visible, and called the Duke of Gloucester's ditch, was made on the ridge as the boundary line. The most conspicuous of the summits are North Hill and Worcestershire Beacon in the N, Herefordshire Beacon near the centre, and Gloucestershire Beacon and Midsummer Hill toward the S. The Worcestershire Beacon has an altitude of 1444 feet above sea-level, and is the summit most frequented by excursionists and tourists. The Herefordshire Beacon has an altitude of 1370 feet, overlooks an important pass across the ridge, and is crowned by a very strong ancient fort, probably of British origin, 3300 feet long and 8910 in circumference. The several summits command very extensive and very magnificent views over portions of ten or twelve counties; on the E over much of the great splendid valley of the Severn, on the S and SW down that valley" to the Bristol Channel, on the W over the valleys of the Frome, the Lug, the Leddon, and the Wye, and including a large'aggregate of orchards and hop grounds, and the cathedrals of Worcester, Gloucester, and Hereford.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


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