Friday, 26 September 2014

Pershore Abbey.


Text and Illustrations from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.



in the Winter Sun.
Date: 27 January 2007 (original Upload Date).
Source: Transferred from en.wikipedia;
transferred to Commons by User:Kurpfalzbilder.de using CommonsHelper.
Author: Original uploader was Greenshed at en.wikipedia
(Wikimedia Commons)


Pershore Abbey, at PershoreWorcestershire, England, was an Anglo-Saxon Abbey and is now an Anglican Parish Church.

The Foundation of the Minster, at Pershore, is alluded to in a spurious Charter of King Æthelred of Mercia (reigned 675 A.D. - 704 A.D.). It purports to be the Charter by which Æthelred granted 300 Hides of land, at Gloucester, to Osric, King of the Hwicce, and another 300 Hides of land, at Pershore, to Osric's brother, Oswald.

It is preserved, only as a Copy, in a 14th-Century Register of Gloucester, where it is followed by two Charters, listing the endowments made to the Abbey, until the Reign of Burgred, King of Mercia (852 A.D. - 874 A.D.). The 300 Hides, mentioned here, are unlikely to be a contemporary detail, as they were intended to represent the Triple Hundred, which later made up the area of Worcestershire. Historian H. P. R. Finberg suggests that the Foundation Charter may have been drafted in the 9th-Century, based on some authentic material.



Interior of Pershore Abbey.


Oswald's Foundation of a Monastery at Pershore is not stated explicitly in the Charter, but the Worcester Chronicle, Cronica de Anglia, written circa 1150, reports it under the Annal for 683 A.D., and John Leland, consulting the now-lost Annals of Pershore, places the event around 689. Patrick Sims-Williams suggests that the Foundation, by Oswald, may also represent an oral tradition at Pershore, as its Archives were probably destroyed in the fires of 1002 and, again, 1223.



Part of Pershore Abbey was demolished,
after the Reformation, when it was surrendered
to the King's Commissioners, in 1540.
Only the Tower, Choir and South Transept remain.
Photo: 23 November 2008.
Source: From geograph.org.uk.
Author: Philip Halling.
(Wikimedia Commons)


In the 9th-Century, Pershore comes to light, again, as a Minster under the Patronage of Mercian Kings. In other Charters, contained in the Gloucester Register, Coenwulf (reigned 796 A.D. - 821 A.D.) and Burgred are recorded as having been Patrons of Pershore. A Charter of King Edgar refers back to a Grant of Privileges by Coenwulf at the request of his Ealdorman (dux) Beornnoth.

In the Reign of King Edgar (959 A.D. - 975 A.D.), Pershore re-appears as one of the Abbeys to be re-established (or restored) under the programme of Benedictine reform. Writing circa 1000 A.D., the Ramsey Monk, Byrhtferth, relates that, under the auspices of Oswald, Bishop of Worcester, seven Monasteries were founded in his Diocese, notably including Pershore.



The Nave,
looking towards the High Altar,
Photo: Peter Moore.
Date: 16 March 2006 (original Upload Date).
Source: Transferred from en.wikipedia;
transferred to Commons by User:Kurpfalzbilder.de
Author: Original uploader was Amatire at en.wikipedia
(Wikimedia Commons)


The first Abbot was Foldbriht, whose name is sufficiently rare to suggest that he may be the same Foldbriht whom Bishop Æthelwold previously installed at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and used to be a Monk of Glastonbury Abbey, before that time.

The Re-Foundation is what lies behind an exceptionally elaborate Charter for Pershore, dated 972 A.D., in which King Edgar is presented as granting new lands and Privileges, as well as confirming old ones, such as the one granted by Coenwulf. The authenticity of this document, however, has been questioned. Simon Keynes, in 1980, showed that it belongs to the so-called Orthodoxorum group of Charters, so named after the initial word of their proem (Editor: A Preface, or preamble, to a book], which he concluded were forgeries based on a Charter of Æthelred II's Reign.



Pershore Abbey.
Photo: 11 September 2007.
Source: Pershore Abbey.
Uploaded by Kurpfalzbilder.de
Author: David Merrett from
Daventry, England.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Since then, Susan Kelly and John Hudson have vindicated the status of some of these Charters, including the one for Pershore, which is written in "square minuscule" characteristic of some of Edgar's Charters. More recently, Peter Stokes has brought to light a variant Copy of the Charter and suggests that two different versions may have been produced around the same time, somewhere between 972 A.D., and 1066. A possible scenario is that they were produced to make up for the loss of the original Charter(s), perhaps shortly after the fire which is reported to have destroyed the Abbey in circa 1002.



