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About Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England

The medieval town of Tewkesbury, with its 12th Century Abbey, stands at the meeting of the Rivers Seven and Avon. Several Phelps ancestors are buried in the church courtyard and cemetary. Hear the bells of Tewkesbury Abbey, by David Bagley.
Tewkesbury Abbey Church circa 1899, south side. From The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors, (Save $200 by ordering through us.) By Oliver S. Phelps and Andrew T. Servin. (Get an updated index here.)frontpiece.

Many Phelps descendants assume, based on the information found in The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors, that their Phelps ancestors originated in Tewkesbury. This belief has been proven incorrect, as outlined by The Origin of William and George Phelps in England.

In Gloucestershire [Official web site Gazateer], in the parish of Checkley, there is located a village of Tewkesbury.

The Visit Gloucestershire site describes the area in some detail:

"Tewkesbury is not a typical Cotswold town in appearance, because many of the buildings are of brick, or half timbered, rather than mellow golden stone. A picturesque town to explore, with riverside walks, ancient cottages, interesting alleyways and, of course, Tewkesbury Abbey."

"At Tewkesbury one is as near to the full range of types of historic building as it is possible to get in 20th-century England. Here are timbered houses with overhanging eaves, building heights that are as varied as their architectural styles, and the non-alignment of fenestration, string courses and coping balustrades or gables is always evident. It may be said of the houses that their exterior appearance is often fully equalled by the interiors, many retaining low-ceilinged rooms, with the walls often panelled and most elaborately carved and ornamented

"Within the town, the street plan has basically remained unchanged, with the Y arrangement of the three main streets, Church Street, High Street and Barton Street, off which is a network of small alleyways, a unique feature of the town, many of which give fascinating glimpses of bygone days, with tiny cottages that take one back to the Middle Ages. Many of these timber-framed buildings were also shops, and the overhanging eaves afforded protection for the goods on sale. This can clearly be seen at the restored Abbey Lawn Cottages in Church Street, one of which shows a typical medieval shop with its shutters which drop down to form a counter (The Little Museum). The National Trust also uses one of the cottages as a shop.

"Situated almost opposite the main entrance to the Abbey is the Old Baptist Chapel Court which is typical of the narrow alleyways to be found throughout Tewkesbury. During medieval times, three large timber-framed hall houses were constructed along the Court and then, over a period of 100 years as living standards changed, these were gradually adapted, one into what was probably the first Baptist Chapel in southern England, and the remainder into a row of tiny cottages.

"The Old Baptist Chapel itself started life in the 15th century and was skilfully restored to its 17th-century form as a Chapel by the Tewkesbury Borough Council in 1976. The Chapel is open to the public from 9:00am to dusk daily except Christmas Day and is often used for exhibitions and arts activities. A booklet, The Old Baptist Chapel, Tewkesbury published by the Borough Council, is available from the Chapel itself, from the Tourist Information Centre or the Borough Council.

"A Summer Festival of events takes place each year which includes a celebration of Tewkesbury's waterways and battle re-enactments of the final battle in The Wars of the Roses."