I wrote recently about the 750th anniversary of Simon de Montfort’s great Parliament at Westminster, and to mark that event, I went along to the Worcestershire town of Evesham where de Montfort, the former ruler of England, is buried at Evesham Abbey.
Evesham Abbey was founded by St Egwin around 700AD, with the legend being that the location was where a local swineherd called Eof had seen a vision of the Virgin Mary. As well as Simon de Montfort, the abbey is the final resting place of various early Saxon saints, including St Egwin, St Credan, St Wigstan of Mercia, and St Odulf. The Battle of Evesham, in August 1265, saw the death of not just Simon de Montfort, but also of Henry de Montfort – son of Simon – and Hugh le Despencer, and all three of which are buried at the abbey, with Simon de Montfort being buried under the altar.
The abbey was destroyed at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, with the sixteenth century bell tower being the one remaining part of the old abbey. All Saints Church and St Lawrence’s Church occupy the space beside the bell tower, with a park that leads to the river containing a memorial erected in 1965 to mark the grave of Simon de Montfort.
The site looks unusual, with the old graveyard shared by the two churches, and the bell tower leading to the grave of de Montfort. If you find yourself in Evesham, it is worth a visit, being easy to find in the centre of the town, and with not just a remarkable history, but also marking the graves of such interesting figures.