950th Anniversary of Consecration of Harold’s Church

This weekend sees the 950th anniversary of the Consecration of Harold’s Church at Waltham Abbey, and, therefore, a hugely important date in Anglo Saxon history. 

Waltham Abbey Church

 Harold Godwinsson, Earl of Wessex, was Lord of the Manor of Waltham, owning extensive land and property in the area, including a manor house at nearby Nazeing where his mistress, Edith Swan Neck, lived.

 King Harold's Statue on the Abbey ChurchHarold, stricken with paralysis, prayed at the Holy Cross of Waltham, (a sacred relic), and was cured.   In thanksgiving he founded a minster with secular canons, which eventually became Waltham Abbey.   The minster built by Harold was consecrated in May 1060 in the presence of Edward the Confessor and his Queen.

 Six years later Harold succeeded Edward, becoming King Harold II, only to lose his life within a few short months at the Battle of Senlac Hill, (Hastings).  His body was identified on the battlefield by Edith Swan Neck, and was brought back to Waltham for burial.

 So this weekend we are celebrating Harold and the consecration of his Church.

 On Saturday 1 May,

there will be a Peal of Bells at the Abbey Church from 9.30am to 1.30pm;

there will be a Children’s Art Workshop in the Church from 10.30am;

there will be a Concert in the Church by the Waltham Abbey Church Choir at 7.30pm, including the launch of a commemorative CD of Church Music recorded by the Choir.

Also on Saturday, at Epping Forest District Museum in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, the Anglo Saxon group, The English Companions, will be demonstrating medieval crafts, and will talk about Anglo Saxon life.  


On Sunday 2 May,

there will be a Service of Thanksgiving in the Abbey Church at 11.00am, in the presence of The Lord Petre, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, at which the Preacher will be The Rt Rev’d & Rt Hon Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop of Canterbury.     This will be followed by a Reception in the Abbey Church Centre, Abbey Gardens.


On Monday 3 May,

there will be a Grand Fete in the Church Fields, (behind the Rectory near the Abbey Gateway), and Church Centre, Abbey Gardens.

There will be stalls, sideshows, a barbecue and other refreshments, with entertainment:-

Harlow Town Band

The Grinnigogs, medieval musicians

Erato, strolling musicians

Dog Show

Church Tower open for visits.

Throughout the weekend:-


there will be a Photographic and Print Display by Waltham Abbey Historical Society in the Lady Chapel of the Abbey Church;

and there will be    a very special exhibition at Epping Forest District Museum, Sun Street, of a half-size high grade photographic facsimile of the Bayeux Tapestry.                                     

This very valuable facsimile, which stretches all round the exhibition area of the Museum, has been specially loaned for the occasion by the Museum of William the Conqueror in Bayeux.   We are extremely fortunate to have it.   It is a remarkable depiction of the Tapestry which has captured even the folds and pleats in the fabric.   Children’s activities are linked to this exhibition.

The exhibition will continue until the 9th May.

So, a splendid weekend programme to celebrate this great occasion.   Do come and join us.

Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 2:36 am  Leave a Comment