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Evesham ( ) is a rural market town in Worcestershire, England, in the Local Authority District of Wychavonmarker. It is located roughly equidistant between Worcestermarker, Cheltenhammarker and Stratford-upon-Avonmarker, in an area known as the Vale of Eveshammarker, that was once a major English centre of market gardening. The town was originally built within a loop of the River Avon, and is subject to severe flooding. Evesham was the location of one of Europe's largest abbeys, of which only Abbot Lichfield's Bell Tower remains.

Economy

Due to its exceptionally fertile soil market gardening is carried out on a commercial scale and the surrounding area known as the Vale of Eveshammarker) an area which is known for its production of fruit and vegetables. A decline in the second half of the 20th century resulted in the closing of Evesham Garden Market in the 1990s, and many orchards in the town's Greenhill area fell into disuse.

Between 1983 and 2008, Evesham was home to computer manufacturer Evesham Technology, formerly called Evesham Micros. The company employed up to 300 people before it went into liquidation in 2008. The old employees of Evesham have now set up Tewktech which is based in Tewkesbury which maintains all Evesham products and does their own computer range

History

Evesham was the site of a major battle—the Battle of Eveshammarker, in which Simon de Montfort was defeated and killed on 4 August 1265.Evesham Abbeymarker was founded by Saint Egwin, third Bishop of Worcester, following the vision of the Virgin Mary by a local swineherd or shepherd named Eof (sometimes Eoves). Eof legendarily went straight to Egwin, who journeyed to the site and shared the vision. He was moved to establish a Benedictine abbey on the site.

While Egwin was beatified and later canonised (a local Church of England middle school is named after him), Eof arguably had the greater historical resonance and posterity. The name of Evesham is derived from "Eof's ham" ("ham" in English placenames meaning "homestead"). Evesham Abbey funded smaller abbeys and churches in Belgium, the Netherlands and France. A large source of income came from pilgrims to the abbey to celebrate both the vision and the tomb of de Montfort.

As a result of historical development of the town, the main part of Evesham lies within the loop of the river and Bengeworthmarker to the east on the other side of the river. Bengeworth at one stage had a castle vying for control with the abbey across on the other side. Unfortunately for Bengeworth, the knights went on a drunken spree and damaged a grave or two in the abbey graveyard, giving the monks an excuse to attack and level the castle. To prevent its rebuilding the site was sanctified as a graveyard. This historic imbalance is still visible in the distribution of shops and roads.

Also to the southern side of the town is the parish of Greater and Little Hamptonmarker, an independent village of the town until approximate 80 years ago. To celebrate the linking of the village to the town and improve access, Abbey Bridge, or "New Bridge" as it was often known was built. The bridge was also the first completely structural concrete bridge to be built in the UK. Due partly to redevelopment of Hampton and the redrawing of the electoral boundaries, Hampton has come into a resurgence in recent years.

Abbey Almonry

Abbey

Evesham Abbey was founded by Saint Egwin at Evesham in England around 701 A.D. It was one of the largest in Europe, but only Abbot Lichfieldmarker's Bell Tower remains. The presence of the abbey, its residents and the pilgrims coming to the site led to a growth in the town within the loop of the river. A model of the town in the Middle Ages is sited in the Almonry Museum in the town centre. Henry VIII's Dissolution of the monasteries saw the Abbey dismantled and sold as building stone, leaving little but Evesham's landmark Lichfieldmarker Bell Tower.

Geography

Evesham has always been susceptible to heavy flooding and floods in the region are well documented since the 13th century In May 1924 floods at 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 in just a few hours, sinking tethered narrowboats, flooding areas of Bengeworthmarker, and threatening the 19th century Workman Bridge as static homes from a riverside caravan site broke up and became wedged in the bridge's arches. In July 2007,the rainfall had been the heaviest for 200 years, reaching more than 320% the average in some areas. In the Severn catchment, it caused the some of the heaviest floods recorded, and in Evesham the flooding was the worst in its recorded history.

Travel

Evesham is at the junction of the A46 and A44 trunk roads - the four-mile A46 £7 million single-carriageway bypass to the east of the town opened in July 1987 as the A435. The town is on the once planned line of the Strenshammarker to Solihullmarker motorway, linking the M50marker to the M42. However, in 1974 the scheme was dropped in favour of widening the M5 through Worcestershire.

Evesham Railway Stationmarker is about two hours from London Paddingtonmarker on the Cotswold Line.

The River Avon is a navigable waterway linking the River Severn at Tewkesburymarker to the Stratford-upon-Avon Canalmarker at Stratford-upon-Avonmarker. The ancient Hampton Ferrymarker links the town to the nearby district of Hamptonmarker.

Education

Evesham's schools conform to the three-tier education model of first school (ages 5–10), middle school (ages 10–13), high school (ages 13–18) adopted by Wychavon District Councilmarker 1974 and completed by 1977.

Primary schools

First schools include state non-denominational schools. as well as Church of England and Roman Catholic schools.
  • Badsey First School
  • Bengeworth C of E First School
  • Bretforton First School
  • Honeybourne First Schoolmarker
  • Swan Lane First School
  • St Andrews First School (Hampton)
  • St Marys Catholic School
  • St Richards C Of E First School


Middle schools

  • Blackminster Middle School
  • Simon de Montfort Middle School
  • St Egwin's C. of E. Middle School
  • Bredon Hill Middle School


High schools



Further education

Evesham and Malvern Hills Collegemarker. The college caters mainly for students studying at the NVQ and BTEC level or undertaking practical vocational courses and courses in sewing. The college was formed by the merger of Evesham Collegemarker and Malvern Hills College in September 2000.

Culture

Although both of Evesham's cinemas have now closed, the town does have a modern purpose built theatre in Evesham Arts Centremarker.

Evesham is twinned with Dreuxmarker in France, Melsungenmarker in Germany and Evesham Townshipmarker in New Jerseymarker, USA.

Language

The distinctive local dialect, now declining in use but strong still in older generations of the town's inhabitants, has 'Asum' as a contraction of the town's name. Asum was also the name given to an ale produced by a micro-brewery based at the historic Green Dragon public house built in Tudor architecture) in 1510. Further features of local language give rise to variations in the pronunciation of the town's name. 'Eve-shum' is the more common phonetic pronunciation, but the pronunciation 'Eve-er-shum' is not uncommon. Younger generations of the town's inhabitants give a pseudo-affectionate name, The Sham, to the town.

Sport and leisure

The town is home to Evesham United F.C. which plays in the Southern Football League Premier Division.

Because of its situation on the river the town is home to various watersports activities:

The town also has a Petanque team (Evesham Petanque Club).

Notable people



References

  1. GA_BewdleyFloodHistory.doc: Historic Flooding in the Severn Catchment (All Floods from 1258 to 2007) Retrieved 1 August 2009
  2. http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/library/publications/40587.aspx Gov[ernment Environment Agency] Retrieved 1 August 2009
  3. http://pathetic.org.uk/unbuilt/strensham_solihull_motorway/
  4. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1974/feb/06/roads-strensham-solihull
  5. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0569607/
  6. The Independent 30 September 2007 Retrieved 2009-07-29
  7. Daily Record 18 February 2008 Retrieved 2009-07-29


External links




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