Welcome to Historic England

Today, 1st April 2015, English Heritage has split into two separate parts:-  a charity that looks after the collections of houses, abbeys, castles and their contents;  and Historic England that champions the nation’s wider heritage, running the listing system, dealing with planning matters and giving grants.

We look forward to Historic England’s working with the town of Waltham Abbey to preserve the Abbey Gateway and the monastic remains.   The whole Abbey site is an ancient monument.




Join us at the 2014 KHD

King Harold Day 2014 will be on Saturday 11 October in the Abbey Gardens, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1XQ.

See you there.

Published in: on April 12, 2014 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy Christmas

We wish you a Happy Christmas and a good New Year

(Photograph of King Harold Day 2013 by Jonathan Foster)

Jean laying flowers under flags

Published in: on December 25, 2013 at 1:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Sir Anthony Denny Bt

A death notice in today’s issue of The Times caught my eye  –  Denny.

If you have visited the glorious Abbey at Waltham Abbey you won’t have missed the great Denny tomb and monument in the side aisle next to the stairs to the Lady Chapel.   The tomb is of Sir Edward Denny, and shows him and his wife and their seven sons and three daughters.   It commemorates the family who became the owners of the Abbey site at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries.

The town has a rich Tudor history, being visited many times by King Henry VIII who favoured the Abbey of Waltham.   Waltham was the last of the Abbeys to be dissolved.   King Henry leased the demesne lands of the monastery to his friend and favourite, Sir Anthony Denny, in April 1541, and he was made keeper of the site in January 1542.   It was purchased outright by his widow in 1549.   Sir Anthony used the stone from the demolished monastic buildings to construct the splendid Abbey House, itself later demolished, but remains of it can be seen in the Abbey Gardens.

Sir Anthony was the father of the Sir Edward whose monument is in the Abbey Church.   Sir Anthony was a confidant of Henry VIII, the most prominent member of the Privy Chamber, Keeper of Westminster Palace, Groom of the Stool, and had charge of the “dry stamp” of the King’s signature.   Denny attended Henry on his deathbed, helping to finalize his will.   He had to tell Henry of his coming death, and advised the King “to prepare for his final agony”.

The Dennys continued to be an important family in Tudor times, and the baronetcy has passed down the years.   The death notice I saw today was for Sir Anthony Denny  –  (so a family name still in use)  –  who died peacefully on 13th September 2013, aged 88, at his home in Somerset.   His full name was Sir Anthony Coningham de Waltham Denny and he was the 8th Baronet.   He is succeeded as the 9th Baronet by his son, Sir Piers Anthony de Waltham Denny.

I met Sir Anthony when he came to Waltham Abbey for the 950th Anniversary celebrations of the consecration of King Harold’s Church.  He was a Patron of the Abbey Church and knew a great deal about its architecture, his own profession.

How interesting that both Sir Anthony and Sir Piers have “de Waltham” as part of their name.   Interesting also that Sir Anthony died last Friday, the 13th, when we were commemorating the bringing of the Holy Cross to Waltham in 1035 by performing a play of the Legend.   And from that Legend and from the Holy Cross came Harold’s Church, and then the Great Abbey, and then the dissolution of the Abbey leading to the Denny family coming to the town.

Happy Christmas

A very happy Christmas to everyone from all of us at King Harold Day, Waltham Abbey.

Published in: on December 25, 2012 at 2:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Molly the Fox at King Harold Day

We’ve heard today that Molly the Fox will be joining us at King Harold Day.

Jenny, who brought her animals along last year, says that she will be coming on Saturday 13 October and will be carrying Molly.   She says that Molly is really friendly.   We’re sure all our visitors will like to meet her.

This picture is of Jenny with another fox last year.

Published in: on September 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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6th January 1066 was Harold’s Coronation Day

Harold Godwinsson, Earl of Wessex and East Anglia, was crowned King Harold II of England on this day in 1066. The coronation took place in the late Edward the Confessor’s new Westminster Abbey, the first coronation to take place there, although William of Normandy’s supporters will tell you that his was the first coronation there. So a great man, the last Anglo Saxon King of England was crowned.

Published in: on January 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Wishes

Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year

 and we look forward to seeing you at the 2012 King Harold Day on Saturday 13 October.

Published in: on December 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jenny’s wildlife at King Harold Day

Jenny Wackett brought her animals along to King Harold Day on Saturday, and had crowds of people aroundJenny with a fox them all day.   Jenny takes in wildlife that has been injured or abandoned young, and cares for them until they can be released into the wild.   She had such a variety of animals with her, and both children and adults loved seeing them.

Jenny and Emma have set up a Facebook group called Waltham Abbey Wildlife Carers, which has pictures of some of the animals, and tells you all about what Jenny does.

Thank you to all our visitors who donated towards caring for the animals on Saturday.   Jenny has put the money towards animal feed.

Published in: on October 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holy Cross Day – Wednesday 14 September

We now have the timings for our celebrations marking the bringing of the Holy Cross to Waltham in 1035.

At 2.00pm there will be a special service in the Abbey, to which the local schools have been invited, picture courtesy Maggie Radcliffealthough everyone is welcome.  At that service, the Rector of Waltham Abbey, the Rev’d Peter Smith, will tell the story of the legend of the Holy Cross of Waltham.

Then at 6.30pm, Anglo Saxons, (and all those who are fascinated by the history of England in the eleventh century), are invited to take part in a walk which will re-create the journey of the Holy Cross.  We will not be attempting to walk from Montacute where the Holy Cross was found, but we do think it important to cross the River Lea as Tovi and his companions would have done.  So we shall be gathering at the entrance to the Lee Valley White Water Centre, and will walk from there to the Abbey.

The Holy Cross of Waltham, said to have been black marble, will be represented by a large dark cross being loaned for the occasion by the Abbey Church.

Tovi was accompanied on the journey from Somerset by 66 people.   We want to have at least that number on the walk, so will welcome visitors who would like to take part in what will become an annual commemoration.   We would particularly like re-enactors and others who will wear medieval dress, but it is not essential.

At about 7.00pm, the bellringers of the Abbey Church will ring a Quarter Peal, and a Quarter Peal will be rung in Montacute at the same time.  In fact, we hope that one or two of the bellringers from Montacute will journey to Waltham Abbey for the ceremony.

When those taking part in the walk reach the Abbey, they are invited to enter the Church for a short service of pilgrimage based on what is believed would have taken place at places of medieval pilgrimage.

(Photograph of Abbey courtesy of Maggie Radcliffe)

Published in: on August 20, 2011 at 11:27 pm  Comments (2)