Battle of Evesham Battlefield
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Site of the 1265 Battle of Evesham
On 4 August 1265 an alliance of rebellious nobles led by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, met a royal army led by Prince Edward, later to become Edward I. De Montfort camped at Evesham Abbey on 3 August.
His scouts saw Edward's army approaching from the north, and though he was outnumbered De Montfort decided to attack, believing that his only hope lay in an unexpected charge. Montfort's Welsh allies deserted him before the fighting commenced, leaving the rebel army outnumbered by four to one.
Montfort's men charged up the slope of Greenhill, on the edge of Evesham, but they were trapped in a pincer movement by Edward's men, and the rebels were utterly crushed. De Montfort's men were massacred, killed on the hillside or drowned while trying to cross the River Avon.
De Montfort's body was cut to pieces, and the pieces sent to various parts of the kingdom as a warning to others. His torso was carried down the hill and buried at Evesham Abbey. A memorial to the Earl stands amid the ruins of the once-powerful abbey.
Such was De Montfort's popularity that the battlefield became a place of pilgrimage, and healing miracles were reported at Battle Well, near the site where the unfortunate rebel leader is believed to have met his end. A furious Edward forcibly suppressed the stories. Sometime later a chapel was built near Battle Well, and this too became a destination for pilgrims.
Visiting,p>There is no dedicated parking area for the battlefield. The easiest thing is to park on a side street off Greenhill, or on Worcester Road (B4624) at the base of the hill. The battlefield trail is signposted from both sides, though the signposts could be a bit more obvious. The site is privately owned, but a permissive footpath leads through the site. Note that no dogs are allowed. The trail is entirely self-guided and is managed by the Simon de Montfort Society under a Natural England stewardship programme.
There are no facilities for visitors, and just one interpretive sign, at the top of the site, off Greenhill. The sign shows how the armies were arrayed on the site below, and tells a bit about the history of the battle and its background.
From the interpretive sign a clear footpath heads down the hillside in a westerly direction, before turning south along a field boundary, looping back east briefly before following the edge of a field to Abbey Manor Farm.
It does take some imagination to visualize the course of the battle, since there are no obvious remains of signs to tell what happened where. On the other hand, the battlefield is a beautiful area, an oasis of relative peace and rural beauty on the edge of Evesham town.
If you'd like to turn the battlefield visit into a longer circular walk you can easily do so by following signs from the town centre. I stopped off at the tourist information centre at the Almonry Heritage Centre, and they gave me a free town map which showed where the battlefield was and how to access it. It couldn't be simpler!
From the Almonry just follow High Street north until it turns into Greenhill. As you ascend the hill you are following in the footsteps of Simon de Montfort's rebel soldiers. Opposite Croft Road is Battle wel House. In the mid-19th century a large number of burials were found near the house, thought to have been rebel soldiers pursued down the hill towards the town.
Opposite Abbotswood road a signed footpath leads off Greenhill to a gate giving access to the battlefield. Almost immediately inside the field is Battle Well, where you will find the information panel. From there follow the trail through the battlefield as described above, until you emerge on Worcester Road. Follow Worcester Road to its junction with High Street and return to the beginning. It took me about 45 minutes to complete the circuit.
Even with the town map I would suggest an Ordnance Survey map, but even without one you should have no trouble following the signposts through the battlefield.
As of this writing plans are underway to expand the visitor facilities and improve the experience of visiting the battlefield. I do hope these plans work out, for it is a very enjoyable site to visit and really just needs more in the way of signs and helpful information to make the battle and its story come alive.
As it is now the best place to get a better idea of the battle is in the Almonry itself, where a special Battle of Evesham exhibit reconstructs the battlefield. One of the exhibits is an iron axe head discovered in the River Avon. It is the same design as weapons carried by Simon de Montfort's Welsh soldiers.
The Battlefields Trust offer regular battlefield walks, and The Simon de Montfort Society holds an annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Abbey on the anniversary of the battle. The Evesham official website also has an extremely useful sketch of the battlefield trail.
See our history section for more on the Battle of Evesham, its causes, the course of the battle, and its consequences.
About Battle of Evesham Battlefield
Address: Greenhill, Evesham, Worcestershire, England
Attraction Type: Countryside - Battlefield
Location: Off Greenhill (A4184). Open site, accessible at any time.
Website: Battle of Evesham Battlefield
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Evesham, St Lawrence's Church - 1.1 miles (Historic Church)
Evesham, All Saints Church - 1.1 miles (Historic Church)
Almonry Heritage Centre Museum - 1.2 miles (Museum)
Middle Littleton Tithe Barn - 2.7 miles (Historic Building)
Fleece Inn - 3.6 miles (Historic Building)
Elmley Castle, St Mary's Church - 4.5 miles (Historic Church)
Little Comberton, St Peter's Church - 4.7 miles (Historic Church)
Gordon Russell Museum - 5.2 miles (Museum)
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