(active 1090s in Sussex)

Exterior view

consecrated 1060
Waltham Abbey, Essex

Waltham Abbey was founded in Essex to the north of London by King Harold, who was buried under the high altar of the church. It was begun in 1053 and consecrated in 1060. The ground plan of this antiquated church (a continuous transept and single tiny apse) was revealed by excavations in the 20th century. It is quite likely that the plan of the church, which Harold showered with relics and gold ornaments, was deliberately old-fashioned, showing the influence of Old St. Peter's in Rome, or St. Denis in its archaic appearance - a reaction to the influence of Westminster Abbey.

The present building dates mainly from the early 12th century and is an example of Norman architecture. The monastic buildings and those parts of the church east of the crossing were demolished at the dissolution of the monasteries (1536-41) and the Norman crossing tower and transepts collapsed in 1553. The present-day church consists of the nave of the Norman abbey church, the 14th-century lady chapel and west wall, and a 16th-century west tower, added after the dissolution.

View the ground plan of the Waltham Abbey.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.