Evesham

Photo of Evesham Almonry heritage centre A delightful museum of local life in this ancient building by Andrew Darge, some rights reserved.

Evesham Worcestershire Family History

Evesham All Saints with St Lawrence is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Worcestershire, created from Evesham All Saints chapelry and Evesham St Lawrence chapelry.

Parish churches: Evesham All Saints, Evesham St Lawrence

Parish registers begin: 1538

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational, Particular Baptist, Presbyterian Unitarian, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Evesham All Saints with St Lawrence

  • Cropthorne
  • Offenham
  • Bengeworth
  • Great and Little Hampton
  • Badsey
  • Norton and Lenchwick

Historical Descriptions

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Evesham, a borough and market-town in tho lower division of the hund. of Blackenhurst, union of Evesham, county of Worcester; 92¾ miles north west of London, and 15 south-east of Worcester, delightfully situated in the beautiful vale of Evesham, on an acclivity rising from a bend in the banks of the Avon, which surrounds it on all sides but the north, and is navigable for vessels of 60 tons, by locks, as high as Stratford. There is here a commodious wharf for barges, but the trade is small. Over the Avon there is here a narrow and inconvenient stone bridge of 8 arches, leading to Bengeworth. The projected railway line of communication between London and the western coast, alluded to under article Dudcote — which see — runs in this direction. The town principally consists of 4 or 5 regular wide streets, with well-built houses. Acres, with St. Peter-Bengeworth, 2,150. Houses 813. A.P. £14,863. Pop., in 1801, 2,937; in 1831, 3,991.

There are three parishes comprised in this town, — All Saints, St. Lawrence, and St. Peter-Bengeworth, in the archd. and dio. of Worcester. The living of All Saints is a discharged vicarage with that of St. Lawrence; rated at £10 16s. 0½d.; gross income £210. Patron, the Lord-chancellor See also Bengeworth (St. Peter). The church of St. Lawrence had been for many years a partial ruin. In 1837 the restoration of this edifice was completed at an expense of nearly £4,000, which was defrayed by voluntary subscription; and it now forms one of the most elegant parish-churches in the county. All tithes, of the borough of Evesham, the property of the dean and chapter of Worcester, and the vicar, were commuted in 1765. Here are a Unitarian church, formed in 1720; a Wesleyan Methodist chapel, founded in 1808; a Friends’ meeting-house; and two places of worship for Baptists. There are 5 daily, 3 day and boarding, and 2 day and Sunday schools here; one of the first is a free grammar-school, with an endowment of £12 12s, per annum. This school was originally connected with the abbey of Evesham: after the alienation of its revenues by the dissolution of the abbey, Henry VIII. refounded and endowed it for the instruction of the children of the town in Latin. James I., by charter dated in 1605, incorporated the mayor and common council as governors of this school, under the style of “The Governors of the possessions and revenues of the Free Grammar-school of Prince Henry in Evesham.” About 10 boys are taught the classics and English literature on this foundation. Other charities, including £256 6s. 5d., the income of Deacles’ school at St. Peter-Bengeworth, for educating, clothing, and apprenticing poor children, and minor charities of that parish £512 4s. 5d. per annum. Poor rates, in 1838, £1,161 12s — The Evesham poor-law union comprehends 30 parishes, embracing an area of 70 square miles; with a population returned in 1831 at 12,567. The average annual expenditure on the poor of this district, during the three years preceding the formation of the union, was £6,204. Expenditure, in 1838, £3,900; in 1839, £5,074 19s.

Evesham is a borough by prescription, and was originally governed by a bailiff, but being incorporated by James I., in the 3° of his reign, was, from that time, till the passing of the municipal act, in 1835, governed by a mayor, 7 aldermen, 12 capital burgesses, a recorder and chamberlain, with inferior officers. Four of the aldermen, and the mayor for the time being, were constituted justices of the peace, and held a session of oyer and terminer and gaol-delivery, with power to try and punish all offences excepting high-treason. The last infliction of capital punishment occurred here in 1740. A court of record was appointed, by the charter, to be held every Tuesday, for the recovery of debts to the amount of £100; and a court of session on the Friday after the county quarter-sessions. The Worcester assizes were occasionally held here. This borough returned members to parliament in the 23d of Edward I.; but after that king’s reign, it discontinued doing so till the accession of James I., since which it has regularly sent two members. The right of voting previous to 1818, was in “pay masters,” or persons resident paving scot and lot: subsequently, and till 1832, tbe right was in the mayor, aldermen, capital, and other burgesses, members of the corporation. The greatest number of electors polled within 30 years previous to 1832 was 443. The number of electors registered in 1837 was 359. The number who actually polled at the general election in 1837, was 308. The mayor is the returning officer. The boundaries of the new parliamentary coincide with those of the old municipal and parliamentary borough, which included the three parishes of All Saints, St. Lawrence, and St. Peter- Bengeworth. By the new municipal act the boundaries of the municipal borough were to have been curtailed; but so as still to comprehend the towns of Evesham and Bengeworth. This, however, has not been done; nor has the borough been divided into wards; 4 aldermen, and 16 councillors were appointed to govern it: the style of the corporate body is ‘the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses, of the borough of Evesham.’ It was included in schedule A, amongst those which were to have a commission of the peace, which has accordingly been granted. The income of the borough, in 1839. was £424 12s., of which £211 2s. 1d. were expended on police and constables, £66 1s. 6d. in salaries, &c, to municipal officers, £26 0s. 2d. in public works and repairs, &c.

