Evesham

Location

O.S. Ref: SP037437
15 miles S.E. of Worcester

Hundred

A borough having separate jurisdiction, locally in Lower Blackenhurst [11] [25] [28]

Poor Law Union

Evesham (1924-30) [3] [25]

Monumental Inscriptions and Associated Documents

At Society of Genealogists [59]
EVESHAM (war memorial) : Monumental Inscriptions: Worcestershire monumental inscriptions vol. 15 [Typescript.] IN: Worcestershire monumental inscriptions vol. 15 Published Twickenham : S K Minney, Nd. Author Minney, Sarah K (transcriptions) Source D: S K Minney

EVESHAM (Waterside cemetery) : Monumental Inscriptions: Worcestershire monumental inscriptions, vol. 12 [Typescript.] IN: Worcestershire monumental inscriptions, vol. 12 Published Birmingham : Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry, 1990 Author Farmer, G R (transcriptions) Author Bushell, L C Source D: Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry

EVESHAM (Hampton cemetery) : Monumental Inscriptions: Worcestershire monumental inscriptions, vol. 11 [Typescript.] IN: Worcestershire monumental inscriptions, vol. 11 Published Birmingham : Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry, 1992 Author Farmer, G R (transcriptions) Author Bushell, L C Source D: BMSGH

War Memorials

For the names of those included on Evesham War Memorial see:
http://www.rememberthefallen.co.uk/Casualties/ListByMemorial/Evesham War Memorial 

For the names of those included on Evesham Rowing Club War Memorial see:
http://www.rememberthefallen.co.uk/Casualties/ListByMemorial/Evesham Rowing Club

For the names of those included on Evesham's Boer War Memorial, which is in the form of a stone tablet on the outside of the Town Hall see:
http://www.rememberthefallen.co.uk/Casualties/ListByMemorial/Evesham Boer War Memorial 

Census Records

All the censuses between 1841 and 1901 are now available on a number of fee-paying (Subscription or PayAsYouGo) sites including Ancestry.co.uk, FindMyPast.co.uk, thegenealogist.co.uk and genesreunited.co.uk. The 1911 census is available in full or in part on some of these sites. We are unable to advise on the choice of site since researchers' personal preferences will be influenced by the content and search facilities offered by each site. Some sites offer a free trial.

Access to the library edition of Ancestry.co.uk is widely available at most record offices, including Worcestershire Archives, and some libraries. You are advised to book time on their computers before making a visit.

A free-to-view site is being developed at freecen.org.uk for the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1891 censuses. Coverage of Worcestershire parishes is rather sparse at this time.

Census returns can usually be viewed at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' Family History Centres.

Some repositories offer census details on microform, disc or printed copy. These include:

1841- 1901 at Worcestershire Archives [14]

1901 Evesham Workhouse

At the Society of Genealogists:-

Gloucestershire1851 Census index & transcription, vol. 24 : HO 107/2044; HO 107/2074; HO 107/2076 (parts) - North East Gloucestershire [parishes in cross county districts - Evesham, Stratford on Avon & Shipston on Stour registration districts]: Index to the 1851 Census for Gloucestershire [Microfiche.] - Published Gloucestershire FHS 1999

Worcestershire 1851 census index HO 107/2044 : Evesham registration district [Microfiche.] - Published , 1997 - Author: Friend, A F (trans.)

Worcestershire 1851 census returns : Evesham registration district HO 107/2044 [Microfilm.] - Published London : Public Record Office, 1996 Worcestershire 1861 census returns : Evesham registration district RG 9/2100-2103 [Microfilm.] - Published London : Public Record Office, 1996

Worcestershire 1891 census returns: Evesham registration district RG 12/2335-2337 [Microfilm.] - Published London Public Record Office 2003

Schools Records

The following school records are original documents. Note reference number and contact staff at Worcestershire Archives:
Evesham British School
Attendance registers - 1887-95 - Ref: BA 5038/7

Evesham Church Schools Association
List of members - 1935 - Ref: BA 2145/5

Evesham District Education Committee
Attendance book - 1904-22 and 1939 - Ref: BA 5038/8(ii)
Attendance book - 1965-74 - Ref: BA 9037/6(iii)
School managers' meetings, attendance books - 1961-68 and 1974-77 - Ref: BA 9037/8(i)
School managers' meetings, attendance register - 1950-61 - Ref: BA 5038/8(iv)

