The Black Country is an area of the West Midlands, west of Birmingham and refers to a region covering most of the four Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton. During the Industrial Revolution, it became one of the most industrialised parts of Britain with coal mines, iron foundries, glass factories and steel mills producing a high level of air pollution; the 14-mile road between Wolverhampton and Birmingham was described as "one continuous town" in 1785. The first trace of "The Black Country" as an expression dates from the 1840s; the name is believed to come from the soot from the heavy industries that covered the area, although the 30-foot-thick coal seam close to the surface is another possible origin. Although the heavy polluting industry that gave the region its name has long since disappeared, a sense of shared history and tradition in the area has kept the term in use. In addition, the regeneration of the area by local and national government has brought official recognition to the region and to some extent defined its boundary.
The Black Country has no single set of defined boundaries. Some traditionalists define it as "the area where the coal seam comes to the surface – so West Bromwich, Oldbury, Cradley Heath, Old Hill, Dudley, Tipton and parts of Halesowen and Walsall but not Wolverhampton and Smethwick or what used to be known as Warley". There are records from the 18th century of shallow coal mines in Wolverhampton, however. Others have included areas outside the coal field which were associated with heavy industry. Bilston-born Samuel Griffiths, in his 1876 Griffiths Guide to the Iron Trade of Great Britain, stated "The Black Country commences at Wolverhampton, extends a distance of sixteen miles to Stourbridge, eight miles to West Bromwich, penetrating the northern districts through Willenhall to Bentley, The Birchills and Darlaston, Wednesbury and Dudley Port, West Bromwich and Hill Top, Brockmoor and Stourbridge; as the atmosphere becomes purer, we get to the higher ground of Brierley Hill here as far as the eye can reach, on all sides, tall chimneys vomit forth great clouds of smoke".
He stated that "Wolverhampton is considered to be The Capital of the Black Country", as well as "The Capital of the Iron Trade in the Black Country". Today the term refers to the majority or all of the four metropolitan boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton although it is said that "no two Black Country men or women will agree on where it starts or ends". Official use of the name came in 1987 with the Black Country Development Corporation, an urban development corporation covering the metropolitan boroughs of Sandwell and Walsall, disbanded in 1998; the Black Country Consortium and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership both define the Black Country as the four metropolitan boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton, an approximate area of 138 square miles. The borders of the Black Country can be defined by using the special cultural and industrial characteristics of the area. Areas around the canals which had mines extracting mineral resources and heavy industry refining these are included in this definition.
Cultural parameters include unique or characteristic foods such as Groaty pudding, Grey Peas and Bacon, gammon or pork hocks and pork scratchings. The Black Country Society defines the Black Country's borders as the area on the thirty foot coal seam, regardless the depth of the seam; this definition includes West Bromwich and Oldbury, which had many deep pits, Smethwick. The thick coal that underlies Smethwick was not mined until the 1870s and Smethwick has retained more Victorian character than most West Midland areas. Sandwell Park Colliery's pit was located in Smethwick and had'thick coal' as shown in written accounts from 1878 and coal was heavily mined in Hamstead, further east, whose workings extended well under what is now north Birmingham. Smethwick and Dudley Port were described as "a thousand swarming hives of metallurgical industries" by Samuel Griffiths in 1872; the Black Country Society excludes Wolverhampton and Stourbridge geologically, but includes them culturally, linguistically and in terms of heavy industry as both had iron and steel works, manufacturing industries and contributed enormously to the region.
