Evesham (/ˈivʃəm/, /ˈivɪʃəm/, or /ˈisəm/) is a market town
and parish in the
Wychavon district of Worcestershire, southern
England with a population of 23,576, according to the 2011 census. It
is located roughly equidistant between Worcester,
Stratford-upon-Avon. It lies within the Vale of Evesham, an area
comprising the flood plain of the River Avon, which has been renowned
for market gardening. The town centre, situated within a meander of
the river, is regularly subject to flooding. The 2007 floods were the
most severe in recorded history.
The town was founded around an 8th-century abbey, one of the largest
in Europe, which was destroyed during the Dissolution of the
Monasteries, with only Abbot Lichfield's Bell Tower remaining. During
the 13th century, one of the two main battles of England's Second
Barons' War took place near the town, marking the victory of Prince
Edward who later became King Edward I.
8 Places of worship
10 Amenities and media
11 Notable people
12 Twin towns
14 External links
The Market Place in Evesham, circa 1904 by Edmund Hort New.
Evesham is derived from the
Old English homme or ham, and Eof,
the name of a swineherd in the service of Egwin, third bishop of
Worcester. It was originally named Homme or Haum and recorded as
Eveshomme in 709 and
Evesham in 1086. The second part of the name
(homme or ham) typically only signifies a home or dwelling, but in
Worcestershire and Gloucestershire was commonly applied to land on the
sides of a river, generally in bends of a river, which were liable to
Some sources (notably Tindal) incorrectly cite 'holm' as a source for
the town's name; but this is simple ignorance of early forms of the
name. Some sources (Rudge, Tindall, Lewis, May, etc.) incorrectly give
the name of the swineherd as Eoves, but it should be Eof, as explained
as long ago as 1920 by O.G. Knapp:
It is impossible that Eoves should have been the Swineherd's name for
several reasons. In the first place the letter 'V' is not found in the
Saxon alphabet, having been brought to this country by the Normans; so
that Eofeshamme, given in one of the charters, indicates the older and
better form of the name... But even if Eofes is older and more
accurate than Eoves it cannot be the original form of the name. A
moment's reflection will show that if
Evesham means the meadow of some
person, the name of that person must be in what Grammarians call the
Genitive (or Possessive) Case, Singular. This in modern English is
nearly always denoted by 's placed at the end of the word; the
apostrophe showing that a vowel has dropped out of the termination.
Anglo-Saxon had a larger selection of endings for the Genitive Case,
but the one in –es (the original form of our modern 's) belonged to
what are called 'strong' Masculine nouns, which usually ended in a
consonant. Eofes, therefore, would be the natural Genitive of a man's
proper name, Eof. Ferguson suggests that the original form of the name
might have been Eofa, but such a name would correspond to the 'weak'
nouns which made their Genitive by adding not –es but –an; in
which case the name of the town would have been Eofanham, as is shown
in the case of Offenham, the Ham of Offa or Uffa. We may therefore
take it as certain that the real name of the
Swineherd was not Eoves,
Eofes, or even Eofa, but Eof. And this is not a mere theoretical
Eof was actually a Saxon name... The form Eoves,
though current for many centuries, is a mere blunder.
Evesham Abbey, which became possibly the third largest in England,
was founded by Saint Egwin, the third Bishop of Worcester, in around
701 AD, following the vision of the Virgin Mary to a local swineherd
or shepherd named Eof.
An entry in the Great
Domesday Book of 1086 lists Evesham, mentioning
"Two free men; Two radmen; Abbey of St Mary of Evesham; Abbey of St
Mary of Pershore; Edmund, Abbot of St Mary of Pershore; Walter, Abbot
of St Mary of Evesham; Aethelwig, Abbot of St Mary of Evesham; King
William as donor; Odo, Bishop of Bayeux; Ranulph; Turstin, Abbot of St
Mary of Pershore; Walter Ponther; Westminster, Gilbert Crispin, Abbot
of St Peter."
The abbey was redeveloped and extended after the Norman Conquest,
employing many tradesmen and significantly contributing to the growth
of Evesham. Income for the abbey came from pilgrims to the abbey
to celebrate the vision and visitors to the tomb of Simon de Montfort.
