Down River to Tewkesbury

Waving goodbye to Worcester, we set off down the River Severn for Tewkesbury.  It’s a big river and feels a bit like our equivelant of ploughing down a motorway to get from A to B. Not a lot of stopping places and not much visibility beyond the treeline, albeit an impressive treeline.

The River Avon joins the Severn at Tewkesbury so we swerved past the hidden sandbank and joined the queue for the lock onto the Avon. This is where the Avon Navigation Trust take your money for the privilege of cruising this river as its not managed by the canal and rivers trust. We paid our dues, £60 for 2 weeks, plus £3 a night to moor in Tewkesbury.

In contrast to Worcester, Tewkesbury High Street hadn’t fallen victim to too many concrete monstrosities, the Georgians got there first so the High Street is a fascinating mix through the ages, each era bringing its own style.

In the Middle Ages the battle of Tewkesbury was pivotal in the War of the Roses when the Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians. Today Tewkesbury is adorned with the banners and coats of arms of the influential families and all there’s a short inscription beside each banner. I think there are 160 displayed around the town. But I can only absorb so many Henry’s and Edwards before they all merge into one big muddle. I wonder how today’s politics will look in 500 years.

The towns history has also been dominated by the Norman Abbey, built for the Benedictine monks in 1122. But following the dissolution of the monasteries and Henry VIII lined his coffers, the towns people bought the Abbey for £453 and it became the parish church. This week there was a visiting Canadian choir singing choral evensong which made it even more special.