The story of Evesham starts with Evesham Abbey:
The ancient market town of Evesham sits within a loop of the River Avon. It's history is evident in its picturesque townscape. 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.
There are many fascinating moments in the history of the town and the abbey, and in the pages below you can read about selected historical highlights
This material reproduced from the introduction of ‘Evesham Through Time‘ by permission of the author Stan Brotherton.