AVBCW – Malvern
Contrary to the national tabloids’ assertion that Madresfield is close to Worcester, the inhabitants of Malvern regularly point out that Madresfield is closer to Malvern. This is also borne out with the unusually large Royalist military presence in the town. The security of the town, and the Malvern Hills that loom over the area is paramount to the security of the King and the Royal court of King Edward VII that has relocated to Madresfield (NB: In WW2, there really were plans for the Royal family to relocate there).
The Malvern Hills are also a conduit for arms being smuggled to Socialist and Anglican league groups throughout the three counties (Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire). The security of the outlying market towns such as Ledbury and Bromyard are also affected by the security of Malvern. As a result the Royalist Army and BUF are increasingly setting up road blocks and garrisons in the area. The locals are also active via the Malvern Hills Conservators (MHC), in securing the area without the unwanted help of urban oiks.
As well as the British Royal family’s presence, in 1938, the exiled Ethiopian Imperial family are resident in the town, with the Emperor Hailie Selasie staying in The Abbey Hotel in the centre of the town, and his daughters attending school at Clarendon private school in the town.
The Malvern Hills run North-South for about 10 miles and rise sharply out of the flat Severn valley (aka Vale of Evesham), with the Worcester and Hereford Beacons the highest points having commanding views over the neighbouring counties. The Hereford Beacon (aka British Camp) is also an ancient hill fort with earth rings and a Norman motte and bailey on the very top. Just to the south is Midsummer hill, which was also an ancient hillfort but is now extensively wooded. There are two principle ways over the hills: The Wyche Cutting to the south of the Worcester Beacon; and via the pass at British Camp. There is a large water reservoir at British Camp that serves the town, and to the south of that is the Hollybush road that crosses the southern extremity of the hills. To the west of British Camp is the Eastnor Estate. West of the hills, is Herefordshire which inspired Tolkein’s description of The Shire in Lord Of The Rings – rolling hills with small valleys and small streams.
The town of Malvern itself, is made up of several urban areas separated by small open commons (grassland, and small woods) and are: Great Malvern (the centre); Malvern Wells and Little Malvern to the south; Malvern Link; North Malvern; and West Malvern. Madresfield, Guarlford and several other villages are further out but directly linked to Malvern. Each area of Malvern has its own shops and character. Malvern Link is more industrialised, whereas Great Malvern has many private schools, hotels and larger shops. There are train stations at Malvern Link, Great Malvern and Malvern Wells.
Malvern Link is the home to the Morgan Car company, which has now turned its hand to manufacturing Armoured Cars – hand tooled of course for the discerning military customer.
The quarries on the hills have a substantial number of workmen that have mostly not exhibited sympathy publicly for socialism, but undoubtedly there is a fifth column of agitators waiting for the right moment.
The public schools are bastions of Royalist sentiment, and the few Anglicans have long since been ousted. The cadets practice regularly on the school fields with their air-rifles, and the senior boys also have Lee-Enfields and live ammunition. The school masters are in close contact with the Malvern Hills Conservators and Royalist officers.
Malvern Link, Great Malvern and Guarlford are the main routes into Madresfield, and hence have the greatest number of Royalist troops and road blocks. The routes over the Malvern Hills are principally manned by BUF at the Wyche Cutting and British Camp. In addition, the hills are patrolled by the Malvern Hills Conservators militia. Royalist artillery has been sited on the slopes of the Worcester Beacon covering all of the area between the hills and the Severn.
Other Places of Interest
Bromyard, to the NNW of Malvern has its own railway station, and a large BUF garrison on the Bromyard Downs, site of its racing course. Primarily a rural farming town the locals resent the BUF oiks intensely, even though they side with the Royalists. Local landowners have their own militia and often accidents happen. Bromyard is the forward staging post for the BUF and Royalists forces attacking the Anglicans and Welsh nationalists in eastern Herefordshire. As mentioned previously there is now an annual scarecrow festival, linked to the “Twiggy Mommet” rebellion.
Colwall, on the western sides of the Malvern Hills is currently quiet. It guards the railway tunnel under the hills, this is patrolled by BUF and Royalist units. So far the MHC is the only LDV active in the area. However, there are a number of rogue elements including spies from all factions utilising Colwall in efforts to get arms over the hills – or thwart such efforts.
Eastnor, is a hamlet to the SW of Malvern near Ledbury. There is a fine manor house with faux fortification and a large estate, which is inhabited by bandits and Anglicans. It is also on the road from Ledbury, via Hollybush over the hills and to the wilder areas of Castlemorton and Birtsmorton commons – a key smuggling route for the Anglicans and Socialists.
Ledbury is the birthplace of the Twiggy Mommet protest movement, and lies south west of the Malverns. It has its own railway station down the line from Colwall. The Anglicans are currently trying to subvert it, and there is a heavy Royalist presence. Ledbury is also a link between Gloucester and Leominster.
The Royalists are the most heavily entrenched here, with support from the Royal Court at Madresfield, private school cadet forces, and the Malvern Hills Conservators Militia. They have up to date equipment including the latest weaponry (Bren guns) and Tanks. They have troops at Madresfield, Powick, and Upton upon Severn (to control the bridge).
