Almost within sight of this churchyard, and not many minutes’ walk from it is the church of Cow Honeybourne which, with the exception of the tower, has been entirely rebuilt. For many years the nave and chancel were occupied as cottages.
On the Evesham side of the river there is only one church which seems to have been entirely the property of the Abbey. This is the church of Saint Egwin, at Norton, between two and three miles along the main north road. Here we may see a lectern of Norman date, carved out of a block of alabaster with curious forms of beasts and foliage; and in the centre, rudely cut is the figure of a bishop, holding in his left hand a crozier, his right in the act of benediction. This lectern once graced a chapel in the great church of Evesham; and the figure pourtrayed is Bishop Egwin, the first Abbot, to whom we owe the beginnings of the great and powerful Abbey.
The north chapel, with its monuments of a fashion long passed away, and its heraldic adornments, suggestive of the age of chivalry, forms a picture at once imposing and pathetic. The monuments are of considerable interest, and are good examples of Renaissance ornament and sculpture of three successive periods. The Bigge family, to the memory of whom they were erected, inherited through Sir Philip Hoby much of the Abbey land in this district. Early in the seventeenth century their mansion and estates were purchased by Lord Craven, and it is to the family of this nobleman that the funereal flags, tabards, and arms suspended above the monuments, belong.
From Norton church we may return by a field path which leads into and crosses a lane known as King’s Lane, and possibly connected with some cavalier episode. The hamlet which we see before us is Lenchwick, and if we take the village street, after passing the lane to Chadbury we presently come to a steep but short descent with a group of old barns on our left. Near this spot stood, until about a hundred years ago, a stately mansion built by Sir Thomas Bigge, whose tomb we have but now visited.
A letter is still extant from Sir Philip Hoby requesting permission from the King’s agent to purchase stone from the Abbey ruins for building, and there can be little doubt that this house was constructed of the same material. By the “irony of fate” this mansion, born of the spoliation of that institution, in its turn fell a prey to the destroyer, and fragments of carved stones telling of Elizabethan days may be found in these and other farm buildings within the area of the parish.