Did You Know?
In AD 941 Edmund, son of Edward the Elder, granted the abbey at Evesham to a pair of Viking raiders named Athelm and Ulric who drove away the monks and tenants and occupied the site but were driven out on AD 960 when Evesham became a Benedictine foundation.
Thomas Badby, a tailor of Evesham, was burned alive in 1409 for protesting against the doctrines of the Church of Rome.
In 1645 Sir Edward Massey, the parliamentarian Governor of Gloucester, stormed and captured Evesham in a two--pronged assault with forces from Gloucester, severing the Royalist line of march from Worcester to Oxford.
Evesham’s Quaker community was imprisoned in the undercroft of the Almonry (now the Almonry Museum) in Evesham. Not all emerged alive.
The ancient gaol of Evesham, standing to the north--east of the town hall, was demolished in 1789. Felons executed in Evesham were publically hanged over the doorway to the old gaol as a warning not to commit crimes as heinous as, for example, shoplifting.
593 Private William Jones VC, who won his Victoria Cross at the Battle of Rorke’s drift in the Anglo--Zulu war of 1879, lived with his family, who ran a shoemaking business in Cowl Street, in the centre of the town.
A United States Serviceman, Private Walter F. Shaw, was pursued across country for three miles from the village of Bretforton on the night of 16/17th June 1945 and brutally murdered, the last recorded instance of a ‘Hue & Cry’ in England. No--one was ever convicted of his murder.
In 1158 Abbot William de Andeville tired of the provocation from his powerful neighbours, the de Beauchamps. He summoned his knights, sergeants and foot soldiers and seized Bengeworth Castle (which stood at the foot of the bridge) from William de Beauchamp, and demolished it, in return for de Beauchamp having destroyed the walls of the cemetery and robbed the church, for which he was also excommunicated.
At the time of the dissolution of Evesham Abbey in 1540 the monks of Evesham were surviving on a diet of 7500 calories a day largely made up of meat, fish, poultry, cheese and a gallon of beer a day. Fruit and vegetables were usually avoided for health reasons.
The last execution carried out at Evesham in the criminal court set up under Evesham’s governing charter of 1604 was of a woman convicted of petty treason, that is of murdering her husband, exacerbated, it was said, by her use of witchcraft. She was ‘turned off’ (to use a phrase from those days) in 1740.
The Olde Swanne Inn and the former Cross Keys Inn, which stood on either side of Swan Lane, were connected by a door between their cellars so that a drinker who saw his wife approaching one hostelry could flee to the other.
Hampton Ferry began as the site of a rope foot ferry (now a chain ferry) that took the monks and lay brothers of Evesham Abbey across the River Avon to work in the abbey’s vineyards that were planted on the terraced slopes opposite. The ferry has been in continuous use since Norman times and is the elder of only two such ferries still in use in England’.
Between his death at the Battle of Evesham in 1265 and 1322 Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester and unofficial saint, performed hundreds of miraculous cures for pilgrims to the sites of his death and his burial.
It is rumoured that the treasures of Evesham Abbey, including a set of miniature silver bells hung in the church tower instead of the real bells, which had been moved to a separate campanile (the present bell tower) were hidden in a tunnel under the river Avon just before the abbey was dissolved. They have never been found.
The pattern of bullet pocks in the buttress of the bell tower in Abbey Park probably marks the site of execution of a soldier of the Hampshire militia who molested a local girl on whose family he was billeted before the Battle of Worcester.
Evesham was a major smuggling centre, contraband cargoes being brought upriver from Bristol, on barges and concealed in cellars around the town, including a false cellar under the Walker Hall.
Spot Loggins Well is named after a cattle driver called Spot Loggins who drowned in a cattle spring in the 17th century. His ghost is regularly seen around the village of Bretforton and his memory lives on in a range of delicious ‘supernatural’ ice creams.
Wood Norton Hall played host to many noble guests from around Europe for the wedding of the Princess Louise of Orleans (Grandmother of the recently abdicated King Juan Carlos of Spain) and Prince Charles of Bourbon in 1907.
The Duc had a wooden chapel erected specifically for the ceremony, however, he forgot to licence the chapel for the solemnisation of matrimony so the actual ceremony took place in Evesham’s Roman Catholic church, then a tiny tabernacle in the backstreets of the town.