Tewkesbury (/ˈtjuːksb(ə)ri/ TEWKS-b(ə-)ree) is a town and civil
parish in Gloucestershire, England. It stands at the confluence of the
River Severn and the River Avon, and also minor tributaries the
Swilgate and Carrant Brook. It gives its name to the Borough of
Tewkesbury, of which the town is the second largest settlement. It
lies in the far north of the county, forming part of the border with
Tewkesbury comes from Theoc, the name of a Saxon who founded
a hermitage there in the 7th century, and in the
Old English language
was called Theocsbury. An erroneous derivation from Theotokos
enjoyed currency in the monastic period of the town's history.
The Battle of Tewkesbury, which took place on 4 May 1471, was one of
the decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses.
1.1 Nearby places
6 Road transport
7.1 Festivals and fairs
8 Cultural references
9 Notable people
10 Sports and recreation
11 Twin town
13 External links
Malvern (Great Malvern)
Upton upon Severn
Forest of Dean
2011 UK census
2011 UK census the
Tewkesbury parish had a population of
10,704. If the neighbouring parishes of Wheatpieces (3,577), Northway
(5,080) and Ashchurch Rural (957) are added, the figure rises to
Tewkesbury urban area is divided in two by the north-south
running M5 motorway, opened in February 1971. However, the town is
generally considered as the built-up area to the immediate east and
west of the M5 at junction 9, with the town centre, abbey and old town
situated to the west. The close proximity of large areas of land that
are prone to flooding, as evidenced by the severe floods that struck
the region in July 2007, would make further expansion difficult.
However, the present Borough of Tewkesbury, created on 1 April 1974,
also contains a large portion of rural north Gloucestershire,
extending as far as the edges of
Gloucester itself and also
Cheltenham, and has a present population of 81,943.
Tewkesbury War Memorial, locally known as the Cross
The town features many notable Medieval, Tudor buildings, but its
major claim to fame is
Tewkesbury Abbey, a fine Norman abbey church,
originally part of a monastery, which was saved from the Dissolution
of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII after being bought by the
townspeople for the price of the lead on the roof to use as their
parish church. Most of the monastery buildings, as well as the
vineyards, were destroyed during this time. The Abbey Mill however
still remains, resting upon the Mill Avon, a channel allegedly built
by the monks. This channel represents one of the biggest projects in
Tewkesbury's history, though the present weir dates only from the
1990s, replacing two sluice gates installed in the 1930s. The Abbey
Mill is also sometimes known as "Abel Fletcher's Mill", but this is
simply the name given to it in Dinah Craik's novel John Halifax,
Gentleman, whose setting Norton Bury is based on
Tewkesbury (see the
Tewkesbury in Literature section below).
The abbey is thought to be the site of the place where the hermit
Theoc once lived. The great Romanesque arch on the west front is
particularly striking, and the stained glass window at that end has
been restored. The monastery was founded by the
Despensers as a family
mausoleum, and the Despenser and Neville tombs are fine examples of
small-scale late medieval stonework.
The tower is believed to be the largest Norman tower still in
existence (though that at
Norwich Cathedral is another strong
contender). The tower once had a wooden spire which may have taken the
total height of the building to as much as 260 feet (79 m), but
this was blown off in a heavy storm on
Easter Monday 1559; the present
pinnacles and battlements were added in 1600 to give the tower a more
"finished" look. The height to the top of the pinnacles is 148 feet
(45 m). The abbey is thought to be the third largest church in
Britain that is not a cathedral (after
Westminster Abbey and Beverley
Minster). From end to end it measures 331 feet (101 m), though
prior to the destruction of the original Lady Chapel (also at the time
of the dissolution), the total length was 375 feet (114 m). The
abbey is a parish church, still used for daily services, and is
believed to be the second-largest parish church in England, again,
after Beverley Minster.
The Royal Hop Pole, mentioned in 'The Pickwick papers'
Tewkesbury claims Gloucestershire's oldest public house, the Black
Bear, dating from 1308, although this is currently closed and for
sale with its future as a pub in doubt. Other notable buildings are
the Royal Hop Pole Hotel in Church Street (which has recently been
converted into a part of the
Wetherspoons pub chain with the discovery
of a former medieval banqueting hall in the structure), mentioned in
Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers, the Bell Hotel, a large
half-timbered structure opposite the Abbey gateway, and the House of
the Nodding Gables in the High Street.
