Blog – Evesham Abbey: Homme: Eove’s Homme: Eve’s-Ham: Evasen: Evescam.


  • Evesham, Worcestershire
  • OSGB – SP 0374 4363
  • Grade I Listed Building


Fortified abbey. The Great Gatehouse included statues of the Virgin Mary, St. Egwin and a number of its Royal founders.

The relics of saints said to have been at the Abbey include,

      • St. Egwin,
      • St. Credan,
      • St. Wigston of Mercia, and St. Odulf.


The site was once in an area thick with forest. Legends states the area was originally called Homme and that a swineherd from another Abbey was tending to his animals there when he saw a vision of the Virgin Mary.

There is a record of the Abbey first being destroyed during the reign of King Edmund, when a man called Ealhelm took possession of the site when the king was young. He drove out the monks, took their lands and lived there himself, installing a few cannons to assist him. Eventually the Abbey was returned with the assistance of St. Dunstan.

Two of its own Abbots plundered the Abbey of its valuables, they were Abbot Wulfric and Abbot Oswulf.

Early in 976 Ǽlfhire kicked the monks out and placed Cannons in the Abbey instead. Later in 976 Godwine exchanged Towcester Abbey for Evesham. He then gave King Ǽthelred three hundred mancuses in exchange for Evesham Abbey being his by hereditary right, forever – the King agreed, however, Godwine was not there for long, as the king soon granted it to Bishop Ǽthelsige, and then Bishop Ǽlfstan.



In the tenth century they Abbey, which had not been constructed by builders, fell down. There are no other records of it at the time, but it is recorded when the new Abbey was reconsecrated in 1044. It is alleged that five chests of silver were put forward for the rebuilding, but that was not enough and so the monks took the shrine of St. Egwin on a tour around England to raise the remaining funds.

In around 1012 Abbot Brithmar sued Godwine to return all of the land he had kept which belonged to the Abbey. The Abbott won his case but had to pay Godwine the same amount of gold which had originally been paid over to the King for the whole of the Abbey. The Abbot did so, and the lands were returned.

One of the most well known of the monks from Evesham Abbot was Walter Odington. In 1301 he created an Almanac and in it gave the coordinates of the Abbey. The Almanac included a calendar and texts. This was not the only piece of note that this monk was well known for. He was a smart one and must have had a natural ability with math. He worked out from the stars that the Roman Church had got their calculations wrong and that there had been some kind of corruption to make the dates fit in with their own timetable. He also disputed the lives and times of Adam and Eve – not that must have really annoyed the Church! He calculated that,

Ten generations between Adam and Noah’s flood yielded 2,242 years according to Septuaght, but only 1,656 years according to the ‘Hebrew truth’….lifespans recorded for some of the early patriarchs, which exceeded 900 years, and thus clashed with another passage in Josephus, according to which God bestowed upon early humans a life of 600 years in order to give them enough time to study the motions of the planets and the stars….Odington latched on to a cosmological remark included in the Compotus of Cunestabulus, who taught that those living between the tropics and the equator witnessed two summers and two winters each year, owing to the fact that the sun was found directly overhead twice per annum. In a highly original move, the monk from Evesham Abbey connected this doctrine to a view held by certain scholastic writers, who located the terrestrial paradise on or near the equator…. As a result, their concept of a ‘year’ was different from that used by those currently dwelling in northern latitudes, such that the 930 years of Adam’s life were equivalent to only 465 revolutions of the sun….(Northoft 2016).

Very daring for a monk to make that statement to the Church – you can begin to see why, originally, the Church hated science and scientists!

On the site is the tomb of Simon de Montfort, who died at the Battle of Evesham in 1265 as part of the Second Barons War. One hundred and ninety one miracles have been attested to him before the Dissolution, ensuring a steady stream of pilgrims to the grave site, which in turn meant more funds for the Abbey.


Site of the grave of Simon de Montfort, on the site of the former Evesham Abbey and in front of the bell tower that still stands.
By Smb1001 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


The only building which remains mostly complete today is the Almonry. This was the building which accommodated guests to the Abbey, where Alms were distributed to the poor, and where sometimes, lessons were given to local children. After the Dissolution this building went to Abbot Hayford/Hawford for the rest of his life, and where he lived off of his pension of £240 per year.

Enjoy the timeline for this amazing Abbey….


701                              Founded by St. Egwin, 3rd Bishop of Worcester, after seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary.

710                              Built.

710-717                       St. Egwin was Abbott of Evesham., 3rd Bishop of Worcester.

717                              St. Egwin died and was buried in the Abbey church.

717-941                       The Abbott’s of Evesham were, in order, Ethelwod, Aldbore, Aldbath, Aldfefert, Tildbrith, Cutulf, Almund, St. Credanus, Thincferth, Aldbald, Ecbrith, Elfred, Wilford, Kinelm, Kinath, Ebba, Kinath, and Edwin.

941                              Secular Cannons replaced the monks.

941-969                       Held by seculars.

960                              St. Dunstan and St. Ethelwold returned the site to the Benedictine Monks and St. Oswald, Bishop of Worcester was made Abbott.

