The story of Evesham starts with Evesham Abbey:
“The picturesque market town of Evesham sits within a loop of the River Avon. At the heart of the town stood Evesham Abbey surrounded by the green open spaces of its demesne land. The modern town has mostly retained this wonderful ancient setting with parks, meadows and agricultural land extending from the Workman Bridge to the locally famous Hampton Ferry.”
“The earliest form of the town’s name, ‘Eoveshomme’, denotes land in a river bend belonging to a man named Eof (that is, Eof’s homme). The name recalls the Legend of Evesham, which recounts how the swineherd Eof saw a vision of the Virgin Mary. Awed and amazed by what he saw, Eof reported it to St Ecgwine (third bishop of Worcester) who, visiting the same spot, witnessed the same miraculous vision. Taking it as a divine sign, St Ecgwine founded an abbey here (consecrated 709). Before the abbey this area was ‘an uncultivated spot, full of thorns and brambles’. Tantalisingly, William of Malmesbury (writing c.1125) mentions an earlier, ancient church ‘perhaps built by the British’. The town of Evesham, initially centred on Merstow Green and Vine Street, developed to serve the monastery…”
“Evesham is a fascinating market town well worth a visit, with deep sacred roots and a rich history of growing and gardening.”
This material reproduced from the introduction of ‘Evesham Through Time‘ by permission of the author Stan Brotherton.
There are many fascinating moments in the history of the town and the abbey, and in the following pages you can read about selected historical highlights:
There is also a list of abbots of Evesham; for many of them very little is known other than the name. An outline of the history of the building of the abbey provides a framework for understanding the archaeology of the site.
The rich history of the site of Evesham Abbey means that there are significant opportunities for the initial archaeology work (and perhaps even a future research archaeology project) to enlarge and enrich our understanding of this special, ancient, sacred space.