title="Ripple Parish Council in Worcestershire">

Local History

Cross and StocksThe Parish was formerly much larger and at the date of the Domesday Survey included Upton upon Severn, all the three Croomes together with Queenhill and Holdfast. It was at that time one of the largest parishes in Worcestershire. Over the years various areas were transferred to neighbouring parishes to reduce it to its present size. Prior to the opening of the Birmingham/Bristol railway (closed under the Beeching axe*) the Parish was crossed from north to south by the coach road from the south west to the Midlands, which made it a prosperous area.

Ripple was known as "rippel" in AD 680 which has connections with the Norwegian "ripel", a strip of woodland or coppice. This is also referred to as "rypel" in ancient charters to denote a strip of land bestowed by some benefactor. This definition obviously confirms the shape of the Parish which extends north/south by 4.5 miles and east/west by 1.5 miles.

In 1643 the Battle of Ripple** was fought on Ripple meadow between the Parliamentarians under Sir William Waller who was defeated by the Royalists commanded by Prince Maurice, as part of the Civil War.

Related Links...

Go there...   * BBC History - The Beeching Axe
Go there...   ** British Civil Wars Society
Go there...   British History Online - Ripple

Ripple Station and Malvern-Ashchurch line. 1861-1961

Looking at an Ordinance Survey map of Ripple Parish, and at other old maps, seeing signs in Ripple of Station Road and the Railway pub, a residence called Station House with a unique style of architecture, crossing bridges over nothing in Uckinghall and Ripple, are all the obvious clues to the fact that once we had a railway service in the Parish, with a station at Ripple.

The line ran from Great Malvern, with stations at Malvern Wells and Upton (on the site of Door Panels Co. today) , crossing the river at Saxons Lode and passing to the west of the Oil Depot and on to Ripple Station (Station House today, at the junction of Station Road and Bow lane). Then running alongside Bow Lane, across the M50, and into Gloucestershire, through the Mythe tunnel into a station near the Tewkesbury marina, and then onto the main line at Ashchurch.

The line from Malvern to Ashchurch is nearly 14 miles long, with very little gradient, three bridges and a tunnel. The first bridge, 62 yards long, was over the Avon at Tewkesbury, near the present marina, and the second crossed the Severn at Saxons Lode. This was 145 yards long with five spans and a sliding center section to allow tall masted ships to pass through. This was controlled by a chain drive, but not much used after the mid 1930's. The tunnel was 420 yard long, starting near The Mythe bridge. The closed up entrance is still visible. Shortly before the line closed in 1961, a further bridge was added along Bow Lane, where it crosses the M50, and it remains today.

Click here to see a passenger service in steam at Ripple Station in 1952.

The Tewkesbury & Malvern Railway Company was formed in 1860, and built a line from Malvern Hill (Malvern Wells) to Tewkesbury, linked on to the main line at Ashchurch. The extension from Malvern Wells to Great Malvern was completed in 1862, and the whole line was worked by the Midland Railway.

Until the end of the 1914-1918 war, traffic between Malvern and Tewkesbury was about six passenger and mixed freight trains in each direction per day. Traffic reduced slightly, and by the late 1930's there were five trains per day, with a late night service on Thursdays and Saturdays. Freight was mainly domestic coal, general merchandise and livestock.

The line was never heavily used, and by the end of 1952 the Upton to Malvern section of the line was closed. The last section of the line from Upton to Tewkesbury closed in 1961 to passenger traffic, but carried freight for a further two years.

The gradual closure of the line was due to the decline in local rail traffic, and not the Beeching Axe. In the 13 years before the Beeching report of 1962, British Rail closed 3105 miles of track, with 4083 miles being closed in the 11 years from 1963 to 1973. And so went our rural railway heritage.

If you are interested in the technical detail of the line, the track layout, the engines and rolling stock, and T&M railway memorabilia, then local historian Rupert Chambers will probably be able to help you. Contact him on rupert.chambers@virgin.net.