Difference between revisions of "Bath Abbey"

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(Created page with "{{Infobox church |name=Bath Abbey |full name= Abbey Church of Saint Peter<br />and Saint Paul, Bath |county=Somerset |city=Bath |church=Church of England |diocese=Bath and Wel...")
 
(References)
 
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*{{cite journal|last=Astley|first=Gus|title=Bath Abbey: West Front|journal=Conservation News|year=1993|volume=51|pages=13–14|url=http://www.ihbc.org.uk/context_archive/37/bath.htm|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite journal|last=Astley|first=Gus|title=Bath Abbey: West Front|journal=Conservation News|year=1993|volume=51|pages=13–14|url=http://www.ihbc.org.uk/context_archive/37/bath.htm|ref=harv}}
*{{cite book | last=Barlow | first=Frank | authorlink=Frank Barlow (historian)| title=William Rufus | publisher=[[Yale University Press]] | date=March 2000 | isbn=978-0-300-08291-3|ref=harv}}
+
*{{cite book | last=Barlow | first=Frank | authorlink=Frank Barlow (historian)| title=William Rufus | publisher=Yale University Press | date=March 2000 | isbn=978-0-300-08291-3|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Brakspear|first=Harold| authorlink=Harold Brakspear|title=Bath Abbey|year=1913|publisher=British Publishing Company|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Brakspear|first=Harold| authorlink=Harold Brakspear|title=Bath Abbey|year=1913|publisher=British Publishing Company|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Britton|first=John| authorlink=John Britton (antiquary)|title=The history and antiquities of Bath Abbey Church|year=1825|publisher=Longman|url=http://books.google.com/?id=-6I9AAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=bath+abbey|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Britton|first=John| authorlink=John Britton (antiquary)|title=The history and antiquities of Bath Abbey Church|year=1825|publisher=Longman|url=http://books.google.com/?id=-6I9AAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=bath+abbey|ref=harv}}
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*{{brithist|34340|Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: volume 7: Bath and Wells}}
 
*{{brithist|34340|Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: volume 7: Bath and Wells}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Hammond|first=Cynthia Imogen|title=Architects, Angels, Activists and the City of Bath, 1765-1965|year=2012|publisher=Ashgate|isbn=978-1409400431|url=http://books.google.com/?id=EfylbWB9_SsC&pg=PA80&lpg=PA80&dq=Oliver+King+Dream+Bath#v=onepage&q=Oliver%20King%20Dream%20Bath&f=false|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Hammond|first=Cynthia Imogen|title=Architects, Angels, Activists and the City of Bath, 1765-1965|year=2012|publisher=Ashgate|isbn=978-1409400431|url=http://books.google.com/?id=EfylbWB9_SsC&pg=PA80&lpg=PA80&dq=Oliver+King+Dream+Bath#v=onepage&q=Oliver%20King%20Dream%20Bath&f=false|ref=harv}}
*{{cite book |title=Ruling England 1052–1216 |last=Huscroft |first=Richard|year=2004 |publisher=[[Longman]] |isbn=978-0-582-84882-5 |ref=harv}}
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*{{cite book |title=Ruling England 1052–1216 |last=Huscroft |first=Richard|year=2004 |publisher=Longman  |isbn=978-0-582-84882-5 |ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book |title=Bath Abbey A History |last=Hylson-Smith |first=Kenneth |year=2003 |publisher=The Friends of Bath Abbey |location=Bath |isbn=|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book |title=Bath Abbey A History |last=Hylson-Smith |first=Kenneth |year=2003 |publisher=The Friends of Bath Abbey |location=Bath |isbn=|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Jackson|first=Thomas Graham|title=Gothic Architecture in France, England, and Italy|year=1975|publisher=CUP Archive|isbn=978-0878171064|url=http://books.google.com/?id=jO48AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51&dq=Bath+Abbey+fan+vaulting+flying+buttress#v=onepage&q=Bath%20Abbey&f=false|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Jackson|first=Thomas Graham|title=Gothic Architecture in France, England, and Italy|year=1975|publisher=CUP Archive|isbn=978-0878171064|url=http://books.google.com/?id=jO48AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51&dq=Bath+Abbey+fan+vaulting+flying+buttress#v=onepage&q=Bath%20Abbey&f=false|ref=harv}}
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*{{cite book|last=Wright|first=Reginald W.M.|title=Bath Abbey|publisher=Pitkin Unichrome|isbn=978-0853720546|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Wright|first=Reginald W.M.|title=Bath Abbey|publisher=Pitkin Unichrome|isbn=978-0853720546|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Wroughton|first=John|title=Tudor Bath: Life and strife in the little city, 1485–1603|year=2006|publisher=Lansdown Press|isbn=0-9520249-6-9|ref=harv}}
 
