The Great Malvern Priory was founded in 1085, Norman times, by a monk from Worcester called Aldwin who came to live in the forests of Malvern to try and start a monastic community here.
The Priory has a rich and exciting past. Highlights, shown in a recent dramatised production of the Priory history, include:
- Monks from the Abbey that the Priory was originally attached to selflessly cared for sick people during the Black Death of 1349 - many of them caught the plague and died. This caring for the sick was not the case everywhere and many Abbeys locked their doors against the sick.
- The extraordinary 2nd Prior, Walcher, was one of the most eminent scientists in Europe, and the man who brought Arabic numbers to England to replace the cumbersome Latin counting system.
- The Priory was rescued by the local community, following the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII.
- Money worries caused Charles I to sell off his forest rights in the Royal Chases, (including Malvern).
The original building was built as part of a Monastery on ground belonging to Westminster Abbey. Over the years it was extended and modified, with major changes in the 1400s including the addition of stained glass windows. It was partly demolished in the 1530s during which time it was largely saved by becoming a replacement parish church. It was not until the late 1800s and early 1900s that there was sufficient finance in the community to restore the building, but with the growth of Malvern as a Victorian spa town, the church benefited greatly for its renewed attention.