History Group March outing – Visit to the Almonry Museum in Evesham

9 members of the History group went to Evesham today for a visit to the Almonry Museum and what a superb visit it was.We had a guided tour full of interesting information. In the early 8th century, the Bishop of Worcester grazed his pigs in the forest in a bend in the river Avon, under the care of Eof. Eof had a vision of Mary one day, and reported this to the Bishop, who also saw the vision, and decided to build an Abbey on the site. News of the visions soon spread and many pilgrims began to arrive. So the town of Evesham began, it’s name deriving from Eof’s Ham. The Abbey was at one time the third largest in England, but sadly only one stone archway survives, following it’s dissolution in 1540.In the 14th century, the almoner was given a house nearby in which to live, and dispense alms to the poor, and this house is now the Almonry Museum. There have been later additions and alterations, but there are a lot of original features remaining. There are 12 rooms on two floors with outstanding collections, including Saxon grave goods, and the 14th century Abbot’s chair.Henry V111’s son Arthur was betrothed to Katharine of Aragon in Evesham Abbey, and there is a wonderful stone over-mantle dating from this period, showing their coats of arms..Our tour and talk ended with the story of Simon de Montford. He was killed in the Battle of Evesham, and buried in unconsecrated ground. Many years later his skeleton was supposedly found, and the Museum has the skull, and are looking into the possibility of verifying it with DNA testing.We finished the afternoon with tea, coffee and cakes in a lovely farm shop and cafe on the way home, and all agreed that the Museum, with it’s friendly and knowledgeable staff and wonderful atmosphere, is well worth a return visit.

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