Regional England : The Three W’s

Westmoreland, Wiltshire & Worcestershire,

You may note that I have left out the directional Counties, e.g. West Sussex, West Yorkshire &tc. The reason for this is quite simple! I don’t like to work too hard! The regional taste and feel is the important thing, not the specific town, village or cot.

Since my job (the bill-payer) has recently taken me to Stratford-upon-Avon (the home of the Bard) for a fleeting five days (during which time I took a few pics of my own), Warwickshire will be covered as a single county. However, to balance the book’s somewhat I have added the ancient county of Westmorland, despite its now being a part of Cumbria!

Westmorland

Westmorland formerly also spelt Westmoreland, (even older spellings are Westmerland and Westmereland) is an area of North West England and one of the 39 historic counties of England.

It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974, after which the whole county was absorbed into the new county of Cumbria.

Before 1226 the Barony of Westmorland was part of the Earldom of Carlisle. The historic county boundaries are with Cumberland to the north, County Durham and Yorkshire to the east, and Lancashire to the south and west.

Windermere forms partof the western border with Lancashire north of the sands, and Ullswater part of the border with Cumberland.

It is a beautiful part of the world, no less because of its change in boundary status. According to the 1971 census, Westmorland was the second least populated administrative county in England, after Rutland. The book does indeed have a recipe from Westmorland which I include here because this is very much where it belongs!

Wiltshire

Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England, notable for its pre-Roman archaeology. Fully landlocked it borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers 3,485 km2 (1,346 square miles)

The ancient county town was originally Wilton, home of the carpet, but since 1930 Wiltshire County Council and its successor Wiltshire Council (from 2009) have been based at Trowbridge!
Wiltshire is characterised by its high downland and wide valleys while Salisbury Plain is famous as the location of Stonehenge and other ancient landmarks. It is also the main training area in the UK of the British Army.

The city of Salisbury is notable for its medieval cathedral and there are a few important country houses in Wiltshire including Longleat, near Warminster.

It was the first stately home to open to the public, and also claims the first safari park outside of Africa.

The house was built by Sir John Thynne after the original priory was destroyed by fire in 1567. It took 12 years to complete and is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in Britain. Many of its food roots are shared with the neighbouring counties, particularly Dorset and Somerset.
Around the early 1800’s  the Kennet and Avon Canal was built through Wiltshire providing a route for transporting cargoes from Bristol to London until the development of the Great Western Railway.

Worcestershire

The City of Worcester, is a city and the  county town of Worcestershire in the West Midlands.  Worcester is situated some 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Birmingham and 29 miles (47 km) north of Gloucester, and has an approximate population of 94,000 people.
The River Severn runs through the middle of the city, overlooked by the twelfth-century Worcester Cathedral. The site of the final battle of the Civil War, Worcester was where Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army defeated King Charles II’s Cavaliers, resulting in the English Interregnum, the ten-year period during which England and Wales became a republic!

Worcester was the home of Royal Worcester Porcelain and the birthplace of the composer Sir Edward Elgar. It also houses the Lea and Perrin’s factory where the traditional Worcestershire Sauce is made!

During World War II, the city was chosen to be the seat of an evacuated government in case of mass German invasion. The War Cabinet, along with Winston Churchill and some 16,000 state workers, would have moved to Hindlip Hall, 4.8 km (3 miles) north of Worcester while Parliament itself would have been temporarily re-located to Stratford-upon-Avon.

In the 1950’s and 60’s large areas of the medieval centre of Worcester were demolished and rebuilt as a result of decisions by town planners.

Though there is still a significant area of medieval Worcester remaining, it is but a small fraction of what was present before the redevelopments in South West England, notable for its pre-Roman archaeology.

Sadly I have been unable to find a Worcestershire based recipe in the archive, but should I do so in the near future I shall return to this post! On the other hand, should anybody out there have such a thing in their own files . . .

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