A chronology of Pershore Abbey

681 - 689

Ethelred of Mercia gave estates to Oswald, Bishop of Worcester, to establish a monastery at Pershore. By 689 a monastic community had been established. At first there was a period of stability under the strong Mercian kings, but the ninth century brought fear and uncertainty in a time of Viking raids and Danish rule.


King Edgar's charter confirmed the estate. The Benedictine Rule was introduced.

976 - 983

An anti-monastic reaction. Two thirds of the Pershore estates were seized by Earl Alfhere of Mercia.


A fire in 1002 resulted in a new church being built in 1020.


Earl Odda, benefactor, died at Deerhurst and was buried at Pershore.


Edward the Confessor gave the alienated lands to endow Westminster Abbey.


The Norman Abbey was built. The south transept and tower piers remain to this day


A fire on St Urban's day destroyed the Norman quire and necessitated a rebuilding under the direction of Abbot Gervase.


The Early English quire and the combined triforium and clerestory completed.


Another fire started in the monastic bakehouse and spread to many houses in the town. It caused the upper part of the Norman tower to fall bringing down the quire vault.


The ploughshare lierne vaulting and the tower rebuilt in the Decorated style. The upper part of the tower was built on to the Norman piers.


The Abbey was surrendered to the King's Commissioners at the time of the Reformation. The monastic buildings, the Norman nave, the Lady Chapel and St Edburgha's Chapel were demolished and their building materials were sold for what they could fetch. To their credit the parishioners of Pershore bought the monks' quire for £400 to be their parish church.


The north buttress was built to support the tower after the north transept fell.


When the east parapet blew down in a gale in 1861, the parish was stirred into action. A restoration committee was formed and Gilbert Scott was consulted. The south east transept was rebuilt and most of the present furniture and stained glass was fitted. The lantern tower was opened up by removing the belfry floor to expose the beautiful internal tracery panelling.


Severe cracks in the west wall of the south transept were revealed when a thick growth of old ivy was removed. two western buttresses were built following concern that the tower was beginning to lean westwards.


A re-ordering of the sanctuary with details by George Pace cleared away the Victorian choir stalls and pulpit and the altar was brought westwards from the apse to its present position.


By 1990 it was clear that cracks in the south wall of the south transept were becoming serious and the iron heating pipes were leaking. An appeal was launched and restoration of the south transept, tower and roofs was carried out.


As a continuation of the restoration process a new stone floor was laid with under-floor heating after archaeological investigation. Arising from all this activity has been a great increase in knowledge about the Abbey, the most important discovery being the finding of the Saxon foundations.