*{{cite book|last=Wroughton|first=John|title=Tudor Bath: Life and strife in the little city, 1485–1603|year=2006|publisher=Lansdown Press|isbn=0-9520249-6-9|ref=harv}}
 
[[Category:Bath|Abbey]]
 

Latest revision as of 18:20, 10 November 2019

Bath Abbey

Abbey Church of Saint Peter
and Saint Paul, Bath

Bath, Somerset

Status: Parish church
Abadía de Bath, Bath, Inglaterra, 2014-08-12, DD 07.JPG
Bath Abbey
Church of England
Diocese of Bath and Wells
Location
Location: 51°22’53"N, 2°21’31"W
History
Information
Website: www.bathabbey.org

The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Bath, commonly known as Bath Abbey, is a parish church of the Church of England in the centre of the City of Bath in Somerset. Its origin, and the reason for its name, is as a mediæval Benedictine monastery.

Founded in the 7th century, Bath Abbey's church was reorganised in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 12th century, and again in the early 16th century, just before the dissolution of the abbey. Major restoration work was carried out by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the 1860s.

Character

Fan vaulting of the nave ceiling

Bath Abbey is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country.

The church is cruciform in plan, and is able to seat 1200. An active place of worship, with hundreds of congregation members and hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, it is used for religious services, secular civic ceremonies, concerts and lectures. The choir performs in the abbey and elsewhere. There is a heritage museum in the vaults.

The interior is marked by the great number of memorials. The history of Georgian and Victorian Bath is told in the plaques and statues: the fashionable classes patronised Bath, and at the heart of it was Bath as a curing spa. The sickly were carried to Bath to take the waters to bath and to seek a cure, and in consequence many men, women and children of noble families, brought here sick, expired in the city, and are memorialised on the walls of Bath Abbey.

The abbey is a Grade I listed building,[1][2] particularly noted for its fan vaulting. It contains war memorials for the local population and monuments to several notable people, in the form of wall and floor plaques and commemorative stained glass. The church has two organs and a peal of ten bells. The west front includes sculptures of angels climbing to heaven on two stone ladders.

History

Early history

In 675, Osric, King of the Hwicce, granted the Abbess Berta 100 hides near Bath for the establishment of a convent.[3] This religious house became a monastery under the patronage of the Bishop of Worcester. King Offa of Mercia successfully wrested "that most famous monastery at Bath"[4] from the bishop in 781. William of Malmesbury tells that Offa rebuilt the monastic church to such a standard that King Eadwig was moved to describe it as being "marvellously built";[4] little is known about the architecture of this first building on the site.

Monasticism in England had declined by Eadwig's time, in the tenth century. His brother though, Edgar, began its revival on his accession to the throne in 959. He encouraged monks to adopt the Rule of Saint Benedict, which was introduced at Bath under Abbot Ælfheah (St Alphege). In 973, fourteen years after his accession, King Edgar received a grand coronation ceremony at Bath Abbey.[5]

Norman Conquest to the Dissolution

Bath was ravaged in the power struggle between the sons of William the Conqueror following his death in 1087. The victor, William Rufus, granted the city to a royal physician, John of Tours, who became Bishop of Wells and Abbot of Bath.[6][7] Shortly after his consecration John bought Bath Abbey's grounds from the king,[7] as well as the city of Bath itself. In 1090 John of Tours transferred the seat of the bishopric from Wells (then a small village) to the city of Bath Abbey,[8][9] took the abbey over and thus greatly increased his episcopal revenues.[10] The two institutions were combined, the canons of Wells replaced by the monks of Bath, and he rebuilt the church at Bath. Thus the 'Diocese of Bath' was created, and Bath Abbey became a cathedral. John of Tours planned a new cathedral on a grand scale, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul, but only the ambulatory was complete when he died in December 1122.[6] He was buried in the cathedral.[11] The half-finished cathedral was devastated by fire in 1137,[12] but work continued under the new bishop.

