The Almonry Heritage Centre is named after the its location—the 14th century home of the Benedictine Almoner who was responsible for the distribution of alms to poor pilgrims and inhabitants of Evesham. Evesham abbey was in existence for 850 years until Henry VIII dissolved it in 1539.
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There are 12 rooms of exhibits about the history of Evesham. Artefacts in the collection range from fossils and bones to Saxon burial goods to agricultural implements related to the local farming industry.
In the abbey room is a 14th century abbot’s chair (1330-40 dated) and a psalter (illuminated book) of the same period. The chair is thought to have been acquired by Abbot John of Ombersley from the Bishop of Worcester after his death. After the dissolution of the monasteries it was housed in the Almonry until it became the property of the Rudge family in 1664.
Over the centuries it passed through various hands until it was given to the almonry by a Rudge family member. There is also a handwritten eye-witness account of the dissolution of the powerful monastery and a model of the abbey (1540). The English civil war is also represented in the collection.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the area developed a number of manufacturing trades including shoes, gloves, and pianos, and these are well represented in the Heritage Centre. Blacksmith tools and thatching tools are displayed. Also on show are a number of costumes and reconstructions of Victorian life.
Evesham’s old jail is brought to the forefront in the civic room where a bed and door are shown along with police implements and 17th century civic regalia.
Kitchen equipment hasn’t been overlooked with the display of various pots and kitchen implements as well as an old range in the Victorian Kitchen set up to reflect the times.
Further displays tell of the local poaching and game-keeping. Collectors of photography memorabilia will be interested in the camera equipment. Another collection shows telephone instruments and equipment while another is of old keys. A Victorian school room brings back not so pleasant school days. Military collections range from phtographs to firearms and uniforms.
In the gardens are more exhibits ranging from agricultural equipment to an 1854 cannon.
We recommend a minimum of two hours, three is better to take in all the fascinating displays, relax in the garden, and enjoy the abbey a few steps away. Evesham is a pleasant town with many amenities.
Almonry Heritage Centre
Abbey Gate, Evesham
Worcestershire, WR11 4BG
Just off the A4184
Tel. 0 1386 446 944
Open: March-end Oct, 10am-5pm daily, except from 2pm on Sun
Short stay car park just over the bridge and across the road and roundabout opposite the building; next to the short stay is a long stay car park which we recommend.
Web: Almonry Heritage Centre