Vernacular Architecture of the Almonry Museum
with Ian Lloyd-Oswell and Carmel Langridge
Thursday 28 March 2019
In the light of recent events the topic of “The Almonry Building” seemed to cast something of a shadow. So it was to her great credit that Carmel Langridge, Chairman of the Society, produced an excellent talk, with only 24 hours’ notice, from notes provided by the advertised speaker (Ian Lloyd-Oswell) who was indisposed and unable to attend.
The Almonry was the part of the Evesham Abbey complex responsible for the distribution of bread, ale and eggs to the needy of the town, by the constitution of 1214. The original Almonry had probably been nearer St. Lawrence’s church, but was replaced by the present half-timbered building in the fourteenth century, the lower floor being stone and the upper timber It comprised a large hall and a kitchen with a very large fireplace; an extra kitchen was built to the west (where the road is now) but this fell down in 1788. In the fifteenth century a true stone wing was built and this later formed one building. About 1500 another wing was added with fine fan vaulting.
Over the centuries many alterations were made, which did not necessarily enhance the looks of the building, the inadequate 1980s replacement chimney for the fireplace at the end of the Civic, Room being an example. However not all has been badly done, The late Raymond Shaw replaced much of the timber in recent times to a very high standard of craftsmanship.
Fortunately much of the original building remains: the fine Tudor windows in the passageway, beautifully carved bargeboards on the jettied North wing and the 15th century boss in the centre of the cross-beams, all of which can still be admired.
At present the building contains a museum but has had many uses. In the 17th century it was used as a hostelry. Then in 1855 it was divided into separate dwellings, later used for a variety or purposes including private businesses, a solicitor’s offices, a tea-room, WVS offices, before finally being purchased by the Town Council in 1929.
The future of the Almonry is open to speculation.