969-976                       Oswald was Abbott. The Abbey fell down as it had not been constructed by buildres.

976                              The monks were expelled, and secular cannons were installed by Alfhere, Prince of Mercia.

976                              Late: Alfhere, Prince of Mercia, was dieing, and he made a monk, Freadgar, Abbott. Freadgar could not get rid of the seculars and he exchanged Evesham with Earl Godwin of Towcester.

976-989                       Held by seculars.

977                              The Benedictine monks were removed.

989                              Monastic site.

989-996                       Between: Bishops in order, Bishop Ethelwing, Bishop Ethelston, Adulf, Bishop of Worcester.

995                              Foundation of Evesham Abbey.

1012                            c: Brithmar was Bishop.

1014                            The Benedictine monks were given the site back again.

1014-1044                   Alfward was Abbott.

1018                            King Cnut gave the Abbey lands at Badby and Newnham.

1020                            King Cnut gave the Abbey lands in Gloucestershire, Winchcombe and Northampton.

1034                            Alfward was made Bishop of London but remained at Evesham. He made Avitius, Prior of Evesham, Dean of Christianity for the Vale of Evesham.

1040                            Churches in the Vale of Evesham were under rule of the Abbey and not the Bishop or Archdeacon of the Diocese.

1044                            Alfward died at Ramsey as the monks refused to let him into Evesham.

1044-1059                   Manny was Abbott. The Abbey was finally reconsecrated following its rebuilding after falling down in 976.

1055                            Edward the Confessor granted Swell Minor and Grafton Major to Evesham.

1059                            Abbott Manny resigned.

1059-1077                   Ethelwig was Abbott.

1077-1104                   Walter de Cerisy was Abbott. He built a new church, the crypts nave and tower. He also increased the monks, but granted Abbey lands to his relatives and gave them offices of Secular Dean and Steward, taking it away from the Prior.

1086                            Domesday: Evesham owned lands at Acton, Upton, Witton, Hantune, Sheriff’s Lench, Daylesford, Evenlade, Bransford, Arrow, Kings Broom, Bidford, Temple Grafton, Burton, Exhall, Atherstone, Wiigenshill, Milcote, Weston, Salford, Salford Cornwell, Chiselton, Shipton, Deanfield, Hidcote, Pebworth, Dorsington, Weston Stoke and Kineton. The Abbey held 67 monks.

1100-1108                   Blackenhurst was granted to the Abbey in return for four knights’ fees. They provided knights to defend the Abbey.

1102-1122                   Robert de Jumieges was Abbott.

1104                            Prior Domininc of Evesham wrote about the history and legends of the site and the surrounding area in his books: Victa Sancti Wistani; Victa Sancti Egwini: Victa Sancti Odulfi: and the Acta Proborum Virorum.

1104-1122                   Robert de Jumieges granted lands to his relatives.

1122-1130                   Maurice, a monk, was Abbott.

1130-1149                   Reginald was Abbott and he removed houses of the knights from the garden of the monastery he also built a wall around the Abbey, a parlour, kitchen and guest chamber.

1139                            Abbott Reginald made a pilgrimage to Rome to plead liberty against Bishop Simon.

1149-1159                   William de Andeville was Abbott and he attacked and destroyed William de Beauchamps castle at Bengeworth.

1150                            Knights of Roger of Hungerford invaded the Abbey. William Beauchamp damaged the Abbey.

1159-1160                   Roger, monk of St. Augustine’s, Canterbury, was Abbott.

1160-1191                   Adam, monk of Cluny, was Abbott and he made improvements, including building the Bell Tower.

1191-1213                   Roger Norreys was Abbott and he wasted the lands by indulging on himself.

1195                            The monks, led by Thomas de Marleberge, appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Hubert, about Abbott Norreys behaviour.

1198                            The monks again appealed to Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury.

1201                            Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury came to Evesham to see Abbott Norreys, who had bribed some monks and no action was taken.

1206                            November: Thomas de Northwich and Thomas de Marleberge were expelled by the Council of Reading. Thirty monks left with Marleberge. Abbott Norreys sent armed men after them, but the monks held their own. The monks reached William de Beauchamps lands and Abbott Norreys was fearful Beauchamp would side with the monks, so he promised to give them whatever they wanted. The monks returned to the Abbey.

1213                            Papal Legate Nicholas of Tosculum visited Evesham Abbey to dispose of Abbot Norreys, for the unjust way he was running the Abbey, which included making the monks beg for food, and some dying of starvation.

1214                            Abbott Randulf drew up constitutions.

1214-1229                   Randulf, Prior of Worcester, was Abbott and he improved the Abbey lands and built mills, dovecotes, fishponds and cleared some forest trees.

1215                            The central tower of the Abbey fell down, damaging the Choir and shrines which had to be rebuilt.

1216                            The Constitution by Abbott Randulf was confirmed by a General Council in Rome.

1229                            Henry III seized the temporalities for almost a year.

1229-1236                   Thomas de Marleberge, Prior of Worcester, was Abbott and he enlarged and improved the buildings.