In 1197 Bishop Savaric FitzGeldewin moved his seat to Glastonbury Abbey, but was eventually driven out and back to Bath Abbey. Later bishops moved back to Wells, and thus the diocese became known as the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

In 1499 Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells (1495–1503), visited Bath and was shocked to find this famous church in ruins.[13][14][15] He also described lax discipline, idleness and a group of monks "all too eager to succumb to the temptations of the flesh".[16] He determined to rebuild the church. There are several stories that, on a visit to Bath, King had a dream in which he "saw the Heavenly Host on high with angels ascending and descending by ladder" which is now represented on the west front of the cathedral.[17][18][19] However this interpretation, which first appeared in the writings of John Harington, around 100 years after it was supposed to have happened, has been challenged.[17][20]

Robert and William Vertue, the king's masons were commissioned, promising to build the finest vault in England, promising "there shall be none so goodely neither in England nor France".[15] Their design incorporated the surviving Norman crossing wall and arches.[15] They appointed Thomas Lynne to supervise work on site and work probably began the following spring.[15] Bishop King planned a smaller church, covering the area of the Norman nave only.[16] He did not live to see the result, but the restoration of the cathedral was completed just a few years before the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.[21]

Reformation and decline

The abbey in 1875

Prior Holloway surrendered Bath Priory to the crown in January 1539. It was sold to Humphry Colles of Taunton.[22] The church was stripped of lead, iron and glass and left to decay. Colles sold it to Matthew Colthurst of Wardour Castle in 1543. His son Edmund Colthurst gave the roofless remains of the building to the corporation of Bath in 1572.[22] The corporation had difficulty finding private funds for its restoration.[23]

In 1574, Queen Elizabeth I promoted the restoration of the church, to serve as the grand parish church of Bath. She ordered that a national fund should be set up to finance the work,[24] and in 1583 decreed that it should become the parish church of Bath.[23] James Montague, the Bishop from 1608–1616, paid £1,000 for a new nave roof of timber lath construction; according to the inscription on his tomb, this was prompted after seeking shelter in the roofless nave during a thunderstorm. He is buried in an alabaster tomb in the north aisle.[25]

Modern renaissance

Bath Abbey c. 1900

As Bath became fashionable the city was rebuilt, and attention turned to the church. During the 1820s and 1830s buildings, including houses, shops and taverns which were very close to or actually touching the walls of the abbey were demolished and the interior remodelled by George Phillips Manners who was the Bath City Architect. Manners erected flying buttresses to the exterior of the nave and added pinnacles to the turrets.[26]

Major restoration work was carried out by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the 1860s, funded by the rector, Charles Kemble.[26] The work included the installation of fan vaulting in the nave, which was not merely a fanciful aesthetic addition but a completion of the original design.[27] Bishop King had arranged for the vaulting of the choir, to a design by William and Robert Vertue. There are clues in the stonework that King intended the vaulting to continue into the nave, but that this plan was abandoned, probably for reasons of cost. In addition a stone screen between the choir and nave was removed.[26] Scott's work was completed by his pupil Thomas Graham Jackson in the 1890s including work on the west front.[28]

Work carried out in the 20th and 21st centuries included full cleaning of the stonework and the reconstruction of the pipe organ by Klais Orgelbau of Bonn. The stonework of the west front had been subject to natural erosion therefore a process of lime-based conservation was carried out during the 1990s by Nimbus Conservation under the guidance of Professor Robert Baker who had previously worked on the west front of Wells Cathedral. Some of the damage to sculptures had been made worse by the use of Portland cement by previous work carried out in the Victorian era. A statue of St Phillip was beyond repair and was removed and replaced with a modern statue by Laurence Tindall.[29]

Architecture

Bath Abbey, vaults

The new church is not a typical example of the Perpendicular form of Gothic architecture; the low aisles and nave arcades and the very tall clerestory present the opposite balance to that which was usual in perpendicular churches. As this building was to serve as a monastic church, it was built to a cruciform plan, which had become relatively rare in parish churches of the time. The interior contains fine fan vaulting by Robert and William Vertue, who designed similar vaulting for the Henry VII chapel, at Westminster Abbey. The building has 52 windows, occupying about 80% of the wall space,[13] giving the interior an impression of lightness, and reflecting the different attitudes towards churchmanship shown by the clergy of the time and those of the 12th century.

