BEWDLEY, a market town and municipal borough in the Bewdley parliamentary division of Worcestershire, England; 137 m. N.W. by W. from London and 174 N. by W. from Worcester by rail. Pop. (1901) 2866. The Worcester-Shrewsbury line of the Great Western is here joined by lines east from Birmingham and west from Tenbury. Bewdley is pleasantly situated on the sloping right bank of the Severn, on the eastern border of the forest of Wyre. A bridge by Telford (1797) crosses the river. A free grammar school, founded in 1591, was refounded by James I. in 1606, and possesses a large library bequeathed in 1812. The town manufactures combs and horn goods, brass and iron wares, leather, malt, bricks and ropes. The town is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 2105 acres.
Bewdley (i.e. Beaulieu) is probably referred to in the Domesday survey as "another Ribbesford," and was held by the king. The manor, then called Bellus Locus or Beaulieu on account of its beautiful situation, was afterwards granted to the Mortimers, in whose family it continued until it was merged in the crown on the accession of Edward IV. It is from this time that Bewdley dates its importance. Through its situation on the Severn it was connected with the sea, and in 1250 a bridge, the only one between it and Worcester, was built across the river and added greatly to the commerce of the town. From Edward IV. Bewdley received its charter in 1472, and there 1 On double marriage in early romance see G. Paris, "La Legende du mari aux deux femmes," in La Poesie du moyen age (2nd series, Paris, 1895); and A. Nutt, "The Lai of Eliduc," &c., in Folk-Lore, vol. iii. (1892).
appears to be no evidence that it was a borough before this time. Other charters were granted in 1605, 1685 and 1708. By James I.'s charter the burgesses sent one member to parliament, and continued to do so until 1885. A fair and a market on Wednesday weregranted by Edward III. in 1373 to his grand-daughter Philippa, wife of Edmund Mortimer, and confirmed to Richard, duke of York, by Henry VI. Edward IV. also granted the burgesses a market on Saturdays, and three fairs, which were confirmed to them by Henry VII. Coal-mines were worked in Bewdley as early as 1669, and the town was formerly noted for making caps.
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