The Norman Baptismal Font,
Pershore Abbey.
Photo: 21 July 2013.
Source: Own work.
Author: Martinevans123.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The 12th-Century historian, William of Malmesbury, who seems unaware of any pre-existing Minster, claims that Æthelweard (Egelwardus), whom he describes as "Ealdorman of Dorset", had founded the Abbey of Pershore in the time of King Edgar. Similarly, Osbert's "Life of Eadburh of Winchester" alleges that Alwardus, who is styled Comes (Latin: Companion) and Consul, was responsible for the Re-Foundation. Both authors also attribute to him a rôle in the Translation of some of the Saint's Relics to Pershore. Osbert writes that an Abbess of Nunnaminster had sold some Relics to Æthelweard (Alwardus), who, in turn, handed them over for the Re-Foundation of Pershore. Some Scholars have identified him with Æthelweard, the well-known Chronicler and Ealdorman of the Western Shires.

Whatever high-level Patronage the Foundation may have received, it was not enough to sustain its fortunes for very long. Precisely what happened to Pershore, in the Late-10th-Century, is poorly documented, but some sources seem to hint that it went into decline during the Succession Crisis which emerged in the wake of King Edgar's death.

William of Malmesbury says that "it, too, like the others, decayed to a pitiful extent, and was reduced by more than a half". According to Leland, the Annals of Pershore hold an Earl, called Delfer, responsible for depriving the Abbey of several of its lands. This Delfer has been interpreted as a misreading for Ælfhere (+ 983 A.D.), Ealdorman of Mercia (whom Leland mentions elsewhere).



Pershore Abbey,
from the West.
Date: 27 January 2007 (original Upload Date).
Source: Transferred from en.wikipedia;
Transferred to Commons by User:Kurpfalzbilder.de
Author: Original uploader was Greenshed at en.wikipedia.
(Wikimedia Commons)


While himself a Patron of Ely and Abingdon, Ælfhere was also charged with despoiling Reformed Monasteries during Edward the Martyr's brief Reign (975 A.D. - 978 A.D.). The targets included Houses Re-Founded by Bishop Oswald or Bishop Æthelwold and considerably enriched under the Patronage of Æthelstan Half-King's sons, notably Æthelwine, Ealdorman of East Anglia.

Evesham Abbey, for instance, as later reported by its own Chronicle, also claimed to have lost several of its lands in this way, and Winchcombe was disbanded altogether. Æthelwine, in his turn, was remembered at Ely as a despoiler of its lands. Tensions between Ælfhere and Bishop Oswald, whose authorities overlapped, and between Ælfhere and Æthelwine, with whom Oswald maintained a close relationship, are therefore likely to have been the principal cause of the upheaval. Whether a Liberty, similar to that of Oswaldslow, was an extra cause for concern, compromising Ælfhere's authority as Ealdorman, cannot be ascertained from the sources.

Pershore suffered worse misfortune when, according to Leland, it was destroyed by fire and subsequently deserted by the Monks, probably in the year 1002. The Monastic Archives were largely lost in the event, as no original Record, from before that date, survives, today.



Pershore Abbey: North Aisle,
Stained-Glass Window,
by Mayer and Company, 1898.
Photo: 21 July 2013.
Source: Own work.
Author: Martinevans123.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Pershore, however, found a generous Patron in the wealthy nobleman Odda of Deerhurst (+ 1056), who restored many of its lands and granted new ones. It has been suggested that he was a kinsman of the Ealdorman, Æthelweard. The earliest extant Record from the Archive of Pershore, a Charter of 1014 by which King Æthelred granted Mathon (Herefordshire) to Ealdorman Leofwine, may testify to Odda's restorations of lands to the House. The Monastery was active again by the 1020s, as its Abbot, Brihtheah, was promoted Bishop of Worcester, in 1033. Odda's brother, Ælfric, was buried at Pershore in 1053, joined three years later by Odda.