Warley is included, despite lacking industry and canals, as housing for industrial workers in Smethwick and Oldbury was built there. Another geological definition, the seam outcrop definition, only includes areas where the coal seam is shallow making the soil black at the surface; some coal mining areas to the east and west of the geologically defined Black Country are therefore excluded by this definition because the coal here is too deep down and does not outcrop. The seam outcrop definition excludes areas in South Staffordshire; the first recorded use of the term "the Black Country" may be from a toast given by a Mr Simpson, town clerk to Lichfield, addressing a Reformer's meeting on 24 November 1841, published in the Staffordshire Advertiser. He describes going into the "black country" of Staffordshire - Wolverhampton and Tipton. In published literature, the first reference dates from 1846 and occurs in the novel Colton Green: A Tale of the Black Country by the Reverend William Gresley, a prebendary of Lichfield Cathedral.
He introduces the area as "that dismal region of mines and forges called'the Black Country'", implying that the term was in use. Gresley's opening paragraph stated "The sce
Arm and hammer
The arm and hammer is a symbol consisting of a muscular arm holding a hammer. Used in ancient times as a symbol of the god Vulcan, it came to be known as a symbol of industry, for example blacksmithing and gold-beating, it has been used as a symbol by many different kinds of organizations, including banks, local government, socialist political parties. It has been used in heraldry, appearing in the Coat of arms of Seal of Wisconsin; the similarity to the name of the industrialist Armand Hammer is not a coincidence: he was named after the symbol, as his father Julius Hammer was a supporter of socialist causes, including the Socialist Labor Party of America, with its arm-and-hammer logo. The Arm & Hammer brand is a registered trademark of Church & Dwight, an American manufacturer of household products. According to the company, the logo represented Vulcan. Armand Hammer made an offer to outright purchase this company having this brand with the similarity to his name, while this offer was refused, he acquired enough stock to have a controlling interest and join the board of directors.
He remained an owner until his death in 1990. An arm-and-hammer sign can be seen in Manette Street, symbolizing the trade of gold-beating carried on there in the nineteenth century, it is referred to by Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities. As of 2016, the sign there is a replica, with the original being held in the Dickens Museum. Hammer and pick Hammer and sickle Media related to Arms with hammer in heraldry at Wikimedia Commons Media related to Hammers in heraldry at Wikimedia Commons
British Asians are persons of South Asian descent who reside in the United Kingdom. In British English usage, the term Asian refers to people with roots in South Asia the Indian subcontinent, i.e. modern countries of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Immigration of small numbers of South Asians to England began with the arrival of the East India Company to the Indian subcontinent in the 17th century. Indians came to Britain, for educational or economic reasons, during the British Raj, with most returning to India after a few months or years, in greater numbers as the Indian independence movement led to the partition of 1947 creating the separate countries of India and Bangladesh; the most significant wave of Asian immigration to and settlement in the United Kingdom came following World War II, the breakup of the British Empire and the independence of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh during the 1950s and 1960s. An influx of Asian immigrants took place following the expulsion or flight of Indian communities from the newly independent Uganda and Tanzania in the early 1970s.
In Britain, the word "Asian" refers to people of South Asian ancestry. This usage contrasts to that in the United States, where it is used to refer to people of East Asian origin; the British Sociological Association's guidelines on equality and diversity suggest that "South Asian" is more precise than "Asian", that the latter should not be used where there is a risk of it conflating South Asians with people from elsewhere in Asia. The United Kingdom Census 1991 was the first to include a question on ethnicity; the question had tick-boxes for "Indian", "Pakistani" and "Bangladeshi". There was a tick box, as well as a general "Any other ethnic group" option for those not wishing to identify with any of the pre-set tick boxes. For the 2001 Census, in England and Wales, "Indian", "Pakistani" and "Bangladeshi" and "Any other Asian background" options were grouped under an "Asian or Asian British" heading, with appearing under a separate heading. In Scotland, all of these tick-boxes were grouped together under an "Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British " heading, in Northern Ireland no broad headings were used, just tick-boxes for each of the Asian groups.
