At a place called Green Hill near the village of Evesham
… on August 2 in the year 1265, Simon de Montfort and his son Henry fought surrounded by their enemies until they both were killed.
When the battle was ended, monks from Evesham abbey came out to bury the dead. As they lifted Simon’s stripped and mangled torso from the ground, a spring of water flowed up from beneath the body. The water of this spring cured blindness and disease.
The Chronicle of William de Rishanger, of the Barons’ War : The miracles of Simon de Montfort. Edited from manuscripts in the Cottonian Library, by James Orchard Halliwell, The Camden Society, John Bowyer Nichols and Son, Parliament Street, London M.DCCC.XL
Rishanger’s is a contemporary account written after Simon’s death, cataloging the miracles attributed to Simon including the following, among many.
- After the battle of Evesham, the messenger carrying Montfort’s severed hands in a bag saw the hands appear before him in the attitude of prayer. Rishanger pp.67-68
- When the Monks of Evesham Abbey lifted Montfort’s torso from the ground, a fresh spring poured forth it’s water with powers to cure blindness and disease.
- The Countess of Pembroke (William de Valence’s wife Joan) had a asthmatic palfrey and had been sick for two years. It submerged it’s whole head in the spring and was cured of it’s wheezing. Rishanger pp.68-69
- Alice of New Burton was paralyzed on her left side for thirty years and was cured by water from Simon’s spring. Rishanger pp.69
- Henry of Stodeley, blind from birth, received full vision after application of the spring’s waters. Rishanger pp.69
- Rodolphus, his left leg was cured. Rishanger pp.68
Thousands came to Simon’s spring as it became a site of pilgrimage. The man who died there was hailed as a saint, as The Angel with the Sword of the Apocalypse, or perhaps even the risen Savior Himself. The Crown responded by making the taking of water from the spring punishable by death. The speaking of Simon’s name, except in condemnation, became a hanging crime.
Today, though few know of him, we have all been touched by him. For it was he who founded, fought and died for a new form of government — one elected by the people.
Eight hundred years later, the site of Simon’s death is still a destination for pilgrims who believe in miracles.
When I visited Evesham, in 1978, as I left the train station I hurried to catch up with a group of people who were walking ahead of me, intending to ask them directions. I called after them and as they turned toward me I saw that they were all blind.
At that time no one I spoke to seemed to know anything about “The Baron’s Well”, Simon’s spring. From the top of Green Hill I clambered through a dry weedy field, heading for a moist area marked by bushes, the only such damp spot on the field. There I found a spring with watercress growing in it.
Unfortunately, in search of traces of a chapel, a large hole was dug on the site destroying the spring.