Items from Great Malvern Priory church

The medieval collection at Malvern Museum is built around a significant number of items on loan from Great Malvern Priory church. These include carved stonework, timbers and medieval tiles. They probably all originally came from the demolition of parts of the church in the 1540s.  The museum also displays a collection of carved window-heads from the 14th century ‘Guesten Hall’. This was demolished in 1839 having survived as a barn.

The stone corbels on display include two ‘green men’ and a rose and a ‘fleur-de-lis’ (a lily).  The rose and the lily are symbols of the Virgin Mary and these stones may have come from the demolished Lady Chapel.

A selection of medieval items from, Great Malvern Priory
A selection of medieval items from, Great Malvern Priory

Small finds

The collection contains a number of smaller items of local interest.  Four wax seals are Victorian replicas of medieval originals. These came from local religious houses.  Malvern Chase pottery, and small coins found locally by metal-detector are also featured.  Worcester was a major centre of the English cloth trade at the end of the Middle Ages. The sale of wool would have provided a major income for the local monasteries.  At a more personal level, the museum displays two spinning whorls used to spin yarn at home.

Small medieval items (above) and a medieval survivor in the gatehouse (below)
Small medieval items (above) and a 15th century survivor in the gatehouse (below)

The Priory Gatehouse

The earliest dateable parts of the gatehouse are from the late 15th century (1480s) being Perpendicular in style.  The carved north elevation, facing the town was totally replaced in 1891, but there are chance survivals elsewhere.  These include the ornate window in the east wall, the 64 medieval tiles set at the top of that wall, and the small rectangular ‘porter’s squint’ in the gate passage.