Waltham Abbey

This town is now part of London’s northern commuter belt, but the Abbey was one of the wealthiest before Henry VIII closed it. It was founded by King Harold who was miraculously cured by the relic of the Holy Cross which had come from Montacute in Somerset.  After the Battle of Hastings, some of his bones were brought here and were buried near the High Altar. This is believed to be the site, but the Normans rebuilt the Abbey church, and the huge columns are similar to those of Durham so probably by the same mason. which in turn was reduced at the Reformation to the present dimensions, so the bones of Harold are long lost.

wa harold shr

The magnificent roof is Victorian.

wa ceiling shr

There is a good mix of monuments including this Tudor alabaster image of Lady Elizabeth Greville, daughter of sir John Grey, a close relative of the tragic Lady Jane Grey. 

wa tudor tomb shr

This is the monument to Sir Edward Denny whose wife Lady Margaret survived him by 48 years, dying aged 88. I featured this tomb some time ago as it features what seems to be a blind boy, i.e. their youngest son.

I love this – a blind window decorated in silver and painted to resemble stained glass by the Pre-Raphaelite Henry Holliday similar to work found at the Duomo in Florence.

wa blins wind shr

This is the recovered 15th century Doom painting in the 14th century Lady Chapel, built by the funeral guild to inspire its members to focus on what to expect in the afterlife. Literally, putting the fear of god in them.

wa doom shr

This is the main altar

wa altar shr

Outside in the churchyard is my favourite person from history’s grave, Henry Bridges:

wa hb grave hb shr



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