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EVESHAM ABBEY TRUST
with Carmel Langridge

Carmel gave a fascinating talk after the Society AGM, about the work that went on to transform the allotments next to Abbey Park into the lovely garden that is beginning to bloom today.

The project had been conceived and brought to completion at an astonishing speed. Discussions began in 2014, and it was in 2017 that the Evesham Abbey Trust formally accepted the site from the Rudge family as a gift to the town. 

There were three phases to the work:

          * to restore and repair the Grade II listed walls;

          * an archaeological investigation of the site;

          * the establishment of community gardens.

Carmel’s ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs indicated the scale of the task faced by the volunteers.

 

Clearing the ivy from the walls was in itself a massive task (most of the walls are mid-17th century or later); and 40 tons of rubbish had to be removed from the site.

Archaeologists dug three exploratory trenches to locate walls and gateways. However only a little was found: fragments of architectural stone (parts of mullions, arcading etc) and tile fragments. The most visually interesting to the layman were the fragments of medieval tile, one of which had a representation of a fish, possibly a pike - similar to one found very shortly later during excavations at Exeter Cathedral.

When archaeological work was completed, work began on restoring and conserving the north wall, and developing the area.  Several gardens are being developed at the site – the nave garden, the cloister garden, the stone and wild flower gardens. The stone garden includes fragments found during the excavations, as well as material donated by townspeople.

A significant feature of the project was the involvement of the community (40 schools in the area were involved) although the majority of the work - its inception, the financing, the hard physical labour of clearing the site and planting the gardens - was carried out by a very small but dedicated team.

Pay a visit to the site, and marvel at the scale of their achievement and the lovely asset which they have produced for Evesham.

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