The Abbey Cottages, adjacent to
Tewkesbury Abbey, were built between
1410 and 1412. They were restored 1967 to 1972 by the Abbey Lawn
Trust, a building preservation charity. They house the John Moore
Museum, residential homes and commercial offices. The John Moore
Museum was established in 1980 in memory of the writer and naturalist,
John Moore. The museum consists of three buildings: the main John
Moore Museum, home to an extensive Natural History collection; the
Merchant's House, restored to its Tudor appearance; and the Old
Baptist Chapel. The Old Baptist Chapel, located off Church Street, is
a timber-framed building, formally a medieval hall house dating to the
1480s. Sometime in the 17th century, it was converted for use as a
Nonconformist meeting house. Including the original baptistery and
pastor's room, the building is of significant historic interest. The
building was restored to its 1720 appearance in the 1970s by
Tewkesbury Borough Council. It was further renovated and interpreted
in 2015 by the Abbey Lawn Trust and is used as a venue for a variety
of cultural events. Behind the chapel is a small cemetery for those
who were members of the congregation. This includes the grave of
William Shakespeare-Hart, fifth great grand nephew of William
Shakespeare. The cemetery is managed by
Just to the west of the town is Thomas Telford's impressive Mythe
Bridge over the River Severn, a cast-iron structure with a 170-foot
span, opened in 1826. Tewkesbury's other notable bridge is the
stone-built King John's Bridge over the Avon, commissioned by King
John in the late 12th century as part of improvements to the main road
Gloucester to Worcester. Original stonework can still be seen on
its north side; the bridge was widened in the mid-to-late 1950s to
meet traffic requirements.
Tewkesbury Town Council
Cllr Philip Workman
Cllr Christine Danter
16 / 16
Multiple non transferable vote
7 May 2015
2 May 2019
Town Hall, High Street, Tewkesbury
The Town Council (not to be confused with
Tewkesbury Borough, which is
a wider area than
Tewkesbury Town) has 16 members from the 4 wards of
Town with Mitton, Newtown, Priors Park, and Mythe who are elected
every four years. Councillors were last elected in 2015, with all
councillors sitting as independents. The
Philip Workman is the civic head of the Council and chairs meetings of
the Full Council. The Council also appoints a Deputy
Mayor in their duties and often succeeds to the office of
Mayor in the following civic year. The Council was formally
established in 1974 following the dissolution of the municipal borough
Tewkesbury but continues to occupy the same premises and maintains
the same civic role within the Town.
Following the 2019 Local Elections, the Town Council will continue to
be formed of 16 members representing 3 wards of
Tewkesbury South and Newtown. The boundaries of these new Town Council
Wards will mirror the new
Tewkesbury Borough Wards of
Tewkesbury South and
Tewkesbury East. The
Gloucestershire County Council divisions of
Tewkesbury and Tewkesbury
East will be unchanged by the new Ward Boundaries at the Town and
Tewkesbury is also covered by
Tewkesbury Borough Council
Tewkesbury Borough Council (district
Gloucestershire County Council.
Tewkesbury is part of the
Tewkesbury constituency for elections to the House of Commons
and is represented in the
European Parliament as part of the South
England constituency in the European Parliament.
Tewkesbury railway station
The first station was originally opened by the Birmingham and
Gloucester Railway in 1840 and was sited in the High Street It was
replaced in 1864 by a new station built for the
Tewkesbury and Malvern
Railway. This closed on 14 August 1961, when the Ashchurch to
Upton-on-Severn passenger service was withdrawn by British Railways
(through trains to Great Malvern had previously ceased in December
1952). Freight traffic continued until final closure in December 1964.
