« AnteriorContinua »
purchased by his widow. Their grandson, Sir Edward Denny, was created
The Abbey of Waltham, when entire, was very extensive, including within its walls many acres of ground. The remains of the Entrance Gateway, approached by an old bridge, stand at some distance to the north of the church. This gateway is of stone, repaired with large bricks, and consists of a larger and a smaller pointed arch, with delicate mouldings; the exterior mouldings springing from figures of angels, which support shields containing the royal arms of England as they were drawn in the reign of Edward III. which appears to be the date of this part of the building. This gateway
and the church are all that now remain standing of this once noble edifice.* The present parish church is formed of the nave of the ancient church, which had the form of a cross. The choir, which was a continuation of the present building towards the east, with the two transepts, and the Lady Chapel, appear to have been domolished immediately after the dissolution of the Abbey. The steeple stood at the intersection of the choir and nave with the transepts; and it appears to have fallen spontaneously a few years after the transepts and choir were taken down. By that accident, the nave was
A dark vaulted structure of two divisions connected with the Convent Garden, is all that remains of the old Abbey House, the residence of the Dennys; even the large mansion erected on its site, of which a view is given in Farmer's History of Waltham Abbey,
has been long demolished. In the Convent Garden,
left open at the east end, and it was built up with modern masonry, which, mixed with the old circular arches and windows of the original building, and with the two great western supports of the steeple which are still visible, give to this part of the church externally a singularly dilapidated appearance.
The Choir appears to have been very extensive; for the site of Harold's Tomb, which we know was in that part of the church, perhaps near the high altar where the Holy Cross stood, is still pointed out by tradition at a spot about forty yards to the east of the present church. This choir was probably built in the reign of Henry II., when that monarch changed the character of Harold's foundation. At that period the relics of King Harold were translated thither from a former tomb; and the author of the treatise 'De Inventione Sanctæ Crucis Walthamensis,' who wrote in the latter part of the twelfth century, assures us that he was present on that occasion, and that he saw the wounds on Harold's body.* Fuller, speaking from tradition, says that the sepulchre of Harold was a plain tomb of grey marble, supported by “pillarets,” with a "sort of cross fleury” sculptured upon it; and he asserts that he had one of its pedestals in his own possession. Farmer, in his History of Waltham Abbey, has given an engraving of a mask, which, he
says, (probably without any good reason,) was one of the ornaments of the same tomb. It is equally improbable, that the coffin discovered in the latter end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by a gardener in the service of Sir Edward Denny, was that which contained the body of the martyr of Hastings.t
Cujus corporis translationi, quum sic se habebat stone, the cover of a tomb hewed out in hard stone: status ecclesiæ fabricandi, vel devotio fratrum reve this cover, with some help, he removed from off the rentiam corpori exhibentium, nunc extremæ memini tomb; which having done, there appeared to the view me tertio affuisse, et, sicut vulgo celebre est et at of the gardener, and Master Baker, minister of the testationes antiquorum andivimus, plagas ipsis ossibus town (who died long since), and to myself and Master impressas oculis corporeis et vidisse et manibus con Henry Knagg (Sir Edward's bailiff), the anatomy of trectam.-Chron. Anglo-Nurm. tom. ii. p. 250. a man lying in the tomb abovesaid, only the bones
+ The following attested account of this discovery remaining, bone to his bone, not one bone dislocated. is preserved by Fuller, in his Worthies :
In observation whereof, we wondered to see the bones “The ensuing relation, written by the pen of till remaining in such due order, and no dust or other Master Thomas Smith, of Sewarstone, in the parish filth besides them to be seen in the tomb: we could of Waltham Abbey, a discreet person, not long since nt conceive that it had been an anatomy of bones deceased.
only, laid at first in the tomb; yet if it had been the " It so fell out that I served Sir Edward Denny whole carcass of a man, what became of his flesh and (towards the latter end of the reign of Queen Eliza entrails ? For (as I have said above) the tomb was beth of blessed memory), who lived in the Abbey of clean from all filth and dust, besides bones. This Waltham Cross, in the county of Essex, which at that when we had all observed, I told them, that if they time lay in ruinous heaps; and then Sir Edward began did but touch any part thereof, that all would fall slowly now and then to make even and re-edify some of asunder, for I had only heard somewhat formerly of that chaos. In doing whereof, Tomkins, his gardener, the like accident. Trial was made, and so it came to came to discover (among other things) a fair marble pass. For my own part, I am persuaded, that as the
Fuller, writing in the time of the Commonwealth, says that “a picture of King Harold in glass was lately to be seen in the north window of the church, till ten years since some barbarous hand beat it down under the notion of superstition.” About half a century ago another coffin was found near the same spot, containing an entire skeleton enclosed in lead. Many persons of distinction appear to have been buried at Waltham; among them are mentioned the names of Hugh Nevil, protho-forester of England, who, dying in 1222, was interred here under a noble engraved marble sepulchre; of his son John Nevil; and of Robert Passelew, archdeacon of Lewes, one of the favourites of Henry III.
