Documented settlements where modern Broadway stands date back to Saxon times and perhaps earlier, but the village "proper" did not develop until later. No exact date exists, but it was certainly a thriving village by the eleventh century. While there are some Roman remains, the oldest surviving buildings in the village date from the 1300s with the bulk of the "character" buildings appearing from the mid-1600s onwards.
Even the etymology of the word "Broadway" is open to debate. Some suggest that it is linked to the village's distinctively wide high street, while others link the name to the surrounding landscape's broad sweep. Thoroughout its many derivations - Bradanuuge, Bradweia, Bradeweye, Bradway - it is clear that the roots of the village extend well beyond ten centuries.
Once an important stop on the "Worcester to London" coaching route (two or three day's ride), Broadway became a critical stop for changing horses before the thousand foot (300 m) ride up Fish Hill since the 16th century. The advent of the 19th century railways, however, diminished Broadway's role as a rest stop for travellers, nearly driving it into extinction.
Less than three decades later, Broadway came back to prominence, being "rediscovered" by a growing band of fashionable artists. Over the years, it became a favourite destination for such composers, artists and writers as Elgar, John Singer Sargent, J.M. Barrie, Vaughan Williams and William Morris. Indeed, the village played a central part in the latter's Arts and Crafts movement, an association maintained to this day.