The 2011 Census questionnaire was more consistent with regard to the grouping of Asian ethnicities, such that Indian, Bangladeshi and any other Asian background options appeared under a broad "Asian/Asian British" heading in all parts of the UK. The 2011 UK Census recorded 1,451,862 residents of Indian, 1,174,983 of Pakistani and 451,529 of Bangladeshi ethnicity, making a total South Asian population of 3,078,374, excluding other Asian groups and people of mixed ethnicity. South Asian ethnic groups originate from a few select places in South Asia, these are known as place of origins. British Indians tend to originate from the two Indian States and Gujarat. Evidence from Bradford and Birmingham have shown, Pakistanis originate from the Mirpur District in Azad Kashmir; the second largest ethnic group of British Pakistanis are the Punjabi people from Attock District of Punjab followed by pathans and other ethnic groups from the districts of Nowshera and Ghazi in province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
In the London Borough of Waltham Forest there are substantial numbers of Pakistani people originating from Jhelum, Punjab. Studies have shown 95 per cent of Bangladeshis originate from the Sylhet region, one of the 8 divisions in Bangladesh, located in the Northeastern part of Bangladesh. Districts include Sylhet, Habiganj and Sunamganj. In Tower Hamlets, people have origins in different zones in the Sylhet region from Jagannathpur and Bishwanath, along with Sylhet Sadar and other cities.. South Asians who marked "Other Asian" as an ethnic group and wrote in their specific ethnic group were of Sri Lankan origin. Due to a growing sense of affiliation with Britain, many third generation South Asians chose to not mark "Asian or British Asian" and instead marked "British Asian" in the "Other Asian" write in section; the language spoken by Indians are, Gujarati, Hindustani, Tamil and Malayalam. People from Pakistan speak Urdu, Mirpuri, Sindhi, Kashmiri and Seraiki. Gujaratis who emigrated from India and East Africa speak Gujarati and Kutchi, while a sizeable number of Gujarati Muslims speak Urdu for religious and cultural reasons.
Bangladeshis from Sylhet speak Bengali. People from Sri Lanka speak Sinhala; those who speak dialects refer their language to the main language, for example Sylheti speakers say they speak Bengali or Mirpuri speakers say they speak Punjabi. The reason for this is; the unemployment rate among Indian men was only higher than that for White British or White Irish men, 7 per cent compared with 5 per cent for the other two groups. On the other hand, Pakistanis have higher unemployment rates of 13-14%, Bangladeshis have one of the highest rates, around 23%; some surveys revealed the Indian unemployment rate to be 6-7% Persons of Indian or mixed Indian origin are more than White Briti
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England. It borders with Cheshire to the northwest and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the southeast, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, Shropshire to the west; the largest city in Staffordshire is Stoke-on-Trent, administered separately from the rest of the county as an independent unitary authority. Lichfield has city status, although this is a smaller cathedral city. Major towns include Stafford, Burton upon Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Tamworth. Smaller towns include Stone, Uttoxeter, Burntwood/Chasetown, Eccleshall and the large villages of Wombourne, Tutbury, Barton-under-Needwood and Abbots Bromley. Cannock Chase AONB is within the county as well as parts of the National Forest and the Peak District national park. Wolverhampton, West Bromwich and Smethwick are within the historic county boundaries of Staffordshire, but since 1974 have been part of the West Midlands county. Apart from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire is divided into the districts of Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Newcastle-under-Lyme, South Staffordshire, Staffordshire Moorlands, Tamworth.
Staffordshire was divided into five hundreds: Cuttlestone, Pirehill and Totmonslow. The historic boundaries of Staffordshire cover much of what is now the metropolitan county of West Midlands. An administrative county of Staffordshire was set up in 1889 under the Local Government Act 1888 covering the county except the county boroughs of Wolverhampton and West Bromwich in the south, Hanley in the north; the Act saw the towns of Tamworth and Burton upon Trent united in Staffordshire. In 1553 Queen Mary made Lichfield a county corporate, meaning it was administered separately from the rest of Staffordshire, it remained so until 1888. Handsworth and Perry Barr became part of the county borough of Birmingham in the early 20th century, thus associated with Warwickshire. Burton, in the east of the county, became a county borough in 1901, was followed by Smethwick, another town in the Black Country in 1907. In 1910 the six towns of the Staffordshire Potteries, including Hanley, became the single county borough of Stoke-on-Trent.