As a result of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, Evesham
Abbey was dismantled in 1540 and sold as building stone, leaving
little but the Lichfield Bell Tower. The abbey remains are a
Scheduled Ancient Monument
Scheduled Ancient Monument (No. WT253), and parts of the abbey
complex, Abbot Reginald's Wall (registered monument) and the ruins of
Abbot Chryton's Wall (Grade II), are
English Heritage listed
buildings. The abbey's coat of arms is used as the crest of Prince
Henry's High School. Two surviving buildings with links to the abbey
Middle Littleton Tythe Barn
Middle Littleton Tythe Barn and the
Almonry Museum and
Heritage Centre, which is housed in the old almonry of the abbey and
also displays artifacts from excavations there.
Main article: Battle of Evesham
Battle of Lewes
Battle of Lewes a year earlier, where Simon de Montfort
had gained control of parliament, the
Battle of Evesham
Battle of Evesham in August 1265
was the second of two main battles of the Second Barons' War. It
marked the victory of Prince Edward, who led the 8,000 strong army of
his father Henry III, over the 6,000 men of de Montfort, and the
beginning of the end of the rebellion. The battle was a massacre; de
Montfort's army were trapped in the horseshoe bend of the river,
Although Simon de Montfort and his son were killed, Prince Edward's
victory was not decisive towards the King's hold on the country, and
the struggle continued until 1267, after which the kingdom
returned to a period of unity and progress that was to last until the
The Almonry, originally part of
The medieval town developed within the meander of the River Avon,
Bengeworth developed to the east on the opposite bank of the
river. In 1055 a market was granted to the Saxon town by King
Edward. In the 11th century Leofric, Earl of Mercia, had a hunting
lodge at Bengeworth. Leofric founded Holy Trinity Church with his wife
Godifu (Lady Godiva). Godifu, who died in about 1067, is possibly
buried at the abbey. During the reign of King Stephen, William de
Beauchamp erected an adulterine castle at Bengeworth, whose occupants
vied for control of the town and abbey. When Abbot William had the
castle destroyed between 1149 and 1159, he consecrated the site as a
graveyard to prevent the castle being rebuilt.
Evesham was a borough and market town in the hundred of Blackenhurst
in county of Worcestershire and after 1837 head of the
Law Union which took responsibility for the administration and funding
of the Poor Law, and built a workhouse for that area.
Evesham is a town and civil parish governed at the lowest tier of
local government by
Evesham Town Council, part of the Wychavon
District of the County of Worcestershire. Residents in the six council
electoral wards are represented by 24 elected members. The wards,
based on streets, are represented by elected councillors: Avon (3),
Bengworth (5), Great Hampton (3), Little Hampton (5), South (5),
Twyford (3). The council is chaired by a mayor, and has a Town Clerk
who acts as chief officer.
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Evesham is situated on a horse shoe shaped peninsula almost completely
surrounded by water in a meander of the River Avon between
Stratford-on-Avon and Tewkesbury. The modern town encompasses
Bengeworth and Greater and Little Hampton, which were originally
independent villages on the opposite bank of the river.
Bengeworth by Workman Bridge and Hampton by Abbey Bridge, or
New Bridge the first completely structural concrete bridge in the
Cotswold hills stretch from the east to the
south-west, while to the west the area is bounded by the Malvern
Hills. To the north the land is flat with gentle undulations. The
Avon, a tributary of the River Severn, is navigable but mainly used by
leisure traffic and there is a marina providing moorings.
The River Avon at
Evesham has always been susceptible to heavy
flooding which is well documented from the 13th century. In May 1924
Evesham ranked 5th in the annual flood list 1848 to
1935. In May 1998,
Evesham was one of the towns worst hit by
record flooding along the River Avon. The river rose 19 feet
(5.8 m) in just a few hours, sinking tethered narrowboats,
flooding areas of Bengeworth, and threatening the 19th century Workman
Bridge as static homes from a riverside caravan site broke up and
became wedged in its arches. In July 2007
Evesham had its heaviest
rainfall for 200 years, reaching more than 320% the average in some
areas. In the Severn catchment, it caused some of the heaviest floods
recorded, and in
Evesham the flooding was the worst in its recorded
Destinations from Evesham
Worcester, Tenbury Wells
Alcester, Redditch, Birmingham
Pershore, Malvern, Ledbury, Hereford
Strensham, Tewkesbury, Gloucester
Moreton-in-Marsh, Chipping Norton, Woodstock, Oxford
At the 2001 UK census,
Evesham had a total population of 22,304. For
every 100 females, there were 96.7 males. The average household size
was 2.3. Of those aged 16–74 in Evesham, 57.5% had no academic
qualifications or one General Certificate of Secondary Education
(GCSE), above the figures for all of the
Wychavon district (44.2%)
England (45.5%). According to the census, 2.4% were unemployed
and 9.4% were economically inactive. 20.1% of the population were
under the age of 16 and 7.7% were aged 75 and over; the mean age of
the people of the civil parish was 38.2. 69.9% of residents described
their health as "good", similar to the average of 69.1% for the wider
This twin gabled 15th-century timbered merchants house is now occupied
The Riverside Shopping Centre
Due to its exceptionally fertile soil, market gardening is carried out
on a commercial scale in the surrounding area, known as the Vale of
Evesham, which is known for its production of fruit and vegetables. A
distinctive form of leasehold tenure, known as the
still regulates market garden tenancies in the area. A decline in the
second half of the 20th century resulted in the closing of Evesham's
Smithfield Market while the Central Market stopped being used for
produce auctions. Between 1983 and 2008,
Evesham was home to computer
Evesham Micros, later renamed
Evesham Technology. It was
a significant contributor to the United Kingdom's domestic computer
and digital television market. At its peak, the company employed up to
300 people with a chain of 19 retail stores in towns and cities
throughout the UK. It went into liquidation in 2008.