The cruciform abbey is built of Bath stone, which gives the exterior its yellow colour. It is an atypical example of the Perpendicular form of Gothic architecture, with low aisles and nave arcades and a tall clerestory. The walls and roofs are supported by buttresses and surmounted by battlements, pinnacles and pierced parapets, many of which were added by George Manners during his 1830's restorations.[2][30]

Entrance

The nave, which has five bays, is 211 feet long and 35 feet wide to the pillars and rises to 75 feet,[31] with the whole church being 225 feet long and 80 feetwide.[32]

The west front, which was originally constructed in 1520, has a large arched window and detailed carvings.[2] Above the window are carvings of angels and to either side long stone ladders with angels climbing up them. Below the window a battlemented parapet supports a statue and beneath this, on either side of the door, are statues of St Peter and St Paul.[33] Restoration work in the late 20th century involved cleaning with electronically controlled intermittent water sprays and ammonium carbonate poultices. One of the figures which had lost its head and shoulders was replaced.[34] The sculptures on the West front have been interpreted as representing "spiritual ascent through the virtue of humility and descent through the vice of pride"[35] and Christ as the Man of Sorrow and the Antichrist.[35] During the 1990s a major restoration and cleaning work were carried out on the exterior stonework, returning it to the yellow colour hidden under centuries of dirt.[36]

Windows

The stained glass and altar at the eastern end of the nave

The building has 52 windows, occupying about 80 percent of the wall space. The east end has a square-framed window of seven lights.[13] It includes a depiction of the nativity made by Clayton and Bell in 1872,[37] and was presented to the church by the Bath Literary Club.[38]

The window of the Four Evangelists over the northwest door is a memorial to Charles Empson, who died in 1861.[31]

In 2010 a stained glass window was uncovered in the abbey vaults. The design around the window is by William Burges.[39][40]

Tower

The two-stage central tower is not square but oblong in plan. It has two bell openings on each side and four polygonal turret pinnacles.[2] The tower is 161.0 feet (49.1 m) high,[41] and is accessed by a staircase of 212 steps.[14]

Interior

The interior fan vaulting ceiling, originally installed by Robert and William Vertue, was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott between 1864 and 1874.[30] The fan vaulting provides structural stability by distributing the weight of the roof down ribs that transfer the force into the supporting columns via the flying buttresses.[42]

Scott's work in the 1870s included the installation of large gas chandeliers made by the Coventry metalworker Francis Skidmore. They were converted to electricity in 1979.[43] Other new features included a new pulpit and seating. A marble altarpiece from General George Wade in the sanctuary was removed and replaced with a decorative reredos.[44]

In the 1920s Thomas Graham Jackson redesigned the Norman Chapel into a War Memorial Chapel, now Gethsemane Chapel, and added a cloister.[45] New choir (architecture)|quire screens were installed in 2004, partly to improve the acoustics, topped with 12 carved angels playing musical instruments.[46]

Monuments

Within the abbey are 617 wall memorials and 847 floor stones.[47] They include those dedicated to Beau Nash, Admiral Arthur Phillip (first Governor of the colony of New South Wales), James Montague (Bishop of Bath and Wells), Lady Waller (wife of William Waller, a Roundhead military leader in the Civil War), Elizabeth Grieve (wife of James Grieve, physician to Elizabeth, Empress of Russia), Sir William Baker, John Sibthorp, Richard Hussey Bickerton, William Hoare, Sir Richard Bickerton and US Senator William Bingham. Many of the monuments in the churchyard were carved between 1770 and 1860 by Reeves of Bath. War memorials include those commemorating the First Anglo-Afghan War (1841–42), the First World War (1914–18), and the Second World War (1939–45). The most recent memorial was installed in 1958 to commemorate Isaac Pitman, the developer of Pitman shorthand, who died in 1897.[47]

Choir

The abbey has sections for boys, girls and men. As well as singing at the abbey, they also tour to cathedrals in the UK and Europe. The choir has broadcast Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3,[48] and has made several recordings. It performed at the Three Tenors concert for the opening of the Thermae Bath Spa.[49] The abbey is also used as a venue for visiting choirs and, from its inception in 1947, the City of Bath Bach Choir.[50]

Heritage Vaults Museum

The Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults Museum is located in the restored 18th-century cellars, and features artifacts and exhibits about the abbey's history. Displays include the different buildings on the site and their uses, the abbey's impact on the community, the construction, architecture and sculptures of the buildings, artifacts and sculptures, and the role of the abbey in present times.[51] The museum opened in 1994,[52] but is currently closed for redevelopment.

