Egwin of Evesham
|Egwin of Evesham, O.S.B.|
St. Mary's Bell Tower, Evesham
|Monk, bishop and founder|
|Died||30 December 717
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church (Order of St. Benedict and England)|
|Major shrine||Evesham Abbey|
|Attributes||bishop holding a fish and a key|
|Catholic cult suppressed||1540|
Egwin was born in Worcester of a noble family, and was a descendant of Mercian kings. He may possibly have been a nephew of King Æthelred of Mercia. Having already become a monk, his biographers say that king, clergy, and commoners all united in demanding Egwin's elevation to bishop; but the popularity which led him to the episcopal office dissipated in response to his performance as bishop. He was consecrated bishop in 693.
As a bishop he was known as a protector of orphans and the widowed and a fair judge. He struggled with the local population over the acceptance of Christian morality; especially Christian marriage and clerical celibacy. Egwin's stern discipline created a resentment which, as King Æthelred of Mercia was his friend, eventually found its way to his ecclesiastical superiors. He undertook a pilgrimage to Rome to seek vindication from the pope himself. According to a legend, he prepared for his journey by locking shackles on his feet, and throwing the key into the River Avon.
According to one account, as Egwin and his companions were passing through the Alps, they began to thirst. Those among his companions who did not acknowledge the bishop's sanctity asked him mockingly to pray for water as Moses once did in the desert. But others, who did believe in him, rebuked the unbelievers and asked him in a different tone, with true faith and hope. Egwin prostrated himself in prayer. On arising, they saw a pure stream of water gush forth out of the rock.
While he prayed before the tomb of the Apostles in Rome, one of his servants brought him this very key — found in the mouth of a fish that had just been caught in the Tiber. Egwin then released himself from his self-imposed bonds and straightway obtained from the pope an authoritative release from his enemies' obloquy.
Upon his return to England, he founded Evesham Abbey, which became one of the great Benedictine houses of medieval England. It was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who had reportedly made known to a swineherd named Eof just where a church should be built in her honor.
One of the last important acts of his episcopate was his participation in the first great Council of Clovesho. According to the Benedictine historian, Jean Mabillon, he died on 30 December 720, though his death is generally accepted as having occurred three years earlier on 30 December 717. He died at the abbey he had founded, and his remains were enshrined there.
A Vita Sancti Egwini was written by Dominic of Evesham, a medieval prior of Evesham Abbey around 1130. His tomb was destroyed, along with the abbey church, at the time of the dissolution of the abbey in 1540.
Our Lady of Evesham 
The site of the abbey altar is said to mark the spot at which Our Lady appeared to St. Egwin, Bishop of Worcester and first Abbot of Evesham, and to a herdsman named Eoves. The evidence for these apparitions was accepted by Pope Constantine in 709, when St. Egwin went to Rome to report the details. For more than 800 years afterwards, Evesham was one of the greatest shrines of Christendom. 
- Patron Saints Index entry for St Egwin of Worcester accessed on 3 November 2007
- Macpherson, Ewan. "St. Egwin." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 17 May 2013
- Powicke Handbook of British Chronology p. 260
- Moss, Vladimir. "Saint Egwin of Worcester", Orthodox America
- Foley, O.F.M., Leonard. Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons, and Feast, (revised by Pat McCormack), Franciscan Media, ISBN 978-0-86716-887-7
- Jennings "Writings" English Historical Review p. 298
- "Mass in the afternoon at Evesham", Catholic Herald, 12 March 1954
- Jennings, J. C. (April 1962). "The Writings of Prior Dominic of Evesham". The English Historical Review 77 (303): 298–304. doi:10.1093/ehr/LXXVII.CCCIII.298.
- Powicke, F. Maurice and E. B. Fryde Handbook of British Chronology 2nd. ed. London:Royal Historical Society 1961
- Prosopography of Anglo Saxon England entry for Ecgwine
- The Benedictines of Stanbrook. Saint Egwin and His Abbey of Evesham
- Butler, Alban. The Lives of the Saints, Vol. I, 1866
|Catholic Church titles|
|Bishop of Worcester
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