"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Villages and Churches Along the Worcestershire Blossom Trail - Part 2 Evesham and Bretforton

After leaving Fladbury (see Part 1) we stopped off very briefly in Evesham. When

we spotted this shop it was time to stock up on pasties for tea.

Spotted this interesting looking building as we drove out - will certainly go back to Evesham one day for a proper look round.


The final village we visited was the timeless 17th century village of Bretforton. It has been used in the making of several films and tv shows, for example Martin Chuzzlewit, Robbie Coltrane's B road Britain, The One Show and the BBC period drama Land Girls.

Corner Cottage

Cottages near the church and the Fleece Inn

St Leonard's Church is a Grade 1 Listed building and dates from the late 13th century with Medieval and later additions. The Chancel was consecrated in 1295.

Thatch Fox and Boxing Hares



I managed a very quick tour of the church and churchyard. I couldn't find a general guide to the history of the church but they did have an interesting booklet on the church's stained glass windows.

This beautiful modern stained glass window was designed and made by Keith Brettle in 2010. The left panel shows The Church of St Leonard, Bretforton Silver Band and Bretforton First School and the panel on the right shows The Fleece Inn, The Royal British Legion and "Asparagus Officinalis" Gras.

This window depicts scenes to illustrate Psalm 1.

This rounded trefoil window dates from ~1896 and shows Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus travelling to Egypt to escape persecution.

This window dates back to ~1901 and shows Christ being baptised by John the Baptist.

The East window was made by Frederick Preedy (1820-1898) who was a well known church architect and designer of stained glass. He was born in the nearby parish of Offenham and worked first in Worcester then London. This is a copy of the original window which was removed in 1855.

The panel on the left of this window shows St Leonard to whom the church was rededicated in 1295 and the panel on the right shows the Virgin Mary.

This late 19th century window shows the Last Supper.

A few other photos from around the church

The base and bowl of the font may be 12th century.

I initially missed the medieval glass in the church and only found out about it when reading the booklet while having a late lunch in the pub so sent D in with the Camera Bridge to use the zoom lens to get a couple of photos.

Medieval glass in a quatre-foil head showing a flower pattern and a face.


Medieval glass sowing the head of a winged angel

The churchyard was full of old tombs and gravestones.

An interesting face carved on this one.

I am intrigued as to the purpose of the metal arches in front of these graves. Does anyone have any idea please what they might be for?

This gravestone has interesting carvings - I can make out what looks like a church on the left with a winged figure to the right and a figure with what looks like rays of the sun surrounding its head rising from an open tomb or urn? together with what may be foliage. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the whole gravestone so have no idea whether the inscription on it gave any clues to the purpose of the carvings.

An old and broken tomb

18th century gravestones to the Timbrill family

Garlic mustard flowering near a yew tree.

Tombstone for Thomas Ashu with his profession (Apothecary) mentioned.

This simple gravestone just has the initials TM and the date 1727 and what looks to me like the carving of a butterfly.

Opposite the church was the ancient Fleece Inn now owned by the National Trust and home to the famous Asparagus Auctions.

The building was built around 1425, in Chaucer's time, originally as a long house by a farmer called Byrd. The same family owned the property for hundreds of years. In 1848 it first opened as an Ale House. The last private owner of the pub was a Miss Lola Taplin, who was a direct descendant of the Farmer Byrd who built the house. She
passed away in 1977 and left the inn to the National Trust. A fire in February 2004 severely damaged the building when a chimney fire led to the thatched roof catching fire. Most of the antiques were rescued and the pub has since been carefully restored.



Time for a pint and a late lunch - vegetarian and non-veggie versions shown!

The Pewter Room is the oldest part of the pub and contains a pewter collection which has been on display for the last 300 years. Witch circles were originally put in this room to prevent witches coming into the room via the chimneys.

Sorry for so many photos and such a long post! A final photo from the pub of a lichen covered stone toadstool.

I would definitely like to go back to Bretforton as there was so much more of the village, with cotswold type stone buildings, to explore but we had run out of time for this visit.

*D photos taken by D with the Canon Bridge SX50 HS


Booklet entitled "The Stained Glass of St Leonard, Bretforton"


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Oh gosh, I love the thatched animals

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon. Glad you like them :)

amanda peters said...

Another great place to visit, I like the wood carvings and the old door.
The face carved in the stone reminds me of the stone I have that my son found on a walk one day (will find the photo)
Not sure what the arches are, unless they bring them out to cover them for a festival?
Many lovely buildings in the village and the pub lunch looks good..
Hope you get chance to go back as it's a lovely place.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda :) Wish I could have found a guide in the church with more general information - so much history there :
Love your stone face by the way - does make you wonder when such items were carved and who by!
That is a good suggestion re: the arches. If I ever go back will try and find out more!
Thanks again.

Rosie said...

I've been in that building in Evesham, we stopped there on our way back from holiday once. I think it is called the Almonry and it is a museum full of interesting things about the Battle of Evesham plus loads of other local stuff. The Fleece Inn looks wonderful as does the church, I love the mediaeval glass and the carvings. I've no idea what the arches are for I can imagine them wound around with flowers perhaps in the summer?:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie Thanks so much and for information re: The Almonry - sounds well worth a visit. Not having been to Evesham for years I had forgotten the best areas to visit! Great suggestion re: the arches. There was a lady in a little antique shop that seemed to know a lot about the church so will ask her if we return.

CherryPie said...

This looks like a fascinating place to visit. I love the architecture.

Bovey Belle said...

Gosh, never apologise for too many photos - they really show the village in all its glory and like you, I am always interested by old gravestones (though old buildings are even better). I think the figure coming from the tomb with rays around its head may have something to do with the Resurrection - or perhaps someone had delusions of grandeur and paid for that to be done in their (saintly!) memory. Fascinating. LOVED the pub too - never seen one with a pewter collection. Thank you for sharing.

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you - yes, the village is well worth a visit. Lots more interesting buildings in the part of the village we only drove through!

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much - very kind of you :) Great idea about the figure and tomb representing the Resurrection - I think you may be right! I got excited at first thinking it was a Masonic symbol but comparing with those in the Yorke Gravestones and Memorials book I don't think so now. Well worth a visit if you are ever in the area or move closer to it :)

Coquetnaturelover said...

Very interesting blog. The stained glass photos are amazing and I especially like the photo of the quatre-foil head showing a flower pattern and face. Great photography :)

Ragged Robin said...

Coquetnaturelover - Thanks so much :) I was so pleased I realised the medieval stained glass was there before we left! The church was very interesting and full of history as was the pub :)

Caroline Gill said...

Wow - what a post, almost a book in itself! Psalm 1 is one of my favourite Psalms: what an unusual window. I presume the man rising on the tomb is a depiction of resurrection hope as described e.g. in I Thessalonians ch.4 'For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first...' Forgive me if this is not what you meant! I'm guessing the 'halo' indicates that he was one of the 'dead in Christ'. When I enlarged the image, I wondered if I saw an archangel's face as well as figure just below the rondel's edge, above the raised hand. I wonder if there were any Orange Tip eggs on the Garlic Mustard! It must have been a fascinating day out - and the meals look mouth-watering. P.S. I see Bovey Belle has got there before me, but perhaps this strengthens are thinking!

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thank you much for such an interesting comment. You have answered so many of the questions I had about the gravestone. I wish I knew the bible better! Yes I think I can see an archangel's face. Such a shame I didn't take a photo of the whole gravestone with details of who was buried there!

Forgot to look for Orange Tip eggs:( So glad we detoured to Bretforton as we hadn't planned to go - such an interesting and picturesque village :)