St. Editha's Church
Like much of what is old in Tamworth, St. Editha's history speaks to the town's position on the frontline between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings. Before Tamworth was left a ruin, the Anglo-Saxons built several churches where St. Editha now lies, and they were repeatedly burned down by raiding Vikings. Except for some significant renovations in the 19th century, the current church dates back to 1350, when it was built atop the ashes of Tamworth, burned to the ground yet again, only this time it wasn't the Vikings.
At the end of Tamworth's nicest stretch of pedestrianised shopping - the town house lined Market Street, lies the noble Town Hall. In front stands the proud statue of Sir Robert Peel, MP for Tamworth, inventor of the Tamworth Pig and founder of the modern police force (which became known as "peelers" in Britain). Where the statue stands is where Sir Robert Peel gave first read the Tamworth Manifesto, now credited as the foundation of the modern Conservative Party.
Tamworth Castle Pleasure Grounds
Created in the 19th century, the Pleasure Grounds is a public park that runs along the river Tame. It has a band stand high above a steep bank of carefully maintained flowers, from which there are the occasional brass band concerts. The grounds themselves are quite extensive, and are host to games and installations, some temporary, some permanent.
A fort was built on this spot in Anglo-Saxon times as a bulwark against the raiding Vikings from across the border in Danelaw. It was here that the Mercian kings ruled over the largest kingdom in Britain. The castle itself dates from Norman times and survived a demolition order after its owner betrayed King John and allied himself with the French King in the Baron Wars. What remains is one of the best preserved motte-and-bailey castles in Britain.
St Editha's Church
The parish church dedicated to St Editha is the largest medieval example of its kind in the county of Staffordshire. The church tower dates from the end of the 12th century, although the majority of the other features including the nave and the chancel were constructed in the 14th and 15th centuries.
One of the unique features of St Edithas is its double spiral staircase, one of only two in England. The beautifully ornate font was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1853. Those interested in stained glass should take a look inside the church. There are some fine examples such as the Marmion Windows and the huge West Window.
St Edithas is a lovely atmospheric church to take a stroll around and is a particularly nice setting for Christmas carols at yuletide.
- Historical Travel
The Tamworth Two
The Tamworth Sandyback pig breed unsurprisingly originated in Tamworth. Although there is some speculation about the exact origins of the breed, the common view is that it originated at Sir Robert Peel's estate near Tamworth, Drayton Manor. Peel was an enthusiastic pig-breeder and the Tamworth breed is believed by many to be the offspring of the pigs on Peel's estate and a hardy breed he had imported from Ireland.
In January 1998, the Tamworth breed received global media attention when two Tamworth pigs escaped from an abattoir in Malmesbury, Wiltshire and made a bid for freedom. The pigs, known affectionately as Butch and Sundance, swam across the River Avon and into neighbouring gardens. They lived out their lives at the Rare Breeds Centre in Ashford, Kent and lived to the ripe old ages of 13 and 14.
At Tamworth Youth Centre, there are two rather weather-worn statues of Butch and Sundance making their bid for freedom (see photo). Personally, I think the town should have a more sizeable and more suitable memorial to the Tamworth Two, especially as their story touched the hearts of so many Tamworthians.
Thanks to VT member CatherineReichardt who inspired me to write and research this tip about the Tamworth Two!
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
A former Tamworth Member of Parliament, Thomas Guy (1644-1724) built Tamworth Almshouses back in 1678 for the regal sum of £200. Guy also built the Town Hall and was Tamworth's main benefactor at the time.
In 1678, Guy's Almshouses were built to provide housing for 7 poor women of the town. The rather grand facilities included a library and a large central garden for growing vegetables.
Unfortunately, Thomas Guy's relationship with the people of Tamworth hit troubled waters later in his life. His charitable donations to the town were soon forgotten by 1707 when the people of Tamworth failed to re-elect him as their MP. In his fury at being rejected by the townsfolk, he banned Tamworth people from using the Almshouses and decided only to admit his relatives or people from nearby villages. The plaque outside the gates on the current building underlines Guy's intentions and states: 'Guy's Almshouses for relations and hamleteers'.
Sadly, the original almshouses were demolished in 1912 and then rebuilt in the 'Free Georgian' style of the original with extensions to Guy's original plan. Recent demolition work in the town has resulted in a previously obscured rear view of the Almshouses being made visible.
