No King Harold Festival in 2019

It is announced with regret that there will be no King Harold Festival at Waltham Abbey in 2019.

Problems with the site and other difficulties have made it impossible.

We will try to get something arranged for 2020.

Published in: on October 10, 2019 at 1:48 am  Leave a Comment  

It seems times never change

Well, I just had to post this, didn’t I.    Thanks to Apra Ames Roberts for it.
Cartoon on tapestry, Apra Ames Roberts
Published in: on January 1, 2019 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy New Year

A very happy New Year to all our readers.   May 2019 be another year where we all help spread the word about our King Harold, the last Anglo Saxon King of England  –  frequently so sadly overlooked by those who seem to think English history began after October 1066.

Published in: on January 1, 2019 at 4:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tomorrow is the King Harold Commemoration at Waltham Abbey

We shall be holding our special Commemoration event tomorrow, 13 October, in and around the Abbey Churchyard at Waltham Abbey.  The event is held to remember  the last Anglo Saxon King of England, Harold II, who lost his life at the  Battle of Senlac Hill on 14 October 1066.

This year we shall have two performances of a specially-written play, The Falcon’s Flight, about King Harold’s daughter Gytha.   The English Companions will be with us and will recite a poem in Old English.   The Chingford Morris, who have supported King Harold Day for its 14 years of existence, will dance.

There will be a Music Recital in the Abbey Church, two guided tours of the Church, and in the afternoon the Tower will be open allowing wonderful views over the town and out towards Epping Forest.   (There will be a small charge for Church funds)

And finally, our Junior King Harold  –  Matthew  –  will be present.

At Noon the Commemoration Ceremony will take place at the King Harold Memorial in the Churchyard.   We shall be joined by the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Cllr Richard Bassett and Mrs Bassett, the Mayor of Waltham Abbey, Cllr Jeane Lea, and from the Abbey Church  –  The Rector, The Rev’d Peter Smith, The Rev’d Canon Joyce Smith and The Rev’d Alexandra Guest.

We and our guests will place flowers on the King Harold Memorial.

Do come and join us.   Admission to the event is free, but donations made on the day towards its expenses would be much appreciated.



Commemoration of King Harold 2017 is today – come and join us

We have already announced that  we have had to cancel King Harold Day this year.

I had been toying with the idea that we should continue to mark King Harold’s death even though King Harold Day will not be taking place.   The Music for Lunch recital in the Abbey Church will in any event be held, and a most appropriate programme has been arranged, including music by Thomas Tallis, who was Director of Music at the Abbey up until its dissolution.   I decided that at least I would put flowers on the King Harold Memorial.

Since then a number of people have suggested that we should hold a ceremony, including Waltham Abbey Historical Society who wished to place their normal floral tribute, and the Rector, The Rev’d Peter Smith, has offered to be with us and to participate.   So, with the help of various people a programme has been put together.

The ceremony at the King Harold Memorial will take place on Saturday 7thOctober at 11.00am.   Please note this is an earlier time than usual.   I am pleased to report that our Junior King Harold will be with us again.   The programme will include a performance by Sue Macmillan and Hannah McDowall, the presenters of Eleanor Longshanks, who will tell the story of medieval kingship and queenship, and an Arthurian legend.

Those attending are invited to go into the Abbey Church afterwards where refreshments will be available from 12 noon, with the Recital beginning at 12.30pm.

The Historical Society will be staging an exhibition in the Church, and a new booklet by Grenville Weltch, edited by  Lawrence Greenall, about the King Harold Memorial will be published on the day and be on sale.   Grenville has also kindly agreed to arrange for a tour of the Abbey Church after the Recital.

We are delighted that the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Cllr Dave Stallan, and the Mayor of Waltham Abbey, Cllr Mick Fitch, will be able to join us despite the short notice.

I should emphasize that there will be no procession through the town centre and nobody will be in medieval costume.

Not as big an event as usual but still it looks like it will be an excellent occasion.   Do please come along and join us at the King Harold Memorial in the Abbey Churchyard, and spread the word as much as you can for us so that we have a really good attendance.   Let us continue to commemorate King Harold on this day.


We very much regret that King Harold Day will not be held in 2017.

We have had problems regarding the site, and have therefore been left with no choice but to cancel.

We shall continue to work to find a solution, even if it means going to a different but nearby site.   We hope that we shall be back in 2018 when King Harold Day would be on Saturday 6th October.

We shall much miss seeing all our friends.




Published in: on September 1, 2017 at 11:13 am  Comments (1)  
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2016 – 950th Anniversary of The Year of King Harold

Today is the 951st anniversary of the Coronation at Westminster Abbey of King Harold II, the Lord of the Manor of Waltham and founder of what became the Great Abbey. 

It marks the end of our Year of King Harold at Waltham Abbey when we celebrated the 950th anniversary of the important 1066 dates. We began with Compline for a Coronation in the Abbey on the 6 January 2016. During the year we went on to have a major exhibition at the Museum on King Harold II, his Life and Legacy. We welcomed English Heritage’s 1066 March to the town when armoured horsemen rode at some speed through gridlocked traffic to the Abbey and we then re-enacted King Harold praying at the Holy Cross of Waltham before continuing his journey to Hastings. Then we had the 2016 King Harold Day. This was followed by a Day Conference held at the Town Hall, and organized by the Museum, which attracted renowned speakers on King Harold, the Bayeux Tapestry and the 1066 story. Finally there was a talk on King Harold at the Museum. 

Many thanks to all those who helped to arrange the programme of events, who took part or who watched as it all took place.

We believe we have done the anniversary proud and that Waltham Abbey has lived up to its name as “King Harold’s Town”. We will continue to protect and promote the last Anglo Saxon King of England and the rich history of Waltham Abbey.





Come and welcome 1066 Marchers to Waltham Abbey tomorrow


Here’s the 1066 York to Hastings Marchers at Audley End, which they reached today.   They will be arriving at Waltham Abbey Gateway tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, about 5 pm.  (EN9 1XQ).

Do come and join us at the Gateway to welcome them.   And the Abbey bells will also peal out a welcome.   Then we will move to the rear of the Abbey, the east side, where we shall re-enact King Harold II praying at the miraculous Holy Cross of Waltham for victory in the coming battle against Duke William of Normandy.   Legend has it that the figure on the Cross bowed its head.   This was taken as a bad omen for the battle, and was right as at the Battle of Senlac Hill, popularly known as the Battle of Hastings, King Harold lost his life.   So the last Anglo Saxon King of England was no more.


Published in: on October 5, 2016 at 5:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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King Harold Day on Saturday


Published in: on October 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Compline for a Coronation

The first event of our KH 950 celebrations at Waltham Abbey is on Wednesday 6th January Medieval monks in Abbeywhen we shall mark King Harold’s coronation with a service of Compline in the Abbey Church at 5.00 pm.

Waltham, like the other monastic houses, would have kept the canonical hours, the eight divine offices each day, with the last one being Compline just before retiring to bed.

This daily pattern would be well known not just to the canons but to King Harold and his court, who would regularly have been at the church for Compline.

It is fitting then that we commemorate Harold’s coronation which took place at Edward the Confessor’s new West Minster Abbey by holding this service of Compline at Waltham Abbey, Harold’s own monastic foundation.

All are welcome at this service, especially those who are interested in King Harold II, in his great monastic foundation at Waltham, and in the story of the last Anglo Saxon King of England.

Wednesday 6th January 2016

5.00 pm    Service of Compline 

The Abbey Church, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1DG. 


Published in: on January 3, 2016 at 3:52 am  Comments (2)  
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