Wychbury Obelisk

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The Hagley Obelisk on Wychbury Hill

The Hagley Obelisk (also known as the Wychbury Obelisk and locally as Wychbury Monument) in Hagley Park stands close to the summit of Wychbury Hill in Hagley, Worcestershire, and is only about 150 metres from the border of the West Midlands.[1]

The obelisk is a Grade II* listed building.[2] It is 84 feet (26 m) high,[3][4] and can be seen for many miles around,[2] as far as Shropshire,[3] and the hill if not the monument on its summit from the Malverns.[5]

The obelisk was commissioned by Sir Richard Lyttelton, a son of the elderly Sir Thomas Lyttelton, the owner of the nearby Hagley Hall.[6][2] Hagley Hall has been the home of successive Viscounts Cobham and Wychbury Hill is part of the property, but is accessible from public footpaths.

Building of the obelisk started in 1747, and it was constructed at the same time as George, the eldest son and heir of Sir Thomas (and the future 1st Lord Lyttelton), started to refashion Hagley Hall park in the fashionable Picturesque style.[2] The refashioning included building a ruined castle, the Clent Hill four stones and temples styled in Greek and Roman architecture.[7][8]

Since at least the 1970s the obelisk has been sporadically defaced with graffiti asking "Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?", a reference to an unsolved World War II-era mystery in which the decomposed body of a woman was found in a nearby wood. The graffiti was last updated in 1999. [9][10]

There was much debate for decades over whether the badly damaged structure should be demolished for safety reasons, but the consensus was that time and weather should be allowed to do the job until its restoration could be funded. It was on the English Heritage list of the most endangered listed buildings, and in 2010 conservation work was begun to repair the structure with funding aid from Natural England's Higher Level Stewardship scheme and the Viscount Cobham. This involved it being largely deconstructed and rebuilt. By 2011 the obelisk had been fully restored.[3][4][11]


  1. ^ "Lat N 52:25:58 W2:07:04". Streetmap EU Ltd. Retrieved June 2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d "2/133 Obelisk about ¾ mile north of Hagley Hall 23.4.52 1 (Formerly listed with item 2/134)". English Heritage. 
  3. ^ a b c "Hagley high society host ceremony to cap it all". Stourbridge News. 11 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Natural England". naturalengland.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. 
  5. ^ Chambers 1817, p. 199.
  6. ^ Pagett 1994, p. 6 (8 PFD).
  7. ^ HHFS society 2011.
  8. ^ Pagett 1994.
  9. ^ BBC staff 1999.
  10. ^ Askwith 1999.
  11. ^ "Hagley Obelisk celebrations to go with a bang". Stourbridge News. 9 November 2010. 


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Coordinates: 52°25′58″N 2°07′03″W / 52.43278°N 2.11750°W / 52.43278; -2.11750