The only manufacture carried on here is that of stocking-weaving. In 1838 a silk mill here employed 13 hands. The principal employment of the labouring poor is that of gardening, large portions of ground on each side of the Avon, in the celebrated vale of Evesham, having been converted into gardens. The produce is sent for sale to Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, Birmingham, and Liverpool. Plums, in productive seasons, are sent from tbe vale as far as Glasgow, and other places. The market is on Monday; fairs are held on the 2d of February; the first Monday after Easter; Whit-Monday; the 21st of September, for cattle and horses, and the 2d Monday in December. There is a branch of the Gloucestershire banking company here; also of the Herefordshire banking company.

Evesham is distinguished in history for one of the most remarkable and decisive battles in the English annals, fought here on the 6th of August, 1265, between the forces of Henry III, commanded by Prince Edward — afterwards Edward I. — and Simeon de Montford, earl of Leicester, who then stood, in this turbulent reign, at that stage of successful treason at which it is dangerous either to arrive or to rest. Montford lay at Evesham abbey, and was at first deceived by the appearance of the banners which Edward had taken from Monttord’s son, and caused to be carried in front of the army; but being informed of the reality he placed King Henry, who was then his captive, in front of his line, in armour resembling his own; thus creating a peril to his royal person, which, but for the promptitude and efficient valour of the prince, would have proved fatal. The battle was fought in a contracted field, and no quarter given. The issue of the contest was the decisive defeat of the earl and his confederates, the slaughter of 4,000 men, and of Leicester himself, tbe release of the king, and his subsequent reinstatement on the throne.

Evesham Abbey is the principal point of interest in the history and existing features of Evesham. This noble edifice, founded, according to Leland and others, by St. Egwin, bisbop of tbe Wiccii, and by him dedicated to tbe Virgin, is stated, on the authority of Browne Willis, to have once possessed 22 towns, and to have maintained 75 religious and 65 servants, a strong proof either of the luxury of the inmates or of the idleness of the dependents. In one of the MSS. relating to this abbey, contained in the Harleian and Cottonian collections, and consulted by Mr. May, author of a very interesting local history of Evesham, recently published, it is stated that at the time of the Conquest it possessed 21,862 acres of land; and the mention of orchards and “a vineyard,” proves that tbe monks of Evesham were not behind their brethren in horticultural skill: 5 of their servants were employed in the vineyard, and 3 in the gardens, an additional proof of the great attention paid by the monastic orders, even at this early period, to horticulture. Lambard, in the 16th century, treating of Avonsham, or Evesham, says, — “A great portion of the lowe countrye thearabout is named the vale of Evesham, wherin stode som tyme a great abbay which Egwin, a byshop of Worcester, buylded above eighte hundrethe yeares now past, and was longe after enryched, bothe in buyldinge and revenue, by Leofric the erle, of whome theare is mention in Coventrye : — the house grew to suche wealth within a while after, that one Robert Bloet, abbot of this house, was, by the same, abled to gyve William Rutus 5,000 poundes for the bishopric of Lincoln that then became voide.— Johu Bale hath mention of one Adulph, whome they of his tyme call a saincte, by-cause he was caryed over sea in a moment to saye masse in the default of another byshop, and that he lyeth buryed heare.” Tanner gives us the following succinct account of this celebrated monastery : — “Egwin, the third bishop of Worcester, by the help of Ethelred and Kenred, kings of Mercia, built and endowed this abbey, A.D. 701, to the honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for monks of the order of St. Benedict, who continued here till they were displaced, and secular canons put in their room, A.D. 941. The monks were restored A.D. 960, dispersed a second time A.D. 977, restored once more A.D. 1114, from which time they kept their footing here till the general dissolution by King Henry VIII., when their possessions were valued at £1,183 12s. 9d. per ann. Dugd.; £1,268 9s. 9d. Speed. The site was granted 34° Hen. VIII., to Philip Hobby, Esq.” This abbey was one of the mitred monasteries, whose abbot had a seat in the house of peers. His person was treated with peculiar reverence: none were ever seated in his presence without his command, and nothing was ever received from or given to him by the brethren without humbly kissing his hand. It was the office of the prior to assist the abbot in preserving the strictest discipline: next to whom he was treated with the greatest respect. There were a second and third prior; a dean, precentor, sacrist, chamberlain, manciple or purveyor, cellarer, refectorer, infirmarist, hostilarius or receiver of guests and visiters, and almoner.