The BUF have placed prestige units at the Wyche cutting and British Camp, plus an honour guard at St Wulstan’s Church in Malvern Wells to preside of Elgar’s grave. They are generally unwelcome in Malvern itself, and view Bromyard as a good night out by comparison. Mosely is ensuring a large number of BUF units are present to keep an eye on the Royal court, and also to get combat experience in Hereford. He has left James Tyrrell in charge of these units. Tyrell, a former potato farmer, has high expectations of where his career will lead him. Their main garrison is on the Bromyard Downs (NNW of Malvern).
The Local Defence Volunteers, are the Malvern Hills Conservators (MHC), and are interpreting their legal duties loosely. They are preventing ‘encroachment’ on the hills – at gun point. The King is indulging this currently as it presents him with his own local militia that can be used to counter the BUF garrisons without compromising the Royal Army. They also have extensive knowledge of the region and are useful source of information. The MHC are allies with the Royalist Army, and reluctant allies of the BUF.
The MHC are well organised and regularly mount patrols across the land they own. As the name suggests the majority is the Malvern Hills, so whilst theya re comparatively well equipped with rifles, small arms and even HMGs, they only have a couple of tanks. Inste4ad they rely much more on mounted troops, and bicycles. This limits their ability to launch attacks outside their own sphere of influence, say into Ledbury or Bromyard.
The other smaller LDVs regularly bait the BUF, in Ledbury and Bromyard. The two market towns have taken to holding Scarecrow Festivals and other Twiggy Mommet events where the scarecrows are dressed with BUF regalia. Local scrumpy cider fuels late night antics and the BUF are often the subject of random shots late at night from shotguns. Wassailing nights are regularly dreaded by the BUF, for the locals have a new tradition of firing shotguns over the apple trees.
Anglicans have been ousted from all the churches and schools in Malvern, except for Little Malvern priory which is fighting a merger with other parishes with the support of its independent financial income and the Anglican agitators hiding out in the commons of Castlemorton, and Birtsmorton. Anglican forces also infest the Eastnor estate to the west of the hills.
These more wild areas are also home to a number of bandit gangs that are being paid to help smuggle arms over the hills. Conversely, the BUF are also paying them to carry out less pleasant tasks !
The final wild card in all this is Hailie Sellasie, the exiled Ethiopian Emperor. With his daughters at Clarendon School, he has sought refuge in The Abbey Hotel in Great Malvern itself. As a guest of the King, he has managed to establish a platoon of Ethiopian Askaris and Royalist bodyguards for “protection”. Naturally, they are at odds with the BUF troops given Mosely’s current admiration for Mussollini’s fascist regime.
For those interested in RPGing, or supernatural stuff, then here are a few ideas !
- Aleister Crowley went to school at the Malvern Boys’ College. In the midst of the war he returns for reasons unexplained.
- Alfred Watkins, author of “Early British Trackways” and the “Old Straight Track” was a proponent of Ley Lines and mapped many of his Ley Lines in this area as is shown in his first book (see Plates XII, XIV, and XV of Early British Trackways).
- Watkins’s theories have been adapted by later writers. Some of his ideas were taken up by the occultist Dion Fortune who featured them in her 1936 novel The Goat-footed God (think Shub Niggurath). And oh, those wassailling rituals, all about fertility and tress…er…
- C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien are among the authors that have frequented Malvern. Legend states that, after drinking in a Malvern pub one winter evening, they were walking home when it started to snow. They saw a lamp post shining out through the snow and Lewis turned to his friends and said “that would make a very nice opening line to a book”. Lewis’ book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe later used that image as the characters enter the realm of Narnia. (NB: Malvern still has many of its Victorian street gas lamps in working order even today).
- That Scarecrow, it didn’t move – did it ? Though it must be said that farmer Jed Tinsel does have a knack of making realistic scarecrows.
Following ideas for scenarios:
- Anglican/Bandit or Socialist forces try to force their way over the Malverns against BUF/MHC or Royalist blockades – narrow rural battlefield.
- Raids by Anglican/bandit forces on BUF/Royalist outposts on the Malverns – rural hills.
- Patrols by BUF/MHC surprise Anglican/Bandit forces and lead to a running fight.
- Confrontation between BUF and LDV/MHC patrols.
- Confrontation between BUF and Ethiopians – probably urban, though there is an anecdote that some British troops had to rescue the Ethiopian princesses from a flock of sheep on the hills one time (anyone seen the film Black Sheep ?).
- BUF & Royalist forces sweep through the area, Anglican, Bandits and LDV fight them.
- Skirmish between BUF and locals at a festival, both sides have problems with drunkenness.
- Anglican/Socialist raid on Madresfield court.
- Royalists attack BUF units to oust them from key points.
- MHC attack BUF units to oust them from key points on the Hills.
- Socialists attack the Britich Camp resevoir and are attacked by the BUF.
- BUF troops raid Eastnor to remove Anglican/Bandit groups.
- HRH, takes a walk on the Malverns/through the town, and is subject to an attack.
- The bottling plant for Malvern Water in Colwall, that HRH uses whenever abroad is attacked by Anglican/Socialist/A N Other forces in an attempt to poison the bottles and kill HRH.
With Warhammer: The Great War rules in mind, the MHC counts as LDV, but MUST have 1 Scout Platoon in their core company platoons, and MAY take a second Scout Platoon.
In General: MHC armed forces may only ever have one motorised vehicle other than Croydon Crushers (quad bike of choice of the 1930’s), no bicyclists, but may have as many cavalry units as they like.