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February 14, 2006

Medieval views

The area of the old town of Tewkesbury, from the Cross to the Abbey, contains a range of ancient and some more modern, buildings. It must be said, however, that "modern" in this area is a relative term, since there is very little later than the 19th Century on view. The town was fortunate to have been spared the bulldozers of the 1960's and only one area, at the Northern end of the town was replaced by the utilitarian architecture of that era of wholesale destruction of heritage buildings. The area round the Abbey was saved by the prompt action of a number of people who used the auspices of a Charitable Trust set up in the early 20th Century to preserve the grounds around the Abbey itself from development, to buy up the row of 14thCentury Merchants houses which separate the Abbey from the busy roadway, part of the A38.

The view, much as it has been since the 12th Century, of the Abbey tower, seen from The Old Friends Meeting House in St Mary's Lane. On the right is a recently restored and renovated shop and house dating to the late 14th Century and the Merchants Houses date from around the same period.

The Merchants Houses were once part of the Abbey Desmense and the rents would have gone to the Abbey Treasury. Now they are owned by a charitable trust whose purpose is to preserve the Abbey surrounds for posterity. These picturesque and now comfortable homes have not always been so. By the 19th Century and into the mid-20th Century this area had been allowed to degenerate quite badly, eventually becoming a slum. Since the 1960's restoration, repair and private residents have done much to completely revitalise the whole area and this has benefitted the town as a whole.

Well worth a visit and the time to explore it.

Posted by The Gray Monk at February 14, 2006 06:39 PM

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