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Evesham is an attractive market town on banks of River Avon and surrounded by the rich fertile Vale of Evesham renowned for its fruit and market gardening.


An Abbey (#2) was founded here in the C8th after the Virgin Mary had appeared to a local swineherd called Eof. A town grew up around the abbey in a loop of thes River Avon. It was granted a market in 1055. After the Norman Conquest, the abbey was extended and became the third largest in England.

The medieval town had two parish churches, All Saints (#4) and St Lawrence (#3) built within the abbey precinct.

Simon de Montford, Earl of Leicester who had gained control of parliament was defeated by Prince Edward ( later Edward I) at the Battle of Evesham in 1265. His remains were buried in front of the altar in the Abbey and soon became a place of pilgrimage.

The Abbey was dissolved in 1540 and the buildings apart from the bell tower which was bought by the Townsfolk and the Almonry, were dismantled.

Evesham remained a fairly small market town with limited transport links to the rest of the country. Agriculture was primarily crops, such as cereals, which could withstand lengthy travel times from farm to customer. The arrival of the railway 1852 opened up markets in Oxford, Worcester, Birmingham , Bristol and London. The fertile soil of the Vale of Evesham turned out to be perfect for growing high value, short shelf-life crops. Fields of wheat and barley were replaced by apples, pears, plums, cabbages, onions, and Evesham’s signature crop, asparagus. This brought new prosperity to the town.

Evesham is a small and compact town and easily explored on foot. It has a range of shops with the main shopping are along Vine Street, High Street, Bridge Street and surrounding alleys. There is also the large Riverside Shopping Centre.




Apart from the churches and Abbey, the oldest building in Evesham is the C14th Almonry, (#5) once the home of Abbey’s Almoner, who ministered to the poor and sick of the parish. It became the home of the last Bishop following the Dissolution of the Abbey. It then had a variety of uses before being bought by the Borough Council. It now houses the museum and tourist information office.


On the green in front are the town stocks.


Evesham retains many old buildings, particularly timber frame buildings from the C15th. The Round House may originally have been the home of a wealthy merchant. By the start of the C20th it had shops on the ground floor and is now a branch of the Nat West. (In October 2023 it was covered with scaffolding and polythene and undergoing restoration.

Ye Olde Red Horse inn was a C15th coaching inn and is one of oldest inns in Evesham


The Royal Oak is a similar date.


The Trumpet Inn is later, being C17th and has been altered and added to over the years.


Evesham Town Hall dates from 1586, and was built using stone recovered from the ruins of the Abbey following its Dissolution. Markets were held in the arcades on the ground floor with an assembly room on the first floor. It also had a lock up for holding petty criminals. The building was substantially remodelled in the late C19th with the addition of the clock tower commemorating the Golden Jubilee of Qeen Victoria. It
ceased being the seat of local government in 1974 with the formation of Wychavon District Council.


Later buildings were built using brick.



The Old school House was built in 1844 as a National School. It is now a cafe with flats above.


The statue of Eof is in Market Place. near the Round House, depicts the swineherd Eof on his knees covering his face at the apparition of the Virgin Mary, whose face is emerging from the canopy of trees.


Eof was an 8th century swineherd employed by Egwin, the third Bishop of Worcester. While Eof was searching for some stray pigs he was confronted by a vision of the Virgin with her two attendants. Partly in fear and partly in excitement he went to Worcester to tell Bishop Egwin what he had seen. Egwin came to the same spot and after a period of prayer, the vision appeared to him in the same form, but this time the Virgin spoke to the Bishop, saying "This is the place I have chosen". Egwin interpreted this message as an indication that the Virgin required a Church to be built on the spot in her honour and he set about establishing a monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, becoming the first Abbot.

It is a short walk from the centre to Hampton Ferry. Monks from Evesham Abbey planted a vineyard on the terraced slopes of Clarkes Hill in Hampton. As the only bridge across the river was two miles from the vineyard, they installed a rope ferry to make the journey easier along with a building where they could make and store the wine.

The ferry proved popular with the villagers of Hampton and surrounding villages allowing them to reach Evesham. The ferry continued to run after the Dissolution of the Abbey of the abbey, people still preferred to cross the river via ferry. The winery was converted into a private house, rebuilt many times over the centuries.