Evesham School (unidentified)
Attendance register - [late 19th cent.] - Ref: BA 5038/7(iii)

Hampton Parochial School
Admission registers - 1902-50 - Ref: BA 11185/1(i)-(iii)

Merstow Green C E School
Admission registers - 1866-1928 - Ref: BA 2890
Attendance registers - 1886-94 - Ref: BA 5038/7(i)
Infants' School admission registers - 1930-69 - Ref: BA 7771
Log books - 1863-1949 - Ref: BA 2890
Summary register - 1937-47 - Ref: BA 2890

Swan Lane First School
Log book - 1971-88 - Ref: BA 11891/(i)

Swan Lane, C P School
Boys' Dept. log books - 1863-1932 - Ref: BA 1068
Girls' Dept. log book - 1863-1911 - Ref: BA 1066
Infants' Dept. log book - 1883-1913 - Ref: BA 1079

A handlist of other records of schools and of other educational establishments held by Worcestershire Archives for this parish can be found here.

Other Sources

Evesham Union - Register of deaths 1869-1914 and Register of Children in Evesham Union Children's Home 1910-14 - Book - BMSGH Shop

Evesham school before the reformation : Vale of Evesham Historical Society research papers vol. 6, 1977 IN: Vale of Evesham Historical Society research papers vol. 6, 1977 Published Evesham : Vale of Evesham Historical Society, 1977 Author Orme, N I Society of Genealogists

Poll book for the borough of Evesham, 1780 [Manuscript.] Published , Nd. Society of Genealogists

Directories

An extract from the Topographical Dictionary of England 1831 by Samuel Lewis:

EVESHAM, a borough and market town, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the lower division of the hundred of Blackenhurst, county of WORCESTER, 15 miles (S. E.) from Worcester, 13 (N. E.) from Tewkesbury, and 96 (N. W. by W.) from London, containing, exclusively of the parish of Bengworth, 2634 inhabitants. This place has at different times been called Homme, Chronuchomme, Hatholm, Hethelhomme, and Aethommo, all originating in the Saxon holm, (fn.1) a river island, and sometimes a hill, or rising ground, in either sense applicable to its situation. The appellation Evvesholme, or Evvesham, is said to be derived from Evves (fn. 2), a swineherd in the service of Egwin, third bishop of Huicca, a Saxon province and bishoprick, the greater part of which now forms the diocese of Worcester. Evves is superstitiously said to have had an interview with the Virgin Mary on this spot, and to this circumstance is attributed the erection of an abbey for Benedictine monks, the foundation of which was laid in 702 and the building completed in 709, when the charter, was confirmed: it was consecrated in 712 (fn. 3), and dedicated to the Virgin Mary in 714, by Egwin, who retired hither after he had been unjustly dispossessed of the bishoprick of Worcester by the pope. To this establishment the town owes its origin and subsequent participation in the varied fortunes of the former. The abbot and convent received several grants of land, manorial privileges, and ecclesiastical property, from the Anglo- Saxon kings and nobility, as well as from other benefactors, both before and after the Conquest: its possessions were ample, and its privileges numerous; the abbots sat in parliament as spiritual barons. It shared the fate of similar institutions, having been suppressed on the 17th of November, 1539,(fn. 4) at which time the annual revenue amounted to £1268. 9.10. The buildings and site were then alienated by the King; the former, with the church, were demolished, and the materials sold: an arch, or gateway, on the northern side of the present church-yard, probably leading to the cloisters,(fn. 5) and a few fragments visible in some out-buildings, are the only remains of this edifice, which appears to have been of the decorated style of English architecture, and highly enriched with sculpture. The handsome isolated tower, which is so great an ornament to the town, was erected by Clement Lichfield, the last abbot but one; it is a beautiful specimen of the later English style, strengthened with panelled buttresses, and crowned with open battlements and pinnacles; but it does not appear to have been connected with the monastic buildings. From recent excavations, the old tower appears to have stood at the north side of the west entrance to the great cathedral.(fn. 6) At the general demolition, the present tower was purchased by the inhabitants: it is one hundred and ten feet high, and about twenty-eight feet square at the base; the north side is plain, (fn. 7) the other three sides adorned with tracery. In 1745, a clock with chimes was put up in the tower, by Edward Rudge, Esq. Several abbots and monks have been interred here, among whom was abbot Lichfield, whose tomb was opened in 1817; but so complete has been the destruction of this once magnificent pile, that the exact place of their interment cannot be ascertained. (fn. 8)

