Five years later Worcester was to be the scene of a still greater and more important conflict, Cromwell’s “crowning mercy,” the decisive struggle of the great Civil War. King Charles II., with an army drawn from Scotland, took up his position in Worcester on the 22nd of August, 1651, first expelling a small garrison of Parliamentary troops then occupying the city. Reinforcements arrived from the county around, most of the local gentry and their followers flocking to the banner of the King, but even with this augmentation his forces only amounted to about 12,000 all told. Six days later, that is, on the 28th, Cromwell appeared before the walls of the city with 18,000 men, and fixed his headquarters at Spetchley, then, as now, the property of the Berkeley family.
—Bertram C.A. Windle, The Malvern Country
Towards the end of October we went to Malvern Wells, and, on our way there, spent two very pleasant days at Spetchley Park, where [Lady Chatterton] heard Mass for the first time (her health not permitting her to do so before), and where we met the Bishop. It had been our intention to go farther, and the plan of our journey was sketched out; but her protracted struggles against interior influences adverse to her aspirations, her nature, her happiness had undermined her health. It is not till the ship is safe in port that the damage done by wind and waves can be fully estimated.
—Edward Heneage Dering, Memoirs of Georgiana, Lady Chatterton
One of the several Catholic schools to which the young Elgar was sent was at Spetchley Park, a few miles west of Worcester. The schoolhouse was set in an estate belonging to an old Catholic family, and the spacious grounds again contained tall pine trees. Almost ninety years later, the critic Ernest Newman recalled: ‘Elgar told me that as a boy he used to gaze from the school windows in rapt wonder at the great trees in the park swaying in the wind; and he pointed out to me a passage in Gerontius in which he had recorded in music his subconscious memories of them.’
—Matthew Riley, Edward Elgar and the Nostalgic Imagination
A DISPUTE over sycamore trees in a Malvern garden has led to accusations of heavy handedness being made against Malvern Hills District Council.
West Malvern composer Paul Farrer contacted the Malvern Hills Conservators after becoming concerned that the trees blocked sunlight and posed a hazard because of their size.
He sought advice on how to approach the trimming of the trees and whether there were any officials channels he must go through to employ a tree surgeon.
His e-mail was passed on to district council planning officers, who placed a tree preservation order on them.
Mr Farrer, of Westminster Bank, said: “I have only ever been concerned about the height of these trees and I am very worried about them.
“I have no idea if they pose a danger to me or to members of the public if the wind picks up and, in my view, MHDC’s actions have deliberately contributed to increasing the danger by telling me that if I trim them I go to prison.
“Do the heavy-handed and dangerous actions here not engender a culture of trying to keep the council out of our lives as much as is possible?
“This is a gross invasion of privacy and one I intend to fight.”
—Malvern Gazette, October 20, 2008