A very elegant pointed arch, now forming the entrance from the tower to the interior of the church, of which we have given a representation on a
preceding page, appears to be of the reign of Henry III. ; the defects observed in the upper part of its ornaments were caused by some barbarous hand, which cut away part of the sculptured stone, in order to introduce a new erection, with which the workman appears to have proceeded no farther. The Principal Entrance, which is also an elegant sharplypointed arch, is supposed to date from the reign of Edward III. At the south-east extremity of the present building is a chapel, which bears evident marks of the age of the Tudors, although much defaced and altered.
Nearly the whole of the church itself, with the exception of the modern alterations which it has undergone, is the erection of King Harold, and formed perhaps the principal part of the church as he left it. The interior, which in modern times has been miserably disfigured by thick coats of plaster and whitewash, possesses still an appearance of solemn grandeur, although its groined roof has been taken down, and its place supplied by a lower flat ceiling. The close resemblance between this interior and the interior of the nave of Durham Cathedral (built a few years after the Conquest) has frequently been noticed. The body of the nave is
flesh of this anatomy to us became invisible, so like In Mr. Edgar Taylor's translation of “Master wise would the bones have been in some longer con Wace, his Chronicle of the Norman Conquest," tinuance of time. O! what is man then, which (London, 1837,) p. 259, is given a beautiful drawing vanisheth thus away,
like unto smoke or vapour, from a manuscript of the thirteenth century, repreand is no more seen! Whosoever thou art that shalt senting the deposition of the body of King Harold in read this passage, thou mayst find cause of humility his tomb at Waltham. sufficient.
DESCRIPTION OF WALTHAM CHURCH.
separated from the side aisles by two rows of large and massive cylindrical pillars, ornamented with spiral and zig-zag grooves, like the similar pillars in the nave at Durham. These pillars support large circular arches, with zigzag mouldings. Above these on each side is a second row of large arches, supported by short columns; and above these is a third series of treble arches, each consisting of one large arch, with a smaller one on each side. These latter front the principal windows by which the interior of the church is lighted. In the second or middle tier of arches there were once central columns, with arched mouldings, dividing each of the large arches into two. Between each series of arches a three-quarter pilaster moulding rises to the ceiling, and appears formerly to have sustained the groined roof. Two of the circular arches of the lower row have been altered, probably at the time when the present steeple was erected, to pointed arches, and carried up to the string course of the clerestory. The only remnant of the furniture and utensils of this old church is its ancient Font. The east end of the nave has been railed in to form a chancel. The whole length of the nave is a hundred and six feet; and its breadth fifty-three feet, including the aisles. The interior height is at present fortysix feet. The most interesting monument in Waltham Abbey Church is that of Sir Edward Denny and his lady, which is situated near the eastern extremity of the south aisle. Near the altar rails is a defaced grey slab, which once bore a mitred figure, probably one of the abbots.
The steeple is a massive square tower, eighty-six feet high, embattled, and supported by strong buttresses. It was erected, as has been already stated, during the reign of Queen Mary, at the expense of the parishioners. It appears from the parish books that for the first fifty-three feet the expense of building, independent of the materials, was 338. 4d. a foot, and that the upper part cost 40s. a foot, the difference arising probably from the increase in the value of labour in the reign of Elizabeth, when the tower was completed. The principal modern alterations in this church appear to have been made between the years 1668 and 1680.*
The out-buildings attached to the church are on the South Side. They consist of a vestry and school-room, occupying what was formerly the Lady Chapel. This has been so much modernized, that very little of the original building can now be seen. It appears that a large portion of the money
According to the parish books, quoted by Farmer, (History of Waltham Abbey,) p. 149, the sum of £100 was expended between 1669 and 1672 ; £46 48. 10d.
in 1674; £64 138. 53d. in 1679; and £78 5s. 2d. in 1680.
expended on reparations in the latter part of the seventeenth century was applied to the building and furnishing of the school-room. Underneath this
building is a crypt, curiously groined, which is now used as a charnel-house.
This Lady Chapel, from the style of what remains of the original architecture, and the ornamental Buttresses which still exist, has been supposed to be as old as the time of Henry III.
Waltham Abbey can boast of fewer learned men than most of the old monastic houses. Fuller mentions Roger de Waltham, canon of St. Paul's, a writer in the thirteenth century, and John de Waltham, keeper of the privy seal to King Richard II. The same historian places Robert Fuller, the last abbot of Waltham, among the literary men of that house, because he had written a history of his abbey, which Thomas Fuller
professes to have consulted: it is probable, however, that this “history” was nothing more than the register of charters and other deeds of the abbey, still preserved in the Harleian Library, which would reduce Abbot Fuller's claim to literary honours within very modest limits. It was from a deed of Abbot Fuller, that Farmer gave one Coat of Arms belonging to this abbey, which is gules, two angels or, flying with their wings extended, with their hands holding between them a cross argent. A different coat (which is represented in a former cut) is given by Fuller the historian, along with the arms of the other mitred abbeys. At the time of its surrender in 1539, Waltham was one of the richest abbeys in the kingdom,