The Church and Vale of Evesham, 700-1215

November 2015
7 black and white, 7 line illustrations
248 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in the History of Medieval Religion
ISBN: 9781783270774
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, REL016000, REL015000

The Church and Vale of Evesham, 700-1215

Lordship, Landscape and Prayer

David Cox

A comprehensive account of the abbey of Evesham and its surroundings, demonstrating its full significance in the wider history of the time.
"Provides a fine contribution to the rich history of the region, showing Evesham's place in the life of the medieval kingdom of England." Professor Ann Williams.

In c.701, a minster was founded in the lower Avon Valley on a deserted promontory called Evesham. Over the next five hundred years it became a Benedictine abbey and turned the Vale of Evesham into a federation of Christian communities. A landscape of scattered farms grew into one of open fields and villages, manor houses and chapels. Evesham itself developed into a town, and the abbots played a role in the affairs of the kingdom. But individual contemplation and prayer within the abbey were compromised by its corporate aspirations. As Evesham abbey waxed ever grander, exerting a national influence, it became a ready patron of the arts but had less time for private spirituality. The story ends badly in the prolonged scandal of Abbot Norreis, a libertine whose appetites caused religion to collapse at Evesham before his own sudden downfall.
This book integrates the evidence of archaeology, maps, and documents in a continuous narrative that pays as much attention to religious and cultural life as to institutional and economic matters. It provides a complete survey over one of the most important and wealthy Benedictine abbeys and its landscape, a stage on which was enacted the tense interplay of lordship and prayer.

Dr David Cox, FSA, was until his retirement county editor of the Victoria History of Shropshire and lecturer at Keele University.

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Table of Contents

Æthelred and Ecgwine
A land of promise
A waiting people
Ecgwine and the first abbots
Decay and revival
On the defensive
Abbot Ælfweard and King Cnut
Abbot Manni, the town, and the Vale
Abbot Æthelwig
A new regime
God's work
The estates under threat
Protecting the future
Interested parties
Order and governance
Economic realities
Learning and writing
Religious buildings
Collapse and renewal
Select bibliography


This enjoyable study gives us not only an authoritative and most informative history of Evesham Abbey to 1215 but also a valuable overview of the medieval origins of the landscape of the borough of Evesham and the surrounding Vale. EARLY MEDIEVAL EUROPE

Provides students, academics and general readers with an accessible, interesting and scholarly account of Evesham Abbey. HISTORY

A valuable addition to Studies in the History of Medieval Religion published by Boydell Press, Cox skillfully blends chronology with a thematic approach in his book . interesting and scholarly . People interested in medieval or monastic history will appreciate this book. AMERICAN BENEDICTINE REVIEW

An interesting and scholarly book which chronicles the humble beginnings of a monastery which interacted with and influenced the social and economic life of the local area . People interested in medieval or monastic history will appreciate this book. SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL

This is a thorough historical study of one of the most important medieval abbeys in the West Midlands, usefully set against the region's political history. LANDSCAPE HISTORY

Essential reading for all interested in the history of Evesham and of religion in the diocese of Worcester. WORCESTERSHIRE RECORDER

Author Bio

Independent scholar

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