Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Abbey in Bath by Margot Justes

The Abby, whose history in one way or another goes back to 676, started out as a monastery built with used stones taken from old Roman buildings. 1090 saw a colossal Norman cathedral priory take root and over the next few centuries monastic life suffered upheavals and by 1499 destruction and ruin doomed the structure.

But there was a dream. Oliver King, the Bishop of Bath dreamt about angels on a ladder ascending and descending amid heaven and earth, and the rebuilding began the same year.

By 1539, life interfered with the completion, amidst battles and Henry VIII dissolution of churches it was not until 1617 that the church and Oliver King’s dream was fully realized. It is now the church of Bath, but the name Abbey still remains. The Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults contain among other things, Norman and Saxon stonework; the history is simply astounding and the structure is a marvel.

The style of the architecture has been called Restrained Perpendicular-in short a style of English Gothic architecture circa the 14th and 15th centuries. It is more flamboyant with elaborate carvings, arches, towers and fan vaulting-the ceiling has large carved vaulted fans, the effect is simply stunning and you get a creek in your neck just from gazing up.
I stood next to a couple of tourists complaining about their necks as they gazed upward, I felt no such pain, and I had my fill, well almost, ready for more…but just thought I’d mention it and emphasize the beauty of the ceiling.

To further define the ornate aspect of the style, the two towers at the entrance have deeply carved ladders and angels going up and down, along with other greatly defined carvings and statues. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Bath, take the time and ponder the entrance to the Abbey and pay attention to all that is in front of you. What a site, what an entrance.

Till next Time,
Margot Justes

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1 comment:

Morgan Mandel said...

I like the angels on a ladder concept.

Morgan Mandel