Evesham market place
The town of Evesham straddles the River Avon, and on the banks of the river are the extensive ruins of Evesham Abbey, a Benedictine house founded about 701AD. The abbey was, in a roundabout way, responsible for the name of Evesham. It seems that, Eoves, a herdsman of the Bishop of Worcester, had a vision of the Virgin Mary at this spot. It was Eoves' vision that prompted the building of the abbey, and the herdsman's name is immortalized in the name of the abbey and the town that grew up around it.
Evesham Abbey grew in importance and influence under Norman rule, and became a popular pilgrimage centre. The abbey church boasted 15 altars, a mark of the prosperity enjoyed by the monks of Evesham. Though many of the abbey buildings were demolished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the gateway, cloister archway, almonry, and two parish churches erected by the monks within the abbey precincts still remain. The most striking remain is the bell tower, built by Abbot Clement Lichfield about 1533. The abbey grounds contain several monastic gardens, the remains of the abbey fish ponds, and an 18th century garden.
Battle of Evesham site at Greenhill
Evesham's place in history was assured when the Battle of Evesham
was fought here in 1265. This final conflict in the Baron's War saw the forces of Simon de Montfort trapped in a loop of the river by troops under the command of Prince Edward (later Edward I). The royal army destroyed the rebels utterly, and de Montfort's torso was brought for burial to the abbey. The battlefield is slightly north of the town, in an area now called Greenhill.
The town itself is more Georgian in character than medieval, though several fine timber-framed houses remain from the earlier period. The Round House is a twin-gabled 15th century merchants house, while the Almonry is an even earlier 14th century building that once was home to the Abbey Almoner. It now houses the Evesham Tourist Information Centre and a small museum tracing the history of the town, the abbey, and the battle.
All Saints church
St Lawrence church
Simon de Montfort memorial