Welcome To Tenbury Wells
Heare hills doo lift their heads aloft
From whence sweet springs doo flowe,
Whose moisture good doth firtil make
The vallies couchte belowe.
Heare goodly orchards planted are
In fruite which doo abound;
Thine ey wolde make thine hart rejoyce
to see so pleasant ground.
These lines are taken from the Worcestershire Tapestry map, dating from the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, in the Victoria Museum, London.
Tenbury - the name derives from Temebury, meaning the fort on the Teme - is an ancient town at an important river crossing. It was said that in 1615 it was the main thoroughfare for trade between Wales and London. The main street used to be Church Street and the wide triangular market area can still be seen by the Round Market. Tenbury had its market status granted in 1248 and it was soon after that date that the Teme Bridge was built and the Burgage plots of Teme Street laid out.It remained the same since then.
The river Teme is also the county boundary dividing Shropshire on the north, from Worcestershire on the south. On the south of Tenbury flows the Kyre joining up with the Teme on the east of the town. Tenbury has been subject to flooding over the years and seems to have had one particularly bad flood every century: in 1615 when the bridge was destroyed, in 1770 when the church was destroyed and in 1886 when the water came up to the ceilings of some houses and one person was killed. Nowadays however, the river authorities seem to have solved the problem of diverting the water.
Whether or not Queen Victoria actually said that Tenbury Wells was 'her little town in the orchard' is a moot point. If she did, then it was an appropriately endearing remark to make. If she didn't, then many a writer over the years has unashamedly put words into the royal mouth in the certain knowledge that Her Majesty would indeed have found Tenbury and its orchard an especially agreeable corner of her vast realm.
The orchards have now sadly diminished in extent, as have the once widespread hopyards which formerly characterised the Tenbury countryside. But agriculture still predominates, and fortunately there are still enough surviving orchards and hopyards to remind us of the vital role they once played in the economy of the sylvan valley of the River Teme.
Unlike many of England's market towns, Tenbury Wells has not been unduly spoilt by obstrusive and unsympathetic town-centre development on a grand scale. The main street may not have entirely escaped unaltered, and a few of the old buildings have indeed given way to modern replacements, while others have undergone various degrees of cosmetic surgery. But on the whole the architectural character of the town has managed to survive.
We hope you enjoy your look around the Tenbury pages. Please feel free to let us know what you think of the site, our e-mail address is at the bottom of this page. We would like to thank Howard Miller and Tenbury Museum for their help.