The Year 1788 Remarkable and Interesting Incidents Relative to Tewkesbury Dyde 1798
- On Wednesday morning, the 16th of July, our gracious sovereign, George III. the queen, the princesses Royal, Augusta, and Elizabeth, attended by lady viscountess Weymouth, lord Courtown, and the honourable colonel Digby, honoured this ancient borough with a visit. The king, and his attendants, on horseback; the queen, princesses, and lady Weymouth, in coaches. They were received with the most joyful acclamations; and every possible demonstration of loyalty was shewn on the occasion. The condescending behaviour of their majesties, when passing through the town, at once commanded the respect, and captivated the hearts, of the admiring spectators. The first place their majesties alighted to view was the Mythe Tute, that delightful little eminence situated on the Mythe hill (see Mythe Hamlet, p. 95). Upon their return through the town, they alighted to view that sacred and venerable pile of Gothic architecture, – the abbey church. The concourse of people assembled was very great; all anxious to behold their illustrious king, and his amiable consort. After having seen every thing worthy of observation, his majesty expressed great satisfaction, mounted his horse, and left this place amidst the reiterated plaudits of the multitude, (grateful for the honour conferred upon them by a royal visit) and returned, with the queen and princesses, to Cheltenham to dinner, where they resided for the benefit of his majesty’s health. In the evening the town was generally and brilliantly illuminated, without the least disorder or irregularity, – all was harmony and joy, and each individual seemed desirous to rival the other in acts of respect and gratitude.
On Saturday the 26th, their majesties passed and repassed through this town, in their way to and from the seat of the earl of Coventry, at Croome, upon which occasion the inhabitants gave every proof of their loyalty and attachment to their sovereign. A grand triumphal arch was erected across the street, at the Post Office, adorned and decorated with flowers, bays and other evergreens, and with flags streaming. On the top of the arch his majesty’s arms were placed, and beneath was the following inscription:
“King George I. before his accession to the Throne, was Baron of Tewkesbury.”
“May the illustrious house of Hanover flourish to the latest posterity.”
A band of music was placed on an eminence near the arch, who, as their majesties passed, played, God save the King, &c. and every other means was used to testify the pleasure received on this occasion.
The Christmas of 1788, was memorable for a very hard and severe frost, accompanied with an extreme cold air. It began on the evening of the 23rd of November, and continued without any effectual thaw until the 21st of January, 1789 (being eight weeks and three days), when the bridges of Worcester and Upton were cleared of the ice, so that the river Severn, which had been frozen from the 12th of December to this time (being five weeks and four days) became again navigable, and several barges, laden with coals, came in here, to the relief of the distressed poor, and joy of the inhabitants in general. The hardships of the poor people in this severe season, were extreme, but to the everlasting honour of the ladies and gentlemen of this town and neighbourhood, be it recorded, that they did every thing in their power to alleviate the distresses of their fellow-creatures, in causing coals and bread to be distributed among them. James Martin, esq. one of the representatives, sent 100 guineas for the same purpose.
Source: The History and Antiquities of Tewkesbury by W. Dyde. Second Edition; Tewkesbury 1798