John Dixon has used resources gathered over the years by the Tewkesbury Historical Society to produce a short booklet which seeks to place the current debate about the Crescent into its historical context. After all much of the debate about the town’s future focuses upon how best to utilise the town’s superb historical features for modern purposes. All too often, the History is not appreciated especially by those who have not lived in the town all their lives.
In this booklet, we learn that the Crescent itself was never fully developed upon the Bath/Cheltenham model but it was known as the Bull Ring in the Middle Ages when the Town’s market was naturally held outside the gates of the Abbey which dominated the town. Church Street only became a through road in the late 18th century and, until then, the Bell Hotel, aka the Angel or the Ring o’Bells, was a pilgrim’s hostel situated safely in the Abbey’s grounds leaving the muddy road to Gloucester via Deerhurst to pass through today’s Victoria Pleasure Gardens by the Abbey Mill. At one time the Abbey grounds even hosted the Town jail!
The twelve page booklet is illustrated with 21 illustrations including the house, now demolished which was built after the Crescent and really spoiled the area’s harmony. Abbey Lawn House, known to locals as the Mayor’s House was the really the Town Clerk’s grand home, but it was demolished, perhaps unlamented, in the 1960s. The dilapidated house was purchased for the Abbey Lawn Trust in memory of Mrs. Victoria Woodhull-Martin, the controversial, American Lady of the Manor of Bredon’s Norton.
The booklet is designed to be the first rather than the last word in compiling the history of the area and the author would appreciate corrections and additional information.
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