Bath Abbey (Cathedral), or to give it its correct name The Abbey Church of St.Peter, is situated in the centre of Bath. The basis of the present building was inspired by a dream in the 15th century when Bishop Oliver King was moved to replace the ruined Norman Cathedral with a new structure which was founded in 1499 although this in turn was ruined after Henry V111's Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. However, after the church was surrendered to the crown, Queen Elizabeth 1 instigated restoration in the late 16th / early 17th centuries and there was further restoration in the 19th century.
I didn't go inside so can't give any information about interior architecture.
Details of services etc are available on the website below
The centre abbey, which has been going through million+ pound in renovation, is gorgeous to view up close. Mainly, this edifice was a must-see for purely architecture interests. There are exhibitions, concerts and several services that take place for education and entertainment.
The abbey welcomes donations. About 2-3 pounds at least are appreciated. Though there is no obligation to pay, especially for personal prayer time.
Photography is welcomed except during services.
My stop inside the Bath Abbey was very brief since I was on the London Walks tour and they didn't allocate very much time to the interior.
The present Abbey is the third church on this site, the current abbey was founded in 1499, destroyed in 1539 on orders from King Henry VIII after the dissolution of the monasteries and subsequently restored. Legend has is that Bishop Oliver King had a dream and in this dream angels ascended a ladder from heaven and a voice said "Let an olive establish the crown and a king restore the Church." So in 1499, the Bishop Oliver King demolished the Norman cathedral that stood here and replaced it with an Abbey.
The west (entrance) side of the Abbey depicts the dream that the Bishop had, there are angels climbing up ladders and olive trees topped with crown ("Let an olive establish the crown"). And I'm guessing the "king restore the church" part is referring to Bishop "King" and not "King" Henry VII. See pictures 3 and 4 to see the detail.
The Bath Abbey website has a nice tour of the interior of the Abbey which you can take along with you when you visit.
There's no official charge to visit the Abbey but they do request a donation of L2.50.
Bath Abbey is the last of a series of monastic churches built in Bath. It is now a Parish Church.
This is a popular place of worship, and also attracts visitors from all corners of the world
The Abbey choir is considered one of the finest in the UK, its Director of music being Peter King.
It's absolutely stunning to look at. We didn't go inside - I just loved looking at the architecture from the outside. We also did not go inside the Roman Baths, either. Just felt a wee bit touristy for my taste. Plus, the line and the price tag left a lot to be desired. haha.
If you're ever in Bath, go look at this beautiful abbey.
My initial sighting of this facade, was just a brief glimpse, as I was 'getting my bearings', but I thought the carved Bath stone looked impressive. My second sighting a few hours later, was at the start of my tour, where our knowledgeable guide informed us of the history of the Abbey, and in particular, pointed out the architectural points of interest - The angels ascending and descending ladders, flanked by statues of Apostles. He then revealed the story of inspiration for the reconstruction of the Abbey.
Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells, while sleeping, had an inspirational dream. In his dream were hosts of angels ascending and descending ladders, the Holy Trinity, and an olive tree, topped with a crown, furthermore he heard a voice saying "Let an Olive establish the Crown, and let a King restore the Church" On waking, he interpreted the dream to mean that as his name was Olive(r) he should support Henry Tudors quest to be King of England, and that as his name was King, then he should be responsible for the building of a church to replace the derelict Norman church.
Apparently Jacob had a similar experience in Genesis 28, though he merely laid a stone monument!
Well, it's a good story, and it makes for a very impressive facade, as the dream is illustrated with fine stone carvings and statues in the light coloured Bath stone of the 49 metre high tower.
I unfortunately did not go into the Abbey as there was a concert on & I felt it would be rude to walk around at that time although others did. So I cannot give a description of the inside of the Abbey although you can take a virtual tour on the website.
The outside of the Abbey is magnificant the size of a small cathedral, it seat 1,200 people. It has been classified as the last great gothic church in England. Worship and Christian prayer still takes place here and you can find out details on the website.
There is not a fixed entrance fee but as the Abbey receives no state funding they ask a GBP2.50 donation for Adults & GBP1 for students / children. Photography is allowed but not during services or concerts.
Entrance Mon - Fri April - Oct 9am - 6pm Sunday 1pm - 2.30pm / 4.30pm-5.30pm
Nov - March Mon - Fri 9am - 4.30pm Sunday 1pm - 2.30pm
Bath Abbey is just besides the Roman Baths. I have not been inside but the main entrance is quite impressive. The position of the angels (one on top of the other in a long stair) is also quite amazing.
Bath Abbey is expansive, and beautiful. Yes it was a busy place, but I also felt serene here, (well as serene as I can get.) Its a lovely place to visit and reflect and view the history all around you.
My second time to Bath and I actually went inside the abbey this time. One of the truly splendrous things inside for me were the vast ceilings. Viewing these and trying to work out just how one constructs such a thing fills me with wonder. Oh, and the art is nice too!
Bath Abbey is an excellent example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture. It emphasizes vertical lines. There are Jacob's ladders at the front of the church, where angels are climbing the ladders toward Heaven. The Abbey is adjacent to the Roman Baths, therefore visitors often see both places.
The outside of the building looks like typical church architecture, but the interior is more stunning, especially the ceilings and the main stained glass window (depicting 56 scenes about Jesus). Entrance is free but there is a suggested donation of £2.50 per person.
Close to River Avon, in the southeastern part of the old town, you will find what is Bath's most famous clerical building: Bath Abbey. The first church was built here in the 7th century and was replaced several times. It gained importance in the late 11th century, when the Bishop of Wells decided to move his see from Wells to Bath (in later centuries, the see would move back to Bath). In the early 12th century, a huge norman-style cathedral replaced the abbey. Unfortunately, the cathedral fell into disrepair and was replaced in the 16th century with the present building. Also, this building rotted away after the dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII. It was saved by initiative of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I. and the Bishop of Bath, James Montagu, in the early 17th century.
The cathedral is one of the best examples for the perpendicular style of english gothic architecture. This style is marked by decorated windows and especially the "fanned" pillars, extended to stretch along the roof. Other remarkabale places to be seen in the church are the stained glass window of King Edgar (who was re-crowned in Bath Abbey in 973) and the tomb of Bishop James Montagu. Outside of the abbey, you will find an interesting statue of Jesus Christ rising from the dead as well as the heritage vaults, which are used as a kind of abbey museum. The abby and the museum are surely worth a visit, mainly - but not only - because of the abbey's impressive architecture.
You can visit the abbey for free, but a donation is suggested. Please check out the webpage for opening times.
The Abbey Church is classified as one of the Greater Churches group. Begun in 1499, it is the last great gothic church in England. It is a cruciform building the size of a small cathedral, seating around 1,200 people. As Saint James' Church was destroyed during the Second World War, the Abbey is the only licensed place of worship in the parish.
Edgar, the first king in united England, was crowned in a church in Abbey Courtyard in 973, but the present Bath Abbey was built between 1499 and 1616, making it the last great medieval church raised in England.