A significant boundary change occurred in 1926 when the east of Sedgley was transferred to Worcestershire to allow the construction of the new Priory Estate on land purchased by Dudley County Borough council. A major reorganisation in the Black Country in 1966, under the recommendation of the Local Government Commission for England led to the creation of an area of contiguous county boroughs; the County Borough of Warley was formed by the merger of the county borough of Smethwick and municipal borough of Rowley Regis with the Worcestershire borough of Oldbury: the resulting county borough was associated with Worcestershire. Meanwhile, the county borough of Dudley a detached part of Worcestershire and became associated with Staffordshire instead; this reorganisation led to the administrative county of Staffordshire having a thin protrusion passing between the county boroughs and Shropshire, to the west, to form a short border with Worcestershire. Under the Local Government Act 1972, on 1 April 1974 the county boroughs of the Black Country and the Aldridge-Brownhills Urban District of Staffordshire became, along with Birmingham and Coventry and other districts, a new metropolitan county of West Midlands.
County boroughs were abolished, with Stoke becoming a non-metropolitan district in Staffordshire, Burton forming an unparished area in the district of East Staffordshire. On 1 April 1997, under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, Stoke-on-Trent became a unitary authority independent of Staffordshire once more. In July 2009 the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold found in Britain was discovered in a field near Lichfield; the artefacts, known as The Staffordshire Hoard have tentatively been dated to the 7th or 8th centuries, placing the origin of the items in the time of the Kingdom of Mercia. This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of the non-metropolitan county of Staffordshire at current basic prices published by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British pounds sterling; some nationally and internationally known companies have their base in Staffordshire. They include the Britannia Building Society, based in Leek. JCB is based in Rocester near Uttoxeter and Bet365, based in Stoke-on-Trent.
The theme park Alton Towers is in the Staffordshire Moorlands and several of the world's largest pottery manufacturers are based in Stoke-on-Trent. Staffordshire has a comprehensive system with eight independent schools. Most secondary schools are from 11–16 or 18, but two in Staffordshire Moorlands and South Staffordshire are from 13–18. Resources are shared. There are two universities in the county, Keele University in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire University, which has campuses in Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford and Shrewsbury; the modern county of Staffordshire has three professional football clubs – Stoke City and Port Vale, both from Stoke-on-Trent, Burton Albion, who play in Burton upon Trent. Stoke City, one of the oldest professional football clubs in existence, were founded in 1863 and played at the Victoria Ground for 119 years from 1878 until their relocation to the Britannia Stadium in 1997, they were among the 12 founder members of the Football League in 1888. By the late 1930s, they were establi
Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th century, the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French; this is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, as during this period the English language was influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English. Old English developed from a set of Anglo-Frisian or Ingvaeonic dialects spoken by Germanic tribes traditionally known as the Angles and Jutes; as the Anglo-Saxons became dominant in England, their language replaced the languages of Roman Britain: Common Brittonic, a Celtic language, Latin, brought to Britain by Roman invasion. Old English had four main dialects, associated with particular Anglo-Saxon kingdoms: Mercian, Northumbrian and West Saxon.
It was West Saxon that formed the basis for the literary standard of the Old English period, although the dominant forms of Middle and Modern English would develop from Mercian. The speech of eastern and northern parts of England was subject to strong Old Norse influence due to Scandinavian rule and settlement beginning in the 9th century. Old English is one of the West Germanic languages, its closest relatives are Old Frisian and Old Saxon. Like other old Germanic languages, it is different from Modern English and difficult for Modern English speakers to understand without study. Old English grammar is similar to that of modern German: nouns, adjectives and verbs have many inflectional endings and forms, word order is much freer; the oldest Old English inscriptions were written using a runic system, but from about the 9th century this was replaced by a version of the Latin alphabet. Englisc, which the term English is derived from, means'pertaining to the Angles'. In Old English, this word was derived from Angles.