Tewkesbury has a railway station on the eastern edge of the
town, with Ashchurch for
Tewkesbury railway station
Tewkesbury railway station being 2.3 miles
from the town centre. It was the last mainline station in
Gloucestershire to be reopened, as
British Rail was being fragmented
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway has views of
Tewkesbury Abbey en route between
Cheltenham Racecourse and
Tewkesbury is served by the M5 and M50 motorways and the A38 and A46
trunk roads. There are frequent direct buses to Ashchurch for
Tewkesbury railway station
Tewkesbury railway station and to Cheltenham. Other direct bus
Gloucester and Evesham. Congestion on the A46 around
Ashchurch and junction 9 of the M5 is being addressed through a series
of road works starting in 2014.
Roses Theatre, combines an arthouse cinema and a live performance
Roses Theatre is where comedian
Eric Morecambe collapsed
after a charity performance in May 1984. He died hours later in
Cheltenham General Hospital. Eric is remembered at the theatre with
the naming of a conference/changing room: The
Eric Morecambe Room.
Battle of Tewkesbury, mentioned in Shakespeare's play Richard III.
Raymond Priestley, geologist on Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to
the South Pole, left one of the sleds, used on that expedition, to the
Tewkesbury Grammar School (c. 1576 – 1972). It is now
kept in the
Tewkesbury mustard, a blend of mustard and horseradish, made the town
famous in the 17th century and is again being manufactured. The
mustard was mentioned in some of Shakespeare's works.
Ska punk band
Spunge are from Tewkesbury.
Tewkesbury Town Band (a brass band) plays locally, tours abroad and
takes part in competitions.
Wednesdays and Saturdays, one of the town centre car parks is the
Tewkesbury Market. A farmers' market is also held every
month close by
Festivals and fairs
Tewkesbury holds a Winter Beer Festival, organised by the
Tewkesbury branch of CAMRA.
Since 2005, an annual Food and Drink Festival has been held, in or
near the Abbey grounds.
On the second full weekend of July the town hosts
Festival, "Europe's largest battle re-enactment and fair". Thousands
of re-enactors travel to the town from around the world to re-enact
Battle of Tewkesbury
Battle of Tewkesbury near to the original battle site. The
festival includes a "living history" recreation of a medieval
encampment, games, food and a large fair where re-enactment clothing,
furniture and weaponry can be purchased. In 2008 the festival
celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Medieval Festival 2007
In July the Water Festival takes place with events on the river and
the banks including an evening procession of lit boats ending with a
firework display. The festival started in 1996 but its future is now
in question due to funding issues and the 2006 event was much reduced
in scale. The event was cancelled in 2007 as it coincided with the
Summer 2007 Flood (it went ahead later in the year). The event was
scheduled for 2008 on Saturday, 20 September, but was again cancelled
due to flooding in the weeks prior to the event.
In October the town holds the annual mop fair. Originally a hiring
fair where people came to seek employment, the event is now a large
travelling funfair taking over much of the centre of town. The fair
itself is also an underlining point of Tewkesbury's industrial past,
as Walker Gallopers were produced in the area by Walkers in the early
20th century. The fair is organised by The Showmen's Guild of
Great Britain (Western Section)
Every year at the end of July and into August the Abbey hosts a
festival of liturgical music entitled Musica Deo Sacra (Music Sacred
Dinah Craik (1826–1887) visited
Tewkesbury in 1852,
and later set her most famous work
John Halifax, Gentleman (pub. 1857)
in the town, calling it Norton Bury in the book. There is a "Craik
House" in Church Street, near the Abbey, but Mrs Craik never lived
there and had no other connection with Tewkesbury. There is a memorial
to her in the Abbey's south transept.
Author John Moore (1907–1967) was born and lived in Tewkesbury. He
set his novel Portrait of Elmbury (pub. 1945) as a "fictionalised
biography" of Tewkesbury, the town being the "Elmbury" of the book.
Another of his books, Brensham Village (pub. 1946) used nearby Bredon
as its basis. A local museum has been named after him.
A Shropshire Lad
A Shropshire Lad also mentions Tewkesbury, as well as
Bredon Hill, even though neither place is in Shropshire.
The opening scene of the 1995 film version of Richard III takes place
at the Field Headquarters of King Henry's army at Tewkesbury.