Retail and food outlets are provided for in the traditional high
street and the Riverside Shopping Centre, and Four Pools Lane Retail
Park. The Valley (formerly
Evesham Country Park), is a large retail
and leisure park located out of town with a diversity of stores,
restaurants and cafés.
In 1728 the
Worcester road through
Evesham was turnpiked as
Alcester road in 1778 improving communications in
Evesham is at the junction of the A46 and A44 trunk
roads – the 4-mile (6 km) £7 million, A46 single-carriageway
bypass to the east of the town opened in July 1987 as the A435.
The River Avon is a navigable waterway linking the
River Severn at
Tewkesbury to the
Stratford-upon-Avon Canal at Stratford-upon-Avon.
The river between the town and Stratford is managed by the Upper Avon
Navigation Trust, and below by the Lower Avon Navigation Trust,
reflecting the administration of the river since the Restoration, when
the lower Avon required only modest repairs, but significant
investment was required above the town. The ancient Hampton Ferry
links the town to Hampton.
In 1845 an Act of parliament was passed for the Oxford,
Wolverhampton Railway and
Evesham railway station
Evesham railway station opened between
Honeybourne and Pershore. The station is on the
Cotswold Line from
Oxford to Worcester,
Great Malvern and Hereford. There are trains
every 45–55 minutes to
London Paddington that take approximately 1
hour 45 minutes and trains to
Birmingham take around 90 minutes
(changing at Worcester).
The nearest major airport is
Birmingham International about 40 minutes
away by trunk roads and the M42 motorway.
Gloucestershire Airport at
Staverton is a general aviation airport used for pilot training,
private charter and scheduled flights to Jersey and the Isle of Man.
Work began in September 2013 to replace the Abbey Bridge and was
completed in March 2014.
Evesham follow the three-tier education model of first
school (ages 5–10), middle school (ages 10–13), and high school
(ages 13–18) adopted by
Wychavon District Council 1974 and completed
by 1977. Twelve first (primary) schools which include state
non-denominational schools as well as Church of
Roman Catholic school feed four middle schools which in
turn send their pupils to complete their secondary education at The De
Montfort School and
Prince Henry's High School which originated as a
grammar school established by the monastery and was re-founded by
Henry VIII after the Dissolution. The Vale of
Worcestershire County Council, caters for children from
the area aged 2 – 19 with special needs, and learning disabilities.
Further education is provided by
Evesham College, part of the
Warwickshire College Group
Warwickshire College Group following the merger with South
Worcestershire College (previously known as
Evesham and Malvern Hills
College) which caters mainly for students studying at the
BTEC level or undertaking practical vocational courses. 
The nearest higher education providers are the University of Worcester
and the University of Gloucestershire. A University of the Third Age
was established in 2003 and in 2010 had 600 members.
Places of worship
The 1906 sandstone and red brick
Methodist Church on the banks
of the River Avon
It is possible that the 8th-century Anglo-Saxon Minster Church of
Evesham Abbey was founded on the site of an even older church. The
medieval town had two parish churches, All Saints and St Lawrence
built within the abbey precinct. Religious establishments in
All Saints Church, Evesham
All Saints Church, Evesham Baptist Church, Evesham
Methodist Church, St Andrew's C of E
Church, St Mary & Saint Egwin's Church, St Peter's Church, Vale Of
Evesham Christian Centre, the Unitarian Chapel in Oat Street and a
Quaker meeting place.
