Coat of Arms
Worcestershire is a non-metropolitan county in the West Midlands of England. In 1974, it merged with the neighbouring county of Herefordshire to form Hereford and Worcester. This was divided in 1998, re-establishing Worcestershire as a county.
The cathedral city of Worcester is the largest settlement and administrative seat of the county. The north-east of the county includes part of the industrial West Midlands conurbation while the rest of the county is largely rural.
Absorbed by the Kingdom of Mercia during the 7th century and then by the unified Kingdom of England from 927 to 1707, it was a separate ealdormanship briefly 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, including the cathedral, Evesham Abbey, Pershore Abbey, Malvern Priory and other religious houses, increasingly dominated county. Worcestershire was the site of the Battle of Evesham in which Simon de Montfort was killed on 4 August 1265. In 1642, the site of the Battle of Powick Bridge the first major skirmish of the English Civil War, and the Battle of Worcester in 1651 that effectively ended it.
During the Middle Ages, much of the county's economy was based on the wool trade, and many areas of its dense forests, such as Malvern Chase, were royal hunting grounds. In the nineteenth century, Worcester was a centre for the manufacture of gloves and the town of Kidderminster became a centre for carpet manufacture. These old industries have since declined, to be replaced by other, more varied light industry. The county is also home to the world's oldest continually published newspaper, the Berrow's Journal, established in 1690.