Plans of Evesham Abbey

Plans of Evesham Abbey

A number of speculative plans have been drawn up showing the layout of Evesham Abbey. Most of these plans have been based on the results of the Rudge excavations – which focussed on the abbey church and eastern claustral range – with the remainder of the site being drawn in based on educated speculation.

Plan of results of Rudge excavations (George May, 1845)

The image below shows a labelled interpretation of the results of the previous archaeology undertaken by the Rudge family between 1811 and 1831:

george-may-2007-abbey-plan-25pc-smaller

Speculative plan of abbey complex (c.1890)

The next plan includes a lot of speculative detail, including the assignment of chapels and burials. While a fascinating plan, nevertheless much of it is purely imaginative (albeit based on informed guesswork).

abbey-site

Detailed plan of site and remains (VCH, 1906)

A version of the abbey plan taking into account only those areas which have been examined (VCH, vol. II (1906), facing page 388) reveals the extent of what was understood from previous archaeology and also, implicitly, what remains to be uncovered:

vch-plan-of-abbey-25pc-smaller

An examination of this map shows that the artist was aware of its limitations:

  • There are no speculative assignments of dedications to presumed side chapels.
  • There is no tagging of features believed to be burials of named individuals.
  • To the left of the Great Gatehouse is a site tagged as “?Site of Barton Gate”.
  • Below the Great Gatehouse is a site tagged as “?Site of Almonry”.
  • What is now known as the Almonry Museum is tagged as “Buildings known as ‘Almonry’.”

This plan clearly shows that the imaginative fancies of earlier Victorian maps has been discarded in favour of a plan showing what was actually known.

Detailed plan of abbey church (D.C.Cox, 2010)

Dr David Cox, an authority on Evesham Abbey and one of our patrons, has drafted the following plan of the abbey church. David has also written an article pointing out the national historical and archaeological significance of this amazing site:

evesham-abbey-the-romanesque-church-david-cox-s7-page-29-trans

Conclusion

The significance of this ancient sacred site, and the lack of contemporary archaeology on the area, means that there is extraordinary scope for initial archaeology and research archaeology to uncover new truths and understandings not only about Evesham Abbey, but also about the development of monasticism in England.

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