The ferry still works today and is one of the few surviving examples of a chain ferry. It is manually operated by pulling on a cable that is suspended across the river. When the ferry is docked at either bank the cable is allowed to sink to the river bottom, so as not to interfere with other river traffic. Now it is mainly used by walkers and mobile home owners on the Hampton side.




Visit Evesham has a list of walks around the Vale.

Evesham Rambling Club have a five mile walk of Evesham and the surrounding area.

There is also a Battle Trail around the site of the Battle of Evesham.

There are also several inscribed pavement slabs detailing the history of the town.


Evesham also hosts the Annual River Festival in July and a re -enactment of Battle of Evesham along with a Medieval Market in August.

A couple of miles to the north of the town is the Vale of Evesham Light Railway, a 15” guage railway on a mile of track


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Evesham Abbey and the Abbey Gardens

Sited in a loop of the River Avon and surrounded by the large open spaces of is demesne land, Evesham Abbey was possibly the third largest Abbey in England.

The Abbey was founded by Saint Egwin, the third Bishop of Worcester, in around 701 AD, following the vision of the Virgin Mary to a local swineherd named Eof. It was one of only 25 religious houses in existence before the reign of King Alfred in the C9th and by the time of the Norman Conquest, it was one of the leading Benedictine houses in the country.

The original wooden building replaced by stone and contained the relics of St Egwin.

After the Norman Conquest, in 1066, Abbot Æthelwig was known for his loyalty to William and was one of the few Englishmen trusted by the new King and was given important administrative roles on behalf of the King. The Abbey was redeveloped and extended and significantly contributing to the growth of Evesham.

A new Romanesque Abbey Church was built by Abbot Walter, the first Norman Bishop. When he ran out of money, he sent the relics of St Egwin on a tour of England to raise new donations.

Building was completed by Bishop Reynold (Reginald) who was also responsible for building a monastic wall with gateways around the Abbey. Income for the abbey came from ground rents of properties in the town as well as its extensive agricultural estates. Pilgrims came to celebrate the vision of Eof and later to visit the tomb of Simon de Montford, bringing additional wealth.

The Abbey Church was for the sole use of the monks, so two churches, All Saints and St Lawrence, were built in the Abbey Grounds in the C13th for use by the townsfolk. All Saints served parishioners from the east side of Evesham and St Lawrence the west side. They townsfolk were allowed to bury their dead in the graveyard around the Abbey.



A free standing bell tower, the fourth on that site, was built in 1524 by Bishop Litchfield. The archway under the tower led from the town cemetery into the Monk’s cemetery. Abbots and other important people were buried in the Abbey church.

Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1540, most of the Abbey buildings were sold and demolished for reuse as building stone. Only the Bell Tower and almonry survived along with stretches of the monastic wall and the two churches.



The grounds round the Abbey are now a popular public park and run down to the River Avon. They are planted with trees and flower beds. There are two ponds, band stand and children’s play area.



They can be reached through a gateway off Abbey Mews near the Almonry or through Abbot Reginald’s gateway by All Saints Church and Church House. This C15th timber frame building was the vicarage and is now parish rooms and offices. The gateway allowed pedestrian access to the abbey from the Market Place.



On the wall under the gateway is the remains of Saxon arcading. The medieval street level was three feet lower than the present.


The remains of the abbey walls can be followed to the remains of the cloister arch. This leads into what are described as the newly planted Interpretive gardens.


A memorial stone near the Abbey Bell Tower commemorates Simon de Montford. He was a French nobleman who inherited the title and estates of the Earldom of Leicester in England. He led the rebellion against King Henry III of England during the Second Barons' War of 1263–4, and subsequently became de facto ruler of England. During his rule, de Montfort called two famous parliaments. The first stripped the king of his unlimited authority, the second included ordinary citizens from the towns. For this reason, Montfort is regarded today as one of the originators of modern parliamentary democracy. After a rule of just over a year, Monford was trapped in the town, where he and his army were out-manoeuvred, out-numbered and mercilessly crushed by Prince Edward (later Edward 1) and his royalist forces. Simon’s dismembered body was buried close to the high altar of the abbey. The tomb was destroyed at the dissolution of the monastery.

He is now remembered by a simple stone grave in the approximate position of the high altar. Re-enactments of the Battle take place every year in the Abbey grounds.



Evesham war memorial is also in the grounds overlooking the river.