The most memorable occurrence in the history of the town is the decisive battle which was fought here, on the 4th of August 1265, between Prince Edward and Simon Montfort, Earl of Leicester, by whom Henry III was detained a prisoner. The combat was characterised by savage ferocity; and of those who fell victims were the earl and his son, about one hundred and sixty knights, and four thousand of their followers. The bodies of the Earl and his son, with those of Henry and Hugh le Despenser, were interred in the abbey church, before the high altar, the king himself assisting solemnly at the earl's funeral. The issue of this contest, by releasing the captive monarch, turned the tide of his fortunes, and led to that success by which he was subsequently reinstated on the throne. This celebrated battle was fought about three quarters of a mile from the town, at a place called The Old Road, (fn. 9) which crosses a small stream subsequently denominated Battle-well.

The town is pleasantly situated on an eminence rising from the bank of the river Avon, by which it is almost encircled, and over which is a stone bridge of seven arches, uniting it with the parish of Bengworth, which is within the borough: it consists of two principal, and some inferior streets, of which the High-street is particularly spacious. From the foundations of houses being discoverable in various parts of the environs, it appears to have been of greater magnitude than it is at present.

The country adjacent is remarkable for its interesting scenery, and has consequently attracted many respectable families to the town and neighbourhood. The vale of Evesham is celebrated for the extreme richness and fertility of its soil, which, by the successful mode of cultivation, produces earlier and more abundant crops than that of any other part of the country: near the town, on both sides of the river, large portions of ground have been converted into gardens, horticulture constituting the chief occupation of the labouring class; asparagus attains an unequalled perfection in this soil, and is extensively cultivated, and vegetables of every kind are, by means of the river Avon, conveyed hence to the principal towns in the surrounding district.

Though favoured by the navigable river Avon, it has never become the seat of any particular branch of trade or manufacture; there are some corn-mills, and a mill for extracting oil from linseed. The market is on Monday: fairs are held on the 2nd of February, the Monday next after Easter, Whit-Monday, and the 21st of September, the last being famous for the show of strong black horses. King Henry VIII, in the thirty-eighth year of his reign, granted and sold to Sir Philip Hobby the three fairs, tolls, customs, &c., together with the market. The inhabitants were incorporated by a charter granted by James I in the third year of his reign, which confirmed their prescriptive privileges, and conferred others.

The government is vested in a mayor, seven aldermen, twelve capital burgesses, a recorder and chamberlain, who, with twenty-four assistants, form the common council. The mayor is chosen on the Tuesday next after St. Bartholomew's day; the mayor, the recorder, and four of the aldermen, are justices of the peace: the mayor is almoner and clerk of the market; he is also entitled to deodands, the goods of felons, and tolls of fairs and markets, with other manorial rights. A court of record, at which the mayor or recorder presides in person, or by deputy, assisted by two of the senior aldermen, is held every Tuesday, for the recovery of debts to the amount of £100, by charter of James I: a court of session is also held on the Friday after the county quarter sessions. The assizes for the county, now holden at Worcester, were formerly held here. The corporation possess the privilege of trying and executing for all capital offences except high treason: the last infliction of this punishment occurred in 1740, when a female was burnt for petty treason. The town hall is a plain building in the market-place, in which the courts are held, and assemblies take place during the season. The borough returned members to parliament in the 23rd of Edward I., but after that king's reign it discontinued till the commencement of that of James I., since which period it has uninterruptedly returned two representatives. The right of election is vested in the burgesses, of whom there are about seven hundred; the mayor is the returning officer. The influence possessed by Lord Northwick enables him to ensure the return of one member.

The borough comprises the parishes of All Saints, St. Lawrence, and Bengworth, formerly in the peculiar jurisdiction of the abbot of Evesham, now in the archdeaconry and diocese of Worcester; the last, lying on the eastern bank of the river, was added to the borough by the charter of James I.

The living of All Saints' is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £10.16.0 ½ , endowed with £200 private benefaction, £400 royal bounty, and £ 600 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Crown. The church was formerly a chapel to the abbey, and is said to have been built about 1350, but probably earlier: it is an elegant structure in the later style of English architecture, with a tower and spire; the porch at the western entrance is of very beautiful construction, embattled, and having pinnacles at the corner: on the south side is a small chapel, built by abbot Clement Lichfield, the roof of which is finely groined, and beautifully adorned with fan tracery.