1232                            Lands previously granted to the Knights Templar by the Abbey had still not been returned following their suppression.

1236-1242                   Richard le Gras was Abbott.

1243-1255                   Thomas of Gloucester was Abbott.

1255                            Henry III kept the temporalities that Rome was informed.

1255-1263                   Henry, Prior of Evesham, was Abbott.

1256                            Henry III was ordered by Rome to assign the temporalities to the Abbott, Henry of Worcester.

1261                            The Bell Tower was hit by lightning.

1265                            Was the third richest Abbey in England. Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, was at the Abbey when he heard the Royal army was approaching. He decided to ride out and meet them into what is known as the Battle of Evesham. Simon de Montfort was killed. He was buried at the Abbey.

1266                            When Abbott Henry died the king again held the temporalities until this date when William de Whitchurch was elected Abbott.

1266-1282                   William de Whitchurch was Abbott.

1269                            The Bishop was given jurisdiction in the church of Abbott’s Morton only – this ended the long battle between the Bishop and the Abbott.

1272-1307                   Edward I granted loans to the Abbots.

1278                            The Bell Tower was repaired.

1282-1316                   John de Brokehampton was Abbott and he wrote the Evesham Book. He improved the buildings, built granges, made canals and improved churches on Abbey lands with alters and chancels.

1295                            New Chapter House was built.

1301                            Monk Walter Odington wrote his Almanac.

1308-1316                   Monk Walter Odington wrote his histories and legends of the Abbey.

1307-1327                   Edward II granted loans to the Abbots.

1317                            The new Chapter House was completed.

1317-1344                   William de Cheriton was Abbott.

1318                            Edward II granted the Abbey the custody of the temporalities.

1319                            The central tower had finally been completed.

1332                            26th May: Licence to crenellate granted. The Abbey was ‘A Royal foundation subject only to Rome’.

1336                            Pope Innocent announced the Abbey wholly exempt from Episcopal jurisdiction.

1336                            15th March: Licence to crenellate granted.

1345-1367                   William de Boys was Abbott.

1367-1379                   John de Ombersley was Abbott.

1379-1418                   Roger Zatton was Abbott.

1390                            The Evesham Map was commissioned.

14th C                          Stables and gateway. Attacks were made on properties of the Abbots.

1418                            The Abbey held 31 people, some had died of the Black Death. Abbott Zatton let the Abbey fall into debt.

1418-1435                   Richard Bromsgrove was Abbott.

1435-c1460                 John Wykewan was Abbott.

1452                            The Evesham Map was reused and added to.

1460-1467                   Richard Pembroke was Abbott.


1467-1477                   Richard Hawkesbury was Abbott and he let the Abbey fall into debt stating he had to entertain nobles which had cost a lot of money.

1477                            Abbott Upton had managed to pay off the debts of the Abbey.

1477-1483                   William Upton was Abbott.

1483-1491                   John Norton was Abbott.

1491-1514                   Thomas Newbold was Abbott.

1533                            A new Bell Tower was built at the entrance to the cemetery.

15th C                          Almonry. Attacks were made on properties of the Abbots.

1514                            Clement Litchfield was Abbott.

1535                            The yearly revenue was put at £1,183 12s 9d profit. Alms paid out equaled £55 3s 8d.

1538                            Suggestions put forward the monastery should be converted into an educational establishment were rejected.

1538-1539                   Petitions to turn the Abbey into a college were rejected.

1539                            Destroyed during the Dissolution.

1539-1540                   Philip Hawford/Ballard was Abbott.

1540                            Abbott Hawford surrendered the monastery to the king and in return received a pension of £240 a year. The church was demolished apart from the tower. After intervention from locals who had helped build the tower. June – Suggestions put forward the monastery should be converted into an educational establishment were rejected.


The Almonry, Evesham.
By DeFacto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


1540-1547                   Ministry of Rolls showed revenue also at £1,183 12s 9d profit.

1541                            Stone from the site was taken and used for local building material.

1542                            The site was sold to Thomas Hoby for £891 10s.

16th C                          Bell tower.

1645                            25th May: Battle of Evesham – the Abbey was captured by General Massey.

1811-1884                   Excavated.

1830’s                         Excavated.

1881                            Excavated.

1958                            Excavated.

1975                            Watching Brief.

1986                            Evaluated.

1986                            Surveyed by Ancient Monuments Laboratory Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission.

1986                            Watching Brief

1987                            Evaluated.

1987-1988                   Evaluated.

1988                            Evaluated.

1988                            Excavated.

1993                            Evaluated.

1994                            Excavated.

1996                            Watching Brief.

1996                            Excavated.

1997                            Watching Brief.

1997                            Watching Brief.

20th C                          Abbot Reginald’s Gateway, late 13th century chapter house, 14th century stables and late 14th century gateway, 15th century almonry and 16th century bell tower still remain.

2002                            Watching Brief.

2017                            Excavations – outer wall of the Abbey uncovered.


Remains of the Chapter House.
(Bonney 1891 )



References & Bibliography

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