Visit Tewkesbury by Mouse
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Tewkesbury, located where the Severn and the Avon rivers join, in Gloucestershire, is another of the towns that have many half-timbered buildings, called black and whites, that have a long history and are so pretty. It is 120 miles northwest of London, 15 miles north of Gloucester and 18 miles east of Ledbury.
In the summer of 2007, its location became a problem, because it was flooded during the period of heavy rains. The Wikipedia article in the Tewkesbury link above includes a paragraph about the flood. On the photos page you will see how it looked when we visited in 2006, and also an aerial photo that appeared in many US newspapers showing how it looked flooded. That photo shows Tewkesbury Abbey on an island. In the right foreground, where there is mostly water, is where our campground was. One of Ron's photos shows the Abbey as we saw it from that campground. You can see that it was just a short walk to the main street. We fear that some of the beautiful Tudor black and whites that have survived from the 15th and 16th centuries, particularly those near one of the rivers, which you will see in the photographs, were at least partially under water. We do not know the fate of one of the most historic, the Royal Hop Pole Inn. It was mentioned in Dickens' "Pickwick Papers". The photos page shows that inn as well as a placque on its front that has the quote from the book. The Wikipedia article reports that the inn was recently bought by the Wetherspoon Pub chain and it will become part of the chain.
 
Tewkesbury is a market town and had an open-air market behind the buildings on the main shopping street about a half-mile or so from the Abbey.  We walked there and visited a small museum that afternoon.  The next morning we took a leisurely walk down the main street, turned left to the river or perhaps only a channel off the river, and walked back along it, taking photos.  Then we took the bus to Gloucester, only 15 miles away.  Gloucester also was flooded in 2007.
 
The Abbey dates from the early 12th century and is one of the largest churches that are not cathedrals.  Indeed , fourteen of England's cathedrals are smaller than this Abbey.  When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1539 this one was saved by the townspeople who bought it.  The price they paid was estimated from the value of the lead on its roof, and its bells.  Dissolution would have torn these out and sold them, with proceeds going to the king.
There is only a brief mention of Tewkesbury in our letter from this area. Photos   Slideshow
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