In Odda's life-time, the total landed assets of Pershore grew to 300 Hides, but, after the loss of its benefactor in 1056, about two-thirds were seized and given to Edward the Confessor's new Foundation at Westminster. The original single sheet, which preserves the fullest version of King Edgar's Re-Foundation Charter (though it need not be authentic), is marked by a number of textual alterations and erasures. Some of these changes may suggest a response to the Abbey's proprietary struggles.

From the Early-12th-Century, there is evidence that Pershore Abbey claimed possession of some of the Relics of Saint Eadburh of Winchester, the Sainted daughter of King Edward the Elder. Her body was initially buried at Nunnaminster (Winchester), but it was Translated, in the 960s A.D., to a more central spot in Winchester, and, again, to a Shrine in the 970s A.D. Among several possibilities, Susan Ridyard has suggested that the Eadburh, whose Relics were preserved at Pershore, may have been a Mercian Saint of that name, whose identity had become obscure.



Sculpture in the grounds of Pershore Abbey.
The Sculpture was made by
nothing more than a Chain Saw.
Photo: 4 July 2007.
Source: From geograph.org.uk.
Author: andy dolman.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The main building was begun in about 1100. In the 14th-Century, it benefited from the generosity of Adam de Harvington, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1327-1330, who was probably related to the Abbot, William of Harvington. The Abbey was Dissolved in 1539. A Monk of Pershore, named Richard Beerely, was one of those who gave evidence to Thomas Cromwell about the misbehaviour of some of his Brothers, writing that "Monckes drynk an bowll after collacyon tell ten or xii of the clock, and cum to mattens as dronck as myss, and sume at cardes, sume at dyss." (Monks drink a bowl after breakfast until ten o'clock and come to Matins as drunk as mice, some (playing) at cards, some at dice.)

The Abbey Church remained in use as a Parish Church. When the North Transept collapsed, in 1686, a wall was built in its place. Further alterations were carried out, including a Restoration, by George Gilbert Scott, in 1862-1864. His work included the removal of the Belfry floor, and the opening up of the Lantern Tower, to expose the beautiful Internal Tracery Panelling. Scott described the Lantern Tower as the finest in the Country, after that of Lincoln Cathedral. The Tower Pinnacles were added in 1871.

In 1913, two Western Flying Buttresses were added, to replace the support from the missing portion of the building. The Church, as it now stands, represents only a small portion of the original building.



The South Transept, Pershore Abbey.
Norman (Romanesque) Arches
on the South Wall of the South Transept.
Photo: 23 November 2008.
Source: From geograph.org.uk.
Author: Philip Halling.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Major repairs were undertaken in 1994, to stabilise the South Transept with a Ring Beam and to strengthen its roof, and to Re-Point the Tower and Pinnacles. An underfloor heating system was installed.

Pershore Abbey has a 25 cwt Ring of Eight Bells. The Ringing Room, devised as part of Scott's 1862-1864 Restorations, is a metal 'cage', suspended high above The Chancel Crossing; it is accessed by means of two Stone Spiral Staircases, a Walkway through the Roof, a squeeze through a narrow Passage and a see-through Iron Staircase.



Pershore Abbey.
[Editor: Note the Flying Butteresses, installed in 1913]
Photo: 18 August 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mik



Flying Buttresses, Pershore Abbey.
These two large Flying Buttresses were built in 1913, after it was discovered that the Tower was in danger of collapse. The Buttresses are on the West Side of the Tower, on the site of the
former Nave, which was demolished in the 16th-Century.
Photo: 1 May 2007.
Source: From geograph.org.uk.
Author: Philip Halling.
(Wikimedia Commons)


In about 1840, the Abbey was given a new Font, and the original Norman Font was cast out into the Churchyard. It was later used as a cattle trough, and later used in a garden at nearby Kempsey. In 1912, a War Memorial was erected on the site of the Victorian Font and the old Font was returned, on a Pedestal, designed by Harold Brakspear. The Font is decorated with an interlacing Arcade, in the Panels of which are the figures of Christ and His Apostles.

A Three-Manual Organ, built by Nicholson of Malvern, in 1872, was removed several years ago and replaced with a Bradford Electronic Organ. There are currently no plans to re-install a Pipe Organ at Pershore Abbey. The Nicholson Organ was restored twice by J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd, in 1940, and 1971.


St Andrew Daily Missal (Traditional Mass)

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