All Saints' Church, Evesham, Worcestershire

Oddly Evesham has two parish churches … or it did have until one was decommissioned in the 1970s. Even more oddly, they stand only a few feet away from each other. Even more oddly they were built at around the same time by the Benedictine monks of Evesham Abbey so that when the Abbey was still in tact there would have been three churches within a few feet of each other!

The Abbey in Evesham was once one of the most important in the West Midlands. The town, sitting on the banks of the Avon, was a vital staging point in journeys both west and north and so both Abbey and town prospered. The monks at the Abbey had their own church, of course, the layout of which can be traced nearby, but the growing town needed a church of its own.

The monks for some reason completely unrecorded built two. All Saints’ and St. Lawrence’s. Both date to the 12th Century and both are much the same size. They stand so close together they are literally a stone’s throw away.

The Abbey fell foul of the Dissolution and all that remains today is the magnificent bell tower, some bits of wall and some foundations. But the churches – as parish churches – both survived and continued to work happily alongside each other.

All Saints’ Church was heavily restored by the Victorians under Frederick Preedy in the 1870s. By this time the churches were already sharing a vicar and as congregations slowly diminished it became clear that one church would end up being redundant. It was not until December 1977 that the decision was finally made – All Saints’ would continue as the Parish Church whilst St. Lawrence’s would be passed to what is now the Churches Conservation Trust.

The two churches and the Abbey remains are a focal point for the town which is a typical pretty little English market town and one of the least known gems of Worcestershire.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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