Malvern comprises a series of towns in South Worcestershire founded around an 11th Century Benedictine priory at the foot of the Malvern Hills. During the 19th Century, Malvern grew from a small village to the sprawling conurbation of today thanks to its popularity as a hydrotherapy spa. Malvern has a great cultural heritage, it was home to composer Edward Elgar and C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are among the authors known to have frequented the town. It is now well known as one of the cultural centres of Worcestershire, with Malvern Theatre playing host to a wide range of local and national talents.