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Eof (also Eoves) was a swineherd who claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary at Evesham in England, about 701. Eof related this vision to Egwin, Bishop of Worcester, who founded the great Evesham Abbey on the site of the apparation. Evesham means Eof's ham (homestead).

Some people think Eof may have been a shepherd. The standard Lives , and Saint Egwin and his Abbey of Evesham say Eof was a swineherd. The confusion may come from a letter, apparently written by Ecgwin, which says "...primum cuidam pastori gregum..." , and the Acta Sanctorum (Lives of the Saints) which states something similar: "...pastores gregum..." The Latin means either a shepherd or a herdsman. William Dugdale in Monasticon Anglicanum says "Eoves, a herdsman of the bishop...". George May, the most eminent of Evesham historians, gives both herdsman and swineherd.

The story that Eof was a swineherd goes back at least to William of Malmesbury, writing in the twelfth century, while the obverse of the conventual seal of Evesham Abbey clearly shows stylised pigs rather than sheep. The monks of the Abbey clearly thought Eof kept pigs.

The legend of Eof's vision has been commemorated by a bronze statue sited in the town centre paid for by public subscription and created by the British born sculptor John McKenna. The statue was unveiled in a public ceremony that took place on Sunday 15 June 2008.

Eof vs. Eoves

The question of whether the swineherd was named Eof or Eoves is a long-standing question still argued about today. Writing in 1920 however , the historian O.G. Knapp argued that "It is impossible that Eoves should have been the Swineherd’s name for several reasons."


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