During the 9th century, all invading Germanic tribes were referred to as Englisc. It has been hypothesised that the Angles acquired their name because their land on the coast of Jutland resembled a fishhook. Proto-Germanic *anguz had the meaning of'narrow', referring to the shallow waters near the coast; that word goes back to Proto-Indo-European *h₂enǵʰ- meaning'narrow'. Another theory is that the derivation of'narrow' is the more connection to angling, which itself stems from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning bend, angle; the semantic link is the fishing hook, curved or bent at an angle. In any case, the Angles may have been called such because they were a fishing people or were descended from such, therefore England would mean'land of the fishermen', English would be'the fishermen's language'. Old English was not static, its usage covered a period of 700 years, from the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain in the 5th century to the late 11th century, some time after the Norman invasion. While indicating that the establishment of dates is an arbitrary process, Albert Baugh dates Old English from 450 to 1150, a period of full inflections, a synthetic language.
Around 85 per cent of Old English words are no longer in use, but those that survived are basic elements of Modern English vocabulary. Old English is a West Germanic language, it came to be spoken over most of the territory of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms which became the Kingdom of England. This included most of present-day England, as well as part of what is now southeastern Scotland, which for several centuries belonged to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. Other parts of the island – Wales and most of Scotland – continued to use Celtic languages, except in the areas of Scandinavian settlements where Old Norse was spoken. Celtic speech remained established in certain parts of England: Medieval Cornish was spoken all over Cornwall and in adjacent parts of Devon, while Cumbric survived to the 12th century in parts of Cumbria, Welsh may have been spoken on the English side of the Anglo-Welsh border. Norse was widely spoken in the parts of England which fell under Danish law. Anglo-Saxon literacy developed after Christianisation in the late 7th century.
The oldest surviving text of Old English literature is Cædmon's Hymn, composed between 658 and 680. There is a limited corpus of runic inscriptions from the 5th to 7th centuries, but the oldest coherent runic texts date to the 8th century; the Old English Latin alphabet was introduced around the 9th century. With the unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms by Alfred the Great in the 9th century, the language of government and literature became standardised around the West Saxon dialect. Alfred advocated education in English alongside Latin, had many works translated into the English language. In Old English, typical of the development of literature, poetry arose before prose, but King Alfred the Great chiefly inspired the growth of prose. A literary standard, dating from the 10th century, arose under the influence of Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester, was followed by such writers as the prolific Ælfric of Eynsham. Th
William Shakespeare was an English poet and actor regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", his extant works, including collaborations, consist of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men known as the King's Men. At age 49, he appears to have retired to Stratford. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; such theories are criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres; until about 1608, he wrote tragedies, among them Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays; the volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time". Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance.
His plays remain popular and are studied and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world. William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover from Snitterfield, Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer, he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day; this date, which can be traced to a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616. He was the third of eight children, the eldest surviving son. Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare was educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree, the school would have provided an intensive education in grammar based upon Latin classical authors.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582; the next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed two years and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596. After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592; the exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589. Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years".
Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported; some 20th-century scholars have suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area, it is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of
Worcestershire is a county in the West Midlands of England. Between 1974 and 1998, it was merged with the neighbouring county of Herefordshire as Hereford and Worcester; the cathedral city of Worcester is county town. Other major towns in the county include Bromsgrove, Evesham, Malvern and Stourport-on-Severn; the north-east of Worcestershire includes part of the industrial West Midlands. The county is divided into six administrative districts: Worcester, Wychavon, Malvern Hills, Wyre Forest, Bromsgrove; the county borders Herefordshire to the west, Shropshire to the north-west, Staffordshire only just to the north, West Midlands to the north and north-east, Warwickshire to the east and Gloucestershire to the south. The western border with Herefordshire includes a stretch along the top of the Malvern Hills. At the southern border with Gloucestershire Worcestershire meets the northern edge of the Cotswolds. Two major rivers flow through the county: the Avon; the geographical area now known as Worcestershire was first populated at least 700,000 years ago.