St Lawrence’s Church




St Lawrence’s Church is the first building to be seen when entering the Abbey grounds from the gateway near the Almonry. It was built before All Saints and is late C12th. It served the parishioners on the west side of the town, but was substantially rebuilt in 1470.

Following the dissolution of the abbey in 1540, the church had very little money and by 1659 the parish had no clergy and was served by the vicars of All Saints next door. It soon fell into a state of disrepair and by 1718 it was stated that the church was virtually unusable in winter.

A new vicar was appointed in 1735 and repairs were put in hand, involving the demolition of the north arcade and raising the walls of the north aisle with a new roof spanning nave and aisle. These were done badly, and the new roof collapsed in 1800 and the building became derelict and disused.

Edward Rudge whose family owned a large portion of the Abbey estate commissioned the mid C19th. The north arcade, north aisle and clerestories were rebuilt as faithful copies of the original and new stained glass was installed.

By the 1970s it became increasingly clear that the upkeep of two medieval churches was too great a burden for the two congregations. After a series of meetings and discussions, it was decided to keep All Saints Church and declare St Lawrence redundant. The church is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It is open mornings only.


information leaflet

All Saints Church



A simple church with nave and chancel was built in the abbey grounds to serve the parishioners in the eastern part of Evesham.

Only the external west door of this church survives at the back of the nave.


Over the years, the church was extended with transept chapels, side aisles, clerestory and a tower. The last bits to be built just before the Dissolution were the Lichfield Chapel and the west porch.

PA181621 - 1.jpg

After the Dissolution of Evesham Abbey, medieval wall paintings were removed along with the stained glass. The church no longer had any funding from the abbey and became poorer as the value of its endowments declined. By 1647, All Saints and St Lawrences were sharing a vicar with services alternating between the two.

The church was heavily restored in 1874 by the architect Frederick Preedy who was known for his church restorations, and especially for his stained glass designs. He designed eight stained-glass windows, the reredos, and pulpit. The rest of the fittings including the wooden chancel screen and iron chancel gates date from the end of the C19th /early C20th.

Entry is through the impressive C16th west porch which leads into the much earlier inner porch below the tower,

On the north wall in a glass case is a C13th carving of the ‘Horned Moses”. The name comes from a mistranslation of the Hebrew text where the word ‘rays’ (of Light from the head of Moses) was incorrectly interpreted as ’horns’...


Opposite is a carving of an angel holding the arms of Evesham Abbey.


It is a large church with plastered walls and arcades separating nave and side aisles and a wood beam roof.


The perpendicular font, one of the few original structures to survive Preedy’s make over, is at the west end.


On a pillar nearby is a simple mid C20th carving of St Christopher carrying the Christ Child.


The Chapel of Our Lady and St Egwin is behind a carved wooden screen off the south aisle. It was built in the early C16th by Bishop Clement Lichfield and he was buried here when he died a few years after the Dissolution of the Abbey. His tomb disappeared during the Civil War.



It has a wonderful fan vaulted ceiling and carved friezes along the walls.



The stone slab alter is modern and has consecration crosses carved in the corners. Above is a carved wood reredos with carvings of saints, including St Egwin and Bishop Lichfield.


The encaustic floor tiles have badges of the arms of Evesham Abbey and a rose.


The window at the west end of the chapel depicts Prince Edward at the top with Simon de Montford below.



St George’s Chapel is at the end of the south aisle and is the children's area.


The stained glass window on the south wall depicts the five Patriarchs from the Old Testament: Enoch, Aaron, Moses, Joshua and Elijah.


At the west end of the south aisle are the four Evangelists, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.


Another window in the south aisle has the Old Testament kKngs of Samuel. David and Solomon.


The Derby Chapel at the end of the north aisle is no longer used. It has a reredos on the east wall, grand piano, a splendid monument, a small carved angel set in a niche, but little else.



A window in the north wall depicts St Oswald, King of Northumbria and St Wilfred, Bishop of Hexham. At the top is a tiny fragment of medieval galss, depicting Christ in Majesty.


The window at the west end of the north aisle depicts the Celtic Saints of Columba, Aidan, Patrick and Cuthbert.


The carved stone pulpit against the chancel arch is the work of Preedy and has the figures of the four evangelists.