Outside links

Commons-logo.svg
("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Bath Abbey)

References

  1. National Heritage List England no. 1394015: Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul (Historic England)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 National Monuments Record: No. 204213 – Abbey church of St Peter and St Paul
  3. Davenport 2002, pp. 31-34.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Bath Abbey". Robert Poliquin's Music and Musicians. Université du Québec. http://www.musiqueorguequebec.ca/orgues/angleterre/batha.html#English. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  5. Edgar the Peaceful: English Monarchs
  6. 6.0 6.1 Powicke 1939.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Barlow 2000, p. 182.
  8. Fryde 1986, p. 227.
  9. Huscroft 2004, p. 128.
  10. Williams 2000, p. 136.
  11. Greenway 2001.
  12. Page 1911.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Bath Abbey, Bath". Scared Destinations. http://www.sacred-destinations.com/england/bath-abbey. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Bath Abbey". Visit Bath. http://visitbath.co.uk/things-to-do/attractions/bath-abbey-p24001. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Forsyth 2003, p. 54.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Wroughton 2006, pp. 25-38.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Hammond 2012, p. 80.
  18. Britton 1825, p. 35.
  19. "Bath Abbey". Greater Churches Network. http://greaterchurches.org/visit/bath-abbey. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  20. Manco, Jean. "Oliver King's Dream". Bath Past. http://www.buildinghistory.org/bath/abbey/dream.shtml. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  21. "Renaissance Bath". The Mayor of Bath. http://www.mayorofbath.co.uk/renaissance-bath. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 Forsyth 2003, p. 56.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Taylor 1999, p. 3.
  24. "Bath Abbey". Frommers Guide. http://www.frommers.com/destinations/bath/A25243.html. Retrieved 27 September 2007. 
  25. Hylson-Smith 2003, p. 132.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Taylor 1999, p. 4.
  27. Luxford 2000, pp. 314-336.
  28. Forsyth 2003, pp. 57-58.
  29. Taylor 1999, pp. 5-6.
  30. 30.0 30.1 "History". Bath Abbey. http://www.bathabbey.org/history. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  31. 31.0 31.1 Perkins 1901, p. 17.
  32. Britton 1825, p. 72.
  33. Perkins 1901, pp. 12-15.
  34. Astley 1993, pp. 13-14.
  35. 35.0 35.1 Luxford 2003, pp. 299-322.
  36. Hylson-Smith 2003, p. 184.
  37. "Nativity — Bath Abbey Stained Glass Window Transfer New!". Aid to the Church in Need. http://www.acnuk.org/products.php/306/nativity-bath-abbey-stained-glass-window-transfer. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  38. Perkins 1901, pp. 17-28.
  39. "Bath Abbey window design confirmed as William Burges". BBC. 23 August 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/bristol/hi/people_and_places/arts_and_culture/newsid_8937000/8937422.stm. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  40. "William Burgess designs in stained glass window found in the Abbey Chambers vaults in Bath". Bath Aqua Glass. http://www.bathaquaglass.com/williamburgesswindowbath.html. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  41. "The South West prospect of Bath Abbey (2003)". Matthew Grayson Fine Arts. http://www.candle-web.co.uk/mgfa/2003a_bath_abbey_the_south_west_prospect.htm. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  42. Jackson 1975, p. 51.
  43. "The late Victorians". Bath Abbey. http://www.bathabbey.org/history/todays-abbey-1535-onwards/late-victorians. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  44. "Mid 19th century". Bath Abbey. http://www.bathabbey.org/history/todays-abbey-1535-onwards/mid-19th-century. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  45. "Into the 21st century". Bath Abbey. http://www.bathabbey.org/history/todays-abbey-1535-onwards/21st-century. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  46. "The Carved Angels on the Quire Screens in Bath Abbey". Peter King. http://www.peterking.org/carved_angels_15.html. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  47. 47.0 47.1 "Memorials". Bath Abbey. http://www.bathabbey.org/history/memorials. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  48. "Choral Evensong from Bath Abbey". BBC Radio 3 webpages. BBC Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/choralevensong/pip/v2b4z/. Retrieved 27 September 2007. 
  49. "Choirs". Bath Abbey. http://www.bathabbey.org/music/choirs. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  50. "City of Bath Bach Choir". City of Bath Bach Choir. http://www.bathbachchoir.org.uk/. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  51. "Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults 1993 & Monuments Survey 1995". Laurence Tindall. http://www.laurencetindall.co.uk/page109.html. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  52. "Bath Abbey". Smooth Hound Hotel Guide. http://www.smoothhound.co.uk/tourism/bath/abbey.html. Retrieved 16 September 2011.