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The Malvern Hills are a range of granite hills that runs from the appropriately named North Hill in the north to Chase End Hill in the south - a distance of approximately 10 miles. The highest point is the Worcestershire Beacon (1,394 ft). British Camp (also known as the Herefordshire Beacon) is the site of an Iron Age hill fort dating from about 300 BC, with the steep earthwork ramparts still clearly defined.
The hills were used to place beacons that warned of invasion in the Middle Ages. To the south, the slopes of the hills are quite gentle, which gives good walking country. Pure spring water from the Malvern Hills led the Victorians to turn Malvern town into a spa, which caused it to expand rapidly.
Malvern is in fact a collection of distinct settlements, nestling around the hills. There is Great Malvern, Little Malvern, North Malvern, West Malvern, Malvern Wells and Malvern Link. Malvern Link is so named because extra horses had to be harnessed here to get stagecoaches up the steep hill to the main town of Great Malvern. Great Malvern has a number of fine Georgian and Victorian houses. A Benedictine Priory was founded in the town in 1085, which is second only to York Minster in its collection of 15th century stained glass. The North Transept window was the gift of Henry VII and is noted for its glorious yellows.
The church and the Refectory of the Priory that was founded at Little Malvern in 1150 still survive. Wynd's Point, behind the Priory, was once the home of the singer Jenny Lind. The 14th century poet William Langland sat on the slopes of the hills by Little Malvern to compose some of his poems, which included the Vision of Piers Plowman. The composer Sir Edward Elgar lived in Malvern and is buried in St. Wulstan's R.C. churchyard on the road to Malvern Wells. The old stocks and the whipping post still remain at North Malvern.
Modern day Malvern is home to two fine private schools, the Morgan motor car factory, and remains a centre for scientific and technological innovation.