The wooden rood screen was carved locally along with the figures of the Virgin Mary and St John above. The figure of Christ Crucified was carved in Oberammergau.


There are more encaustic tiles in the chancel. The alabaster reredos shows Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus taking Christ down from the cross . The east window above depicts scenes from the life of Christ.



Almonry Museum

The Almonry is a lovely stone and timber frame building near the Abbey Gardens in Evesham. It was the home of the Abbey almoner who would minister to the poor and sick of the parish, and handing out ‘alms’ to the needy. The building is next to the Abbey Gatehouse so to not disrupt the rest of the monks.


It is a rambling house with uneven floors and low doorways.


At the back is a small garden with further exhibits including a stone apple press.



After the Dissolution of the Abbey, it became the home of the last Bishop. It then had a variety of uses before being bought by the Borough Council. It now houses the museum and tourist information office.

It is well worth a visit and is a wonderful hotchpotch of exhibits covering the history and social history of Evesham since the neolithic times.

The visit begins in the Abbey Room, which was the parlour with a carved stone mantle above the fireplace. The great chair from the abbey dominates the room.


On the opposite wall is a copy of the Evesham map of the World.


It is thought to have been made around 1390 and shows Jerusalem at the centre of the World with the Garden of Eden at the top along with the Tower of Bable and the Indian and Red Sea. Evesham is at the bottom along with London, Worcester, Dover and other places Evesham exported produce to.
The original is in the College of Arms as on the back it has a family tree on the back linking to Henry VI.

In a display case is the Evesham Psalter which dates from the early C14th. .


There is also a copy of a Bible dating from 1537 and one of the earliest complete translations of the Bible in English. After the Dissolution of the Abbey, it became the property of a former monk who used the blank spaces to record key events during the Dissolution. It is the only known recorded eyewitness account.


There is the licence granted in 1583 by Elizabeth I to Sir Edward Hoby, who had bought the Abbey buildings after the Dissolution, authorising the disposal of the former monastic land around Evesham


There are also displays of medieval tiles from the Abbey as well as casts of seals belonging to the different Abbots.



The Almonry Museum cont...

Beyond the parlour, the building is a maze of passageways with rooms off filled with artefacts.

There is the old coffin bier as well as old road signs and diplays of tools. There is also an iron bed frame, door and manacles from the prison.




The official measures of the Borough of Evesham are here too.


The rooms on the ground floor are mainly social history with an emphasis on farming and agriculture.


There are examples of the different baskets used to harvest crops as well as machines for cutting and tying asparagus bundles.



The two room beyond concentrate on farming equipment and craft and workshop tools.



There is a wonderful example of a very early mechanical sheep shearing machine.


There is an intriguing device used by wheelwrights to measure the circumference of a wheel and to measure the length of iron need to make a tyre for it.


On the walls are display cases with examples of thatcher's tools as well as blacksmith’s tools.



The room beyond is set up as a farmworkers kitchen complete with cast iron range and a small pump providing water to the sink.



At the far end of the corridor is the Civic Regalia room has robes of the town crier and town Clerk.


Next to them is a copy of the Royal Charter dated 1605 allowing the appointment of a Town Council of aldermen and a mayor.


There are examples of the ornate boxes designed to hold the honorary freemen scrolls awarded to notable citizens.


The mace and mayoral chain are also displayed.



Stairs lead up to more rooms on the first floor. The first has information on weaponry from the Civil War to the Second World War. Beyond is a display room of fossils and archaeology.


This leads into the Simon de Montford room with information panels covering the background to the Battle of Evesham and its significance as well as information about Simon de Montford.


Beyond this is a schoolroom complete with wooden desks and blackboard.


Next to it is a large room described as the lecture room. This is used for holding workshops and hosting exhibitions. Beyond is a room with the Evesham Tapestry which was embroidered by Rotary in the Vale which records the history of Evesham from the Bronze Age to the present day.


It is a wonderful way to revise the history of Evesham. There is Eof and his vision of the Virgin Mary.


There is Evesham Abbey as well as the monks using their ferry to reach the vineyards across the River Avon.



There is the Battle of Evesham.


It finishes with the importance of the Vale of Evesham for growing fruit as well as asparagus.



There is almost too much to take in at the museum in a single visit. Keep hold of your ticket as it gives free admission for the following year. This is a place to drop into regularly and enjoy something different each time.

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