The art deco Regal Cinema
Evesham had a distinctive dialect, which locals called "Asum
Grammar", or "Asum Grammer". The editor of the local newspaper
quoted extracts from a fictitious dictionary of the language. In
1891, a glossary was published of words and phrases in South-East
Worcestershire, comprising the district around
Evesham and Pershore.
This publication itself built on that of an 1882 author identified
only as "Mrs Chamberlain". Prior to the 1882 book, little
attention had been paid to the dialect of "the old Worcestershire
folks", despite it being "interesting and peculiar". A decline in the
dialect was already being noted, attributed at that time to
standardisation of English schooling, something noted also by
later writers on English dialects. The dialect continues to
decline, but is stronger in older generations. More recent factors
in its decline are attributed to changes in the market gardening
scene, where the dialect was to be heard at its fullest, and the
impact of television. In the local dialect, "Asum" is a
contraction of the town's name. Asum was an ale produced by
the now defunct
Evesham Brewery. "Eve-shum" is the more common
phonetic pronunciation, but "Eve-uh-shum" is not uncommon.
Evesham Arts Centre was built in 1979 and is staffed and operated by
volunteers. It provides a venue for professional and amateur
performance. Events hosted include drama, stand-up comedy, brass
bands, orchestras, pantomime to ballet. The centre has a raked
300-seat auditorium, full technical facilities and film projection and
a 60-seat studio space for smaller productions. The centre's foyer it
is an exhibition space for local artists. The centre is managed by the
Evesham Arts Association, a registered charity.
The Regal Cinema reopened in December 2009. Its Grade II listed
building was designed in 1932 by architect Hurley Robinson.
who was responsible for several public buildings in classical and Art
Deco styles, including 55 other cinemas. The Regal is the most
important surviving example. In 2009 the cinema signed a contract
to show all
Universal Studios films. It also serves as a community
arts centre, offering a programme of music and stand-up comedy.
Medieval Evesham, and the Earl of Evesham, inspired a novel Winning
His Spurs by historical fiction author G. A. Henty. A more recent
novel by M.C. Beaton entitled Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham,
takes place largely in Evesham, and two of the main characters visit
the local sights, with descriptions. Local folklore is provided
for by the Legend of
Evesham surrounding the life of Eof, an
8th-century swineherd credited with the founding of the town, and St
Egwin the Bishop of
Worcester who founded the abbey and who whose feet
had been fettered and the key thrown in the River Avon. According to
the legend, the key turned up in Rome inside a fish. On returning to
Egwin declared that a monastery be built on the spot where
the key had been cast in the river. A major landmark is the statue
Eof by the sculptor
John McKenna that was funded by the townsfolk
and unveiled in the market place in June 2008.
Amenities and media
Evesham Library, managed by
Worcestershire Libraries &
Learning division of
Worcestershire County Council, is located in the
town centre and was completely modernised following a closure for
refurbishment in January 2011. It offers community services that
include an online catalogue, Wi-Fi internet access, public internet
terminals, and a mobile library.
A local museum opened in 1957 and is funded by the council, The
Almonry Museum and Heritage Centre, and the Tourist Information Centre
are housed in a 14th-century half timbered building that was the home
of the almoner of
Evesham Abbey. Exhibits include many items of local
interest including an exhibition themed on the battle of Evesham.
Evesham has a 97-bed community hospital in Waterside, outside the town
centre, used mainly by the elderly and for convalescence, although
consultants from major
Worcester NHS hospitals hold clinics there. The
hospital maintains a Minor Injuries Unit (open from 9 am to
9 pm 7 days a week). The town has three health centres
providing general practitioner first care services, and a dental
Evesham also has several nursing and retirement homes for the
care of senior citizens. The
Evesham area is covered by the Midlands
Air Ambulance service, which has operated from the site of Strensham
motorway services since 1991.
Evesham local news has been served since 1860 by the
now part of the
Newsquest (Midlands South) Ltd. subsidiary of Gannett
Corporation, which is predominantly a weekly free newspaper that is
distributed over four counties. In 2007 the weekly free newspaper
Evesham Observer was launched by Midlands-based Observer-Standard
series of newspapers, now the family-owned Bullivant Media.
