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A Tribute to Bill Gwilliam MBE

A Tribute to Bill Gwilliam, MBE

Old Roads Articles

The Effect on Road Coaches

The Effect on Road Coaches

The effect of the railways on road coaches in the Birmingham area fluctuated from boom to disaster. Until 1835, six coaches set out daily in each direction to and from Birmingham and Worcester


Alfred Watkins and Salt Leys

Alfred Watkins and Salt Leys

Alfred Watkins, famous for his book 'The Old Straight Track' and Ley Lines, gave a lecture to the Woolhope Society in 1922, at which he put forward the view that place-names containing 'White' or a corruption of White, pointed to ancient salt roads or leys.

Toot Hills

Toot Hills

Toothills are rounded hills rising beside ancient trackway, which were pre-Roman places of worship, dedicated to Teutates, or Toot. Lees considered Elbury Mount to be a Toothill, and that the ancient track called Porte Fields which ran between Helbury Hill

Travelling On The Old Roads

Travelling On The Old Roads

The old roads were alive with multifarious travellers, and in 1911, an old contributor to a Worcester paper looked back with nostalgia:'The cycle and the motor car have in some measure restored life to our highways, but our modern vehicles cannot invest

A Pre-Historic Track from Bredon Hill to Midsummer Hill

A Pre-Historic Track from Bredon Hill to Midsummer Hill

In the Worcestershire Archaeological Society's Transactions of 1936, Edward F. Gray of Ripple Hall recorded an ancient trackway going through Ripple Churchyard, as follows:Bredon Hill and Midsummer Hill were once connected by a track, now partly overgrown

Prehistoric Trackways in Worcestershire

Prehistoric Trackways in Worcestershire

Worcestershire was once part of a large river estuary with the range of the Malvern Hills on the west side, and the hills of Clent and Lickey leading to the Ridgeway on the eastern border. The rivers were tidal to Bewdley at the least, with great areas

Roman Roads

Roman Roads

Of the four greatest roads built by the Romans in Britain, only one, the Foss Way, touched the area of modern Worcestershire, and that at the two outlying 'island' parts, which have now been lost to us by the re-drawing of the county borders. The two most

Track across Kempsey Common

Track across Kempsey Common

An ancient ridgeway track led across Kempsey Common through Kerswell Green to Severn Stoke

Michael Grundy writes:

No-one has done more in a lifetime than H.W ("Bill") Gwilliam to chronicle the history of the City of Worcester and County of Worcestershire. Importantly too, his prolific writings on the Faithful City's past have always been in a most readable, fascinating and absorbing form, full of colour and with a liberal sprinkling of humour.

After retiring from a distinguished career in teaching, Bill researched and compiled volume after typewritten volume on the history of the city and county of Worcester, covering a myriad of subjects such as folklore, pubs, crimes, newspapers, transport. rivers and, above all, "People and Places."

Eighteen years ago, when I began producing weekly features on local history for the Worcester Evening News, I received invaluable help from Bill, and I am sure many other local history researchers down the decades will have had cause to be equally grateful for his ready assistance.

Bill has always shown abounding enthusiasm for the extremely eventful and chequered past of Worcester and the county and has been a veritable font of knowledge on his painstakingly researched subject.

Little wonder that the Queen bestowed the MBE on him for services to the public. I know that the Buckingham Palace Investiture where he received the medal from Her Majesty was probably the most memorable day of his life.

Happily, Bill's vast writings are not being allowed to languish in numerous file folders on shelves around a bedroom at his Worcester home.

Two books of his work have already been published - "Old Worcester: People and Places" and "Worcestershire's Hidden Past" and are available in bookshops, having been produced by Halfshire Books.

I understand too that the Worcestershire Record Office has copied several of his volumes for the county archives, and I heartily applaud Pam Hinks for now so patiently making Bill's researches available to an even wider audience via the Internet.

Mike Grundy, Worcestershire Evening News