The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Status: Ceremonial & Administrative County
Region: West Midlands
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 34th
1,741 km²
Ranked 29th
Admin HQ: Worcester
ISO 3166-2: GB-WOR
ONS code: 47
- Total (2002 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
Ranked 38th
314 / km²
Ranked 22nd
Ethnicity: 97.5% White
1.1% S.Asian
Worcestershire County Council
Executive: Conservative
Members of Parliament
Michael Foster, Julie Kirkbride, Peter Luff, Jacqui Smith, Michael Spicer, Richard Taylor, Bill Wiggin
  1. Worcester
  2. Malvern Hills
  3. Wyre Forest
  4. Bromsgrove
  5. Redditch
  6. Wychavon

Worcestershire (pronounced whus-ter-shur, whus-ter-sheer, whus-ter-shyer, or wUst@rS@(r) in New Edition OED shorthand; abbreviated Worcs) is a county, located in the West Midlands region of central England.

It borders Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire.

To the west, the county is bordered by the Malvern Hills, by which is located the former spa town of Malvern (home of the Morgan traditional sports car). The western side of the hills is in the county of Herefordshire.

The southern part of the county is bordered by Gloucestershire and the northern edge of the Cotswolds, and to the east is Warwickshire. The two major rivers flowing through the county are the Severn and the Avon.

Other than the city of Worcester, and several large towns (notably Kidderminster and Bromsgrove) in the northern part of the county, the area is still largely rural. A large area of the county used to be devoted to fruit-growing and the cultivation of hops; this has decreased considerably since World War II, though in the southern area of the county, around the Vale of Evesham, there are still sufficient orchards that the British Automobile Association signposts a route (the "Blossom Trail ") where the orchards can be seen in spring. Worcester City's coat of arms includes a depiction of three black pears, representing a now rare local fruit variety, the Worcester Black Pear. The county's coat of arms follows this theme, having a pear tree with black pears. The apple variety known as Worcester Pearmain originates from Worcestershire, and the Pershore plum comes from the small Worcestershire town of that name, and is widely grown in that area.

The city of Worcester and the surrounding county are best known for Worcestershire sauce and for its porcelain works.

Worcester is the birthplace of the composer Edward Elgar.

Worcestershire sauce (also known as Worcester sauce) is a savory sauce made with vinegar, soy sauce and spices, used in flavoring various foods and the Bloody Mary drink.

A Worcestershire Cottage is a painting by Arthur Claude Strachan .



Main article: History of Worcestershire.

Worcestershire was the site of the Battle of Evesham in which Simon de Montfort was killed (4th August, 1265), and later, in the English Civil War, the Battle of Worcester (1651).

In the nineteenth century, Worcester was a centre for the manufacture of gloves; the town of Kidderminster was a centre for carpet manufacture, and Redditch specialised in the manufacture of needles and hooks. Droitwich Spa, being situated on large deposits of salt, was a centre of salt production from Roman times, one of the principal roman roads running through the town. These old industries have since declined, to be replaced by other, more varied light industry. The county is also home to the world's oldest continually published newspaper, the Berrow's Journal (established 1690).It is also home to the Worcestershire County Cricket Club, traditionally first stop on for the touring national side's schedule in England. The Club's players have included Tom Graveney, Ian Botham, Glenn McGrath,Graeme Hick, Kapil Dev, Vikram Solanki, Don Kenyon and Basil D'Oliveira.

From 1974 to 1998, it was combined with Herefordshire to form a single administrative county of Hereford and Worcester; some areas now part of West Midlands metropolitan county used to be part of northern Worcestershire, such as Dudley, Halesowen, Stourbridge. Even before then, some areas, such as Yardley had been made part of Birmingham itself (and hence Warwickshire). The post-1998 county therefore does not correspond exactly to the pre-1974 boundaries.

Towns and villages

Places of interest

Local groups

External links

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