Commercial radio stations that provide music and local news include
Wyvern (radio) broadcasting on 96.7 FM, Touch FM broadcasting on 102
FM, and BBC
Worcester broadcasting on 104 FM and 94.7
Evesham Leisure Centre comprises two swimming pools, a climbing
wall, a 100-station fitness room to our health and a beauty salon.
Evesham is represented by
Evesham United F.C.
Evesham United F.C. which plays in
Southern Football League
Southern Football League Division One South & West, and Rugby
Union – Senior and Youth Sections at
Evesham Rugby Club. There is
also a cricket ground. The town also has a pétanque team, and a
Evesham & District Wheelers, which was founded in
1947. Because of its situation on the river, the town is home to
various watersports including
Evesham Rowing Club,
Canoeing provided by the
Evesham Paddle Monsters club, and Evesham
Sailing Club. The town includes two golf courses,
Evesham Golf Club,
which is situated outside Fladbury, and Twyford Golf Club, which is
situated just outside Lenchwick.
Running Club hold the
Evesham Vale 10K Race event very year.
Alfred John Agg, Australian colonial public servant and commissioner
of railways in Victoria.
John Aldridge, a professional English and international cricketer who
also played for Worcestershire. Born in
Evesham in 1935.
Ariel Bender, guitarist for Mott the Hoople and Spooky Tooth, was born
and raised in Evesham.
Molly Badham who was awarded the MBE was a co-founder of Twycross Zoo.
She trained the chimpanzees who appeared on the famous
Brooke Bond PG
Tips TV ads for tea. Born in
Evesham in 1914.
Roger Burrows, educator and mathematician
Jim Capaldi, songwriter and founding member of Traffic was born and
raised in Evesham.
Muzio Clementi was a celebrated classical composer, pianist,
pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, and piano manufacturer. He
spent his final years in
Evesham where he died in 1832.
Daniel Flynn, the actor who plays Superintendent John Heaton in the
ITV1 police drama
The Bill was born in
Evesham in 1961
but whose family moved to Bromley,
Kent when an infant.
Sir Henry Fowler,
Chief Mechanical Engineer of the
Midland Railway and
London, Midland and Scottish Railway
London, Midland and Scottish Railway was born in
Evesham, on 29 July 1870.
Edmund Hort New, was an artist who was born and grew up in
1871. In 1905, he moved to
Oxford where he began work on a series of
drawings of the University of
Oxford colleges, a project which
occupied him for the rest of his life.
Harry King (1886–1968) was a professional English footballer who was
born in Northampton, and began his career at
Evesham Star F.C..
Robert Lanchbury, is a former English cricketer who played first-class
cricket for Gloucestershire and
Worcestershire in the early 1970s.
Evesham in 1950.
Alistair McGowan, impressionist and actor. Born in
Evesham on 24
Andy Preece, a part-time professional English footballer and manager.
He began his career as a junior with
Worcester City. He subsequently
Evesham United. Born in
Evesham in 1967.
P J Proby
P J Proby (American pop singer) lives in Evesham.
Edward Righton (1884–1964) was an English cricketer who played
first-class cricket matches for
Worcestershire between 1911 and 1913.
Born in Evesham
John Watson was born in
Evesham around 1491 and was a Bishop of
Winchester, and a Chancellor of St Pauls Cathedral, London. Today's
Evesham Hotel is a Tudor mansion he built as the family home.
William Jones, (1839–1913) was awarded the
Victoria Cross for
bravery at Rorke's Drift, the highest military award that can be
awarded to British and Commonwealth citizens. Born in
Guy Whittingham is a retired professional footballer with over 450
appearances for a number of English clubs including Premier League
Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday. Born in
Evesham in 1964.
C.H. Waddington biologist
John Watson, acting
Bluemantle Pursuivant at the College of Arms
Henry Walton Smith who was the Mayor of
Evesham in 1858 and 1860 was a
founder of high street retailer W H Smith
Evesham is twinned with:
Evesham Township, New Jersey, USA.
Worcestershire County Council Research Unit (16 March 2004),
Evesham Parish Profile", in
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Evesham.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Evesham.
Evesham Town Council
Almonry Museum and Heritage Centre
Evesham - a 1904 book about the town, by Edmund H. New, from Project
Worcestershire County Council web site
Evesham at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
BBC Battle of Evesham, 4 August 1265
Battle of Evesham
Battle of Evesham timeline
Settlements in the
Ashton under Hill
North and Middle Littleton
White Ladies Aston
Civil parishes in the