The area became predominantly agricultural in the Bronze Age, leading to population growth and more evidence of settlement. By the Iron Age, hill forts dominated the landscape. Settlement of these swiftly ended with the Roman occupation of Britain; the Roman period saw establishment of the villa system in the Vale of Evesham. Droitwich was the most important settlement in the county in this period, due to its product of salt. There is evidence for Roman settlement and industrial activity around Worcester and King's Norton. Worcestershire was the heartland of the early English kingdom of the Hwicce, it was absorbed by the Kingdom of Mercia during the 7th century and became part of the unified Kingdom of England in 927. It was a separate ealdormanship in the 10th century before forming part of the Earldom of Mercia in the 11th century. In the years leading up to the Norman conquest, the Church, supported by the cathedral, Evesham Abbey, Pershore Abbey, Malvern Priory, other religious houses dominated the county.
During the Middle Ages, much of the county's economy was based on the wool trade. Many areas of its dense forests, such as Feckenham Forest, Horewell Forest and Malvern Chase, were royal hunting grounds subject to forest law; the last known Anglo-Saxon sheriff of the county was Cyneweard of Laughern, the first Norman sheriff was Urse d'Abetot who built the castle of Worcester and seized much church land. On 4 August 1265, Simon de Montfort was killed in the Battle of Evesham in Worcestershire. In 1642, the Battle of Powick Bridge was the first major skirmish of the English Civil War; the county suffered from being on the Royalist front line, as it was subject to heavy taxation and the pressing of men into the Royalist army, which reduced its productive capacity. The northern part of the county, a centre of iron production, was important for military supplies. Parliamentarian raids and Royalist requisitioning both placed a great strain on the county. There were tensions from the participation of prominent Catholic recusants in the military and civilian organisation of the county.
Combined with the opposition to requisitioning from both sides, bands of Clubmen formed to keep the war away from their localities. The Battle of Worcester in 1651 ended the third civil war. There was little enthusiasm or local participation in the Scottish Royalist army, whose defeat was welcomed. Parliamentarian forces ransacked the city of Worcester, causing heavy damage and destruction of property. Around 10,000 Scottish prisoners were sent into forced labour in the New World or fen drainage schemes; the small bands of Scots that fled into Worcestershire's countryside were attacked by local forces and killed. In the 19th century, Worcester was a centre for the manufacture of gloves. Droitwich Spa, situated on large deposits of salt, was a centre of salt production from Roman times, with one of the principal Roman roads running through the town; these old industries have since declined. The county is home to the world's oldest continually published newspaper, the Berrow's Journal, established in 1690.
Malvern was one of the centres of the 19th century rise in English spa towns due to Malvern water being believed to be pure, containing "nothing at all". The 2011 census found the population of Worcestershire to be 566,169, an increase of 4.4% from the 2001 population of 542,107. Though the total number of people in every ethnic group increased between 2001 and 2011, the White British share of Worcestershire's population decreased from 95.5% to 92.4%, as did the share of white ethnic groups as whole, which went from 97.5% to 95.7%. While this change is in line with the nationwide trend of White British people's share of the population shrinking, Worcestershire is still much more ethnically homogeneous than the national average. In 2011 England as a whole was 79.8% White British, much lower than Worcestershire's figure of 92.4%. Local government in Worcestershire has changed several times since the middle of the 19th centiry. Worcestershire had several exclaves, which were areas of land cut off from the main geographical area of Worcestershire and surrounded by the nearby counties of Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
The most notable were Dudley, th