Henry Disston - industrialist - born
Robert Harold Compton
Robert Harold Compton - South African botanist - born
Kathleen Hawkins- poet - born
Alfred Jones - cricketer - born
Henry Green - author - born
Anna Ford - newsreader and TV presenter - born
Eric Morecambe - British comedian - collapsed backstage at the town's
Roses Theatre 1984.
John Moore - writer - born
Raymond Priestley - scientist, Antarctic explorer, educationalist -
born & educated in Tewkesbury.
Eunice Spry - sadistic foster mother and subject of a high-profile
case - lived in Tewkesbury.
Simon Goodwin - Footballer -
Cheltenham Town FC youngest ever player,
debut in 1996 - born
Sports and recreation
Tewkesbury has one of the 471
King George's Fields
King George's Fields as its recreation
The football club,
Tewkesbury Town FC have three men's teams in the
Cheltenham Leagues, two teams in the
Evesham Birdseye Sunday
Leagues, a Veterans team for ages 35+ in the
County League and hold weekly training sessions for Ladies in
preparation for starting a team in the 2014/15 season. They are
holders of the
Gloucestershire County Cup as well as the
Pershore Hospital cup, are
Evesham League Division 3 Champions
and are the
Evesham Leagues Team of the Year 2012/13.
The cricket team,
Cricket Club 1st XI play in the
Glos/wilts Division of the West of
England Premier League.
The rugby team,
Tewkesbury RFC, plays
Rugby Union in Gloucestershire
Division One and has gained promotion to
Tewkesbury Triathlon Club meets every Saturday at the Cascades
Tewkesbury Tri Club
The running club,
Tewkesbury AC compete in local, national and
international running events.
Cheltenham College Boathouse is situated at Lower Lode
Tewkesbury School are used as a public sports centre for
swimming, gym, squash and other sports.
Tewkesbury lawn green Bowling Club plays in the Gloucestershire
men's and ladies leagues.
Tewkesbury Borough is twinned with
Miesbach in Bavaria, Germany.
Tewkesbury Town has had a sister city relationship twinned with
Tewksbury Township, New Jersey, United States of America since 2003.
^ Toulmin Smith L., ed. 1909, The Itinerary of John Leland, London,
^  Open Domesday Online: Tewkesbury
Tewkesbury Borough Council
Tewkesbury Borough Council – Statistics Archived 18 July 2011 at
the Wayback Machine.
^ C. J. Litzenberger, ed.
Tewkesbury Churchwardens' Accounts,
1563-1624 (Stroud, Gloucester: 1994) vii.
^ Jenkins, Simon (1999). England's Thousand Best Churches.
^ Pub-explorer.com. Pub-explorer.com.
^ [dead link]
^ Secret meetings, codes & community: the story of the Old Baptist
Tewkesbury - official guidebook, ISBN 978 1 78442 134
2, published 2015
^ "William Shakespeare's family roots traced to Tewkesbury". 29
January 2016 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 June 2014.
Retrieved 2 June 2014.
Tewkesbury Grammar School 1576 – 1972, Paul Fluck, Grenfell
^  Archived 6 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Anthea Jones Tewkesbury
^ "Showmen's Guild of Great Britain Central Office".
^ "Musica Deo Sacra".
^ "Bavarian twin has much in common with sibling".
Retrieved 30 March 2014.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tewkesbury.
Wikisource has the text of the 1921
Collier's Encyclopedia article
Tewkesbury travel guide from Wikivoyage
Tewkesbury Borough Council
Medieval Town Showcase
BBC archive film of
Tewkesbury from 1984
Medieval Festival VIDEO
Tewkesbury Mop Fair - Celebrating 800 Years of Fairs VIDEO
Tewkesbury at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
A comprehensive collection of
Tewkesbury historical data
Secret meetings, codes & community: the story of the Old Baptist
Tewkesbury - official guidebook, ISBN 978 1 78442 134 2
Ceremonial county of Gloucestershire
Boroughs or districts
Forest of Dean
See also: List of civil parishes in Gloucestershire
Population of major settlements
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings
Major Settlements on the River Severn, United Kingdom
Settlements on the
River Severn between
Bewdley and Gloucester