As many mistakes have been made in regard to the 7 daily services of the Roman church, we subjoin the following extract, derived by Mr. May from authentic sources : — “Their day may be considered to have been thus divided: unvarying from year to year. Eight hours were alloted to transcription, labour, and study; nearly that number was absorbed in the appointed services of their church; six hours were occupied in sleep; and the remaining two or three in staid and sober recreation. At two, they left their beds, and congregated in the church, for the nocturnal, or first liturgical service. This ended, they again retired. At six, tbey rose, proceeding then to matins, or morning prayer. At nine, they again assembled in the church, for tierce, the service thus termed; after which, the daily sacrifice, or grand conventual mass, was offered, with all the imposing ceremonials adopted by the church of Rome. At noon, their fourth attendance in the church took place, for the observance of another service, called the sexte; which done, they dined. At three, they were again summoned to the church, for the service termed the none. At six, vespers were sung in the same place; and at seven, the concluding service, termed compline, was performed; after which, they supped, and retired to rest.”

The abbey church was a magnificent building of more than ordinary length: on its south side were cloisters, with a spacious and curious walk, which communicated with the church of St. Lawrence: both the church and cloisters were of the most superb Gothic workmanship, adorned with no less than 164 pillars, and 15 altars, besides the high altar. The stately tower, which still remains, was founded by Abbot Lychfield: it is a distinct tower, or campanile. The only vestige of the demolished church of the abbey is an ancient and highly ornamented gateway, preserved in the wall of a garden, which occupies the site of the cloister-area. This gate way conducted from the cloister to the chapter-room.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.

Worcestershire Delineated C. and J. Greenwood 1822

Evesham – a borough and market town in the hundred of Blakenhurst, lower division, 15 miles S.E. from Worcester, and 96 from London; containing 543 inhabited houses. It comprises 2 parishes, All Saints and St. Lawrence, and is governed by a mayor, recorder, 7 aldermen, 12 common-councilmen, and 24 assistants. The mayor and 4 of the aldermen are justices of the peace, and have the privilege to hold a session of Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol-delivery; likewise the power to punish all crimes committed within their liberty, except high treason. This town is pleasantly situated on the river Avon, over which it has a stone bridge of 7 arches. It had formerly 2 churches, All Saints and St. Lawrence; the latter has fallen into decay, but was formerly an edifice of extreme elegance, of which the eastern window is an excellent specimen. Evesham is remarkable as having had a stately monastery, whose abbot sat in Parliament as a spiritual lord, and at one time possessed 22 towns, maintained 75 religious persons, and 65 servants. At the dissolution, its revenues amounted to £1200 sterling. The only fragment of the abbey now remaining, is an elliptical arch or gateway, 17 feet high. It is somewhat curious, that although each of the churches had towers, the bells hang in a magnificent gothic tower about 100 feet high, which is a great embellishment to the town, and will probably resist the assaults of time for many centuries.

A great proportion of the population of Evesham is employed in cultivating the extensive gardens that surround the town, the produce of which supply the markets of most of the large towns within 50 or 60 miles of the place. Oil-cake is manufactured here for the fattening of cattle, in considerable quantities. Mr. Foster has a mill upon a very curious principle, used for this purpose. One of the most remarkable battles in the English annals was fought here on the 4th of Aug. 1265, between the Earl of Leicester and Prince Edward, in which the Earl and most of his adherents were slain. The Earl had previously taken the King prisoner, and had placed him in the van of his army, in armour, with similar heraldic bearings to his own, but soon after the attack had commenced, he was recognised by some of his own troops, on which the affectionate Edward rushed through the thickest of the battle, to the assistance of his parent thus disguised and endangered, and having provided for his safety, he returned to another part of the field, and continued the operations he had commenced with such determined bravery, as soon terminated in the total annihilation of his enemies.

At Great Hampton, a short distance from the town, a mineral Spa has lately been discovered; the waters have been analyzed by Mr. Hulme, and are proved equal, if not superior to those at Cheltenham. A committee of the principal inhabitants has been formed for the purpose pf erecting a Pump Room and suitable buildings upon the spot. Evesham has a market on Mondays, and 4 fairs, viz. 2nd Feb., Monday after Easter, Whit Monday, and Sept. 21. The living of All Saints is a vicarage united with St. Lawrence, in the patronage of the Crown; Rev. H. P. Cooper, incumbent; instituted 1808. Population, 1801, 2165 – 1811, 2353 – 1821, 2634.

Evesham Lodge, one mile to the North of the above town, the residence of Thomas Blaney, Esq.

Source: Worcestershire Delineated: Being a Topographical Description of Each Parish, Chapelry, Hamlet, &c. In the County; with the distances and bearings from their respective market towns, &c. By C. and J. Greenwood. Printed by T. Bensley, Crane Court, Fleet Street, London, 1822.

Directories

Evesham Lewis Worcestershire Directory 1820
Principal Inhabitants of Evesham 1791

Administration

  • County: Worcestershire
  • Civil Registration District: Evesham
  • Probate Court: Court of the Peculiar of Evesham
  • Diocese: Worcester
  • Rural Deanery: Evesham
  • Poor Law Union: Evesham
  • Hundred: Evesham Borough
  • Province: Canterbury