The Almshouses are not open to the general public but you can walk around the outside.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
This is one of the reasons many people visit Tamworth. The Snowdome has one of the best ski slopes (with real snow!) in England. There is also an ice rink and toboggan run. As such the Snowdome is really popular with families, thrillseekers and serious skiers and snowboarders.
The other part of the Snowdome is Snowdome Fitness which has a 25 metre swimming pool, a large gym and a spa equipped with sauna, steam room, footspas and jacuzzi.
The only downside of the Snowdome is its ghastly colour which is quite a blot on the landscape near Borrowpit Lake.
- Spa and Resort
- Family Travel
- Skiing and Boarding
Take a riverside walk in the Castle Grounds
Tamworth has two rivers, the Anker and the Tame. This is one of the reasons that the town flourished due to the strategic benefits of being situated at a confluence of two rivers. The confluence can be seen from Ladybridge where the Anker meets the Tame at a large weir.
The river Anker flows through the grounds of Tamworth Castle and it is a nice place to walk all year round. Anglers should note that the Anker is also known for its pike fishing.
The Castle Grounds has also staged a couple of large music festivals in recent years with acts such as Westlife, Blue, the Saturdays, Madness and Alexandra Burke visiting the town to perform.
- Hiking and Walking
Tamworth Town Hall and Peel Statue
On one of the busiest streets in the town centre stands Tamworth's Town Hall, an impressive building built in 1700 by the Tamworth Member of Parliament, Thomas Guy. Sadly the building is not open to the public, although I did get to visit when I was at school (many moons ago) and the interior was not as impressive as I had expected.
In front of the town hall, there is a bronze statue of one of Tamworth's famous sons, Sir Robert Peel, founder of the Metropolitan Police. In fact, in the UK we still call policemen 'Bobbies', all because of Sir Robert Peel. He later went on to become Prime Minister of the country and was so highly regarded that Queen Victoria paid him a visit at his home, Drayton Manor, just outside Tamworth in 1843. Nowadays the Peel Statue is one of the town's most prominent monuments and a common meetingplace for the townsfolk.
- Historical Travel
Tamworth has had a castle going back as far as Norman times. It is believed that the motte and bailey castle on this site was built around 1070 AD. Over the years the castle has been remodelled and rebuilt. In the 17th century, the castle was visited on three occasions by King James I of England.
Tamworth Castle is associated with two ghosts which have been witnessed on numerous occasions. The Black Lady is believed to be that of a nun who was expelled from a nearby convent by the castle owner, Robert de Marmion. Marmion was told to restore the nuns to their convent or he would meet an untimely death. After a feast at the castle, Marmion was struck by the nun spectre and his cries were heard throughout the castle. In his terror, he restored the nuns to their convent and his pain quickly ceased. The ghost of the Black Lady has been witnessed descending the staircase of the castle.
The other ghost, the White Lady, is believed to walk the battlements of the castle.
It is possible to tour the rooms of the castle including the courtyard, the Tudor dining room, the servants bedroom and the medieval Great Hall.
Admission to the castle costs £6.50 for adults and £4 for children. In summer, the castle is open 11.30 am to 4.45 pm Tuesday to Sunday. In winter, it is only open at weekends 12-4.15pm although you can still walk around the outside of the castle for free.
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Drayton Manor Zoo
This Zoo is actually in the theme park, you can buy tickets for just the actuall Zoo though - if you do this you won't be able to go onto the rides. Drayton manor Zoo is quite a small Zoo with Big Cats, Reptiles, Monkeys, Owls, Eagles, Parrots , it also has an exotic creature reserve.
Tamworth Castle is a typical Norman motte and bailey castle set in the south-west corner of what was a Saxon burh, located in order to dominate the approach over two rivers from the south.
Standard Price: 2.50 - 4.50
Adult £4.50 Con £2.50 Child £2.50 Famiy £12.20 2A 2C
Hours Of Operation: 12:00-17:15
Tue-Sun Closed Mondays Last adm 4.30
Drayton manor is theme park in tamworth.
It has such rides as:
Apocalypse - the worlds first stand-up tower drop ride
Shock Wave - Europes only stand-up rollercoaster
It's a great day out for everyone in the family or even with your friends, there's a childrens sections for the younger ones who won't enjoy the thrill rides.
There's restaurants onsite to get a bite to eat during the day and theres fields for you sit down and eat or for you to eat your packed lunches you bring yourself.
- Theme Park Trips