The living of the parish of St. Lawrence is a perpetual curacy, united to the vicarage of All Saints, endowed with £600 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Crown. The church, which is in ruins, exhibits a rich specimen of the later style of English architecture: attached to it is a chapel of exquisite beauty; the tower and spire are of earlier construction. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Wesleyan Methodists, and Unitarians.

The free grammar school was endowed originally by abbot Lichfield. Henry VIII, after the dissolution of the abbey, refounded this school, restoring only a part of its previous revenue. The charter which James granted to the inhabitants remodelled the institution, when it was called the free school of Prince Henry. The master receives £10 annually from the crown, with a house rent-free, and some minor emoluments. In Bengworth is also a school, founded in 1709, pursuant to the will of John Deacle, Esq., alderman of London, dated three years previously, whereby he bequeathed £2000 for the endowment of a free school for the benefit of thirty poor boys, who are clothed, educated, and apprenticed. The nomination of the boys is vested in the churchwardens and overseers of the parish; and, should there not be a sufficient number of poor boys in Bengworth, in the mayor and capital burgesses of Evesham. John Gardner, of London, gave £4. 6. 8 annually, with the addition of 18s. per annum, arising from some tenements in the town, towards the instruction, in the English language, of twenty-five poor boys belonging to the parishes of All Saints and St. Lawrence. Several benefactions to the poor, and for apprenticing children, are recorded on tablets in the churches of the respective parishes.

In the parish of Bengworth was an ancient castle, which, in 1169, was attacked by the abbot William D'Andeville, who destroyed it, and erected the present church on its site;(fn. 10) it is built on the surface of the soil without sinking for a foundation. Ten years ago, on levelling a bank in the grounds belonging to B. Cooper, Esq., called the Moat-arches, about sixty yards from the church, the foundation of a large room, sixty feet by twenty-five, was discovered, which furnished sufficient stone to build a convenient house. Walter of Evesham, a monkish writer of great celebrity, and John Feckenham, of Feckenham, in this county, received the early part of their education in the abbey here. John Bernardi, of Italian extraction, but born here, was a daring, adventurous soldier; he was committed to Newgate for suspected treason, where he died. Sir Charles Cocks, Bart., on his elevation to the peerage, on the l7th of May, 1784, assumed the title of Lord Somers, Baron of Evesham, which is held by the present Earl Somers.

Footnote
Stanley Brotherton suggests the following amendments to Lewis's Dictionary:

 

  1. The name 'Evesham' does not originate with the Saxon 'holm' but 'homme'. This is a mistake made by William Tindal (1794) which I imagine Lewis is simply repeating.
  2. The legendary swineherd was called 'Eof' not 'Evves'. This is sometimes written as 'Eoves' but this is a mistake (being the genitive singular belonging to the nominative 'Eof').
  3. The consecration of Evesham Abbey is generally dated to 709 not 712.
  4. The abbey was not suppressed on 17th November 1539, but Friday 30th January 1540 (Book of Evesham, p.21, citing the so-called 'Matthew' Bible). The date given by George May (1845) is 17th November (from the Lansdowne MS), but he goes on to note that no deed of resignation has been found.
  5. There is mention of an arch, or gateway, on the northern side of the present church-yard, probably leading to the cloisters, The northern side of the churchyard leads into the Market Square. There is the Cloister Arch, which overlooks Abbey Park (previously known as the Cross Churchyard, reserved for the burial of monks) to the east.
  6. At one point the abbey a "cathedral", but clearly it never held a bishop's throne.
  7. Lewis says that the north side of the Bell Tower is plain, but I'm afraid it's the south side (the one that would have faced the abbey).
  8. The exact place of the interment of Abbot Clement Lichfield, which apparently cannot be ascertained (among other abbot burials), is readily found as it's in All Saints' Church.
  9. I can find no other reference to a road in Evesham called "The Old Road". Lewis might mean the "Old Worcester Road", but probably not, as this is a twentieth-century coinage. This is a curious detail.
  10. No church was built on the remains of Bengeworth Castle (as it is sometimes termed); rather the site was consecrated as a burial ground

Last Updated: 09/09/2013