Medieval river wall found at Houses of Parliament

Exciting news today that a previously undiscovered part of the Medieval wall in Black Rod's Gardenmedieval Palace of Westminster has been found.

Practically all the medieval building disappeared in the great fire of 1834, with only Westminster Hall, the Undercroft Chapel, the Cloisters and Chapter House of St Stephen’s and the Jewel Tower surviving. After the fire the present gothic-style building was erected.

Now work going on to construct a new basement transformer room in Black Rod’s Garden, (at the House of Lords end of the site), has uncovered some exciting discoveries.   The Museum of London Archaeology experts have found a medieval river wall.   The stone wall dates from about 1300 and stands  about nine feet high.   Then in front of the stone wall were the oldest finds, timber beams from a waterfront retaining wall dating from before the 13th century. 

Both the stone wall and the timber remains are in quite good condition and, having been recorded, have been re-covered using sand. 

Here’s the whole story.


Published in: on April 28, 2015 at 1:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Abandoned Medieval Villages

Historic England has a blog called Heritage Calling.   It has some Wharram Percy abandoned medieval villagesfascinating posts and this one caught our eye.   It is 7 Abandoned Villages That Can Teach Us About Medieval Life and shows aerial pictures of each of the seven which clearly show the layout of a village.

Here’s the link to the post.

Published in: on April 11, 2015 at 2:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pitch applications for traders and exhibitors

We are now pleased to receive applications for pitches from Traders and Exhibitors.

There is a Special Early Bird Discount for applications received and paid for by 31st May.

Click on     Pitch Application Forms    in the side menu,

or you can find the pdf Application Form here.      2015 Craft Fair Application Form

Published in: on April 3, 2015 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New website coming for King Harold Day

We have a brand new website for King Harold Day coming soon.   Watch out for it.   At the moment it does mean that our existing website will disappear, with a Holding Page for its internet address of

So this Blog will continue to be our window to the world.   All our news will be on here.

Published in: on April 3, 2015 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

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.



Medieval devotional panel found by Thames

This wonderful medieval devotional panel was found on the River 14 century devotional panel found in ThamesThames foreshore in London.   It is an outstanding example of  the kind of  decorative religious object sold at pilgrimage sites in the medieval period to commemorate and venerate saints and martyrs.   So it could well be that similar things were on sale at the monastic church at Waltham, particularly the Great Augustinian Abbey as the panel found dates from the 14th century.

The devotional panel is now on display at the Museum of London.   Depicting the capture, trial and execution of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, political rebel turned martyr, the object was discovered by archaeologists from MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), whilst excavating by the River Thames in  London.

You can read the whole story here.

New information board marks the “Thing” on the Wirral

News today that a Viking Parliament site has been officially marked Thingwall - Viking parliament placeon the Wirral, north west England.   The site in the village of Thingwall is one of the earliest known assemblies or parliaments.

Professor Steve Harding of the University of Nottingham and Professor Judith Jesch, Director of the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, have been researching the Viking heritage of the area for many years.   They have worked with local councils and heritage groups to make the Viking legacy more visible to the modern population.

The Vikings arrived on the Wirral in AD902 and even today their presence remains in the genes of Wirral families with up to 50% of their DNA being of Norse origin. 

Professor Harding has now unveiled an historical information board to mark the Viking “Thing” or open air assembly place in the village of Thingwall.   It tells the story of the Viking arrival and settlement and their influence over the area, using pictures and maps.   The board faces Cross Hill, which is most likely to have been the site of the Thing Assembly, a place both for deciding policy and law and for meeting old friends.

It is now hoped to build a heritage trail from the board to the top of the Thing mound.  

You can read the whole story here.

Moaning Monks

Most people moan about their work from time to time.   Even those who really love the job, or whose hobby is their job, occasionally have bad days. And medieval monks were no different.illuminated medieval manuscript

The Western Daily Press has highlighted a number of comments and complaints that monks, toiling in the Scriptorium copying ancient manuscripts, added in the margin of their work.

The language may be old, but the sentiment could be of today.   Here are a few of the best:-

“Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides.”

“I am very cold.”

“Thank God, it will soon be dark.”

“St Patrick of Armagh, deliver me from writing.”

This is the link to the Western Daily Press article where you can read the whole story.



Published in: on January 17, 2015 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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King Harold Day 2014 – Procession and Ceremony

Here’s a video of the Procession through the town centre and the ceremony at the King Harold Memorial Stone in the Abbey Churchyard on King Harold Day at Waltham Abbey, Saturday 11 October 2014.   We were lucky with the weather, and it was a very successful day.

The day commemorates Harold Godwinsson, the last Anglo Saxon King of England, who was killed on 14 October 1066 at the Battle of Senlac Hill.

This is the link.

Published in: on October 26, 2014 at 2:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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A “Feudal” return to King Harold Day

It’ll be a welcome return for The Feudals re-enactment group at King Harold Day this
???????????????????????coming Saturday 11 October.   The Feudals were our first re-enactment group when King Harold Day started, and we thought it was time we invited them again.   Members of the group will be travelling from across the country for what will be the last event of their 2014 season.   They’ll set up their Village with medieval tents, where they’ll demonstrate medieval crafts, cook their food in the medieval way, and show visitors their arms and armour.   Twice during the day, at 11am and 3.15pm, they will perform in the Arena.   Engaging in archery, they will shoot for a prize and for the approval of the Queen and her Ladies in Waiting.

KHDay 2013(adj)102 (2)The medieval musicians, Squeake’s Noyse, will be playing at their tent and showing visitors their medieval musical instruments.

Coda Falconry will be with us.   The birds will be on show all day so visitors can get close to them, and at 11.30am and 2.45pm they will be flown from the Arena, no doubt soaring up into the trees and then returning to the falconer’s hand.

Chingford Morris will be performing their Mummers’ Play and dancing.Chingford Morris K H Day 2010  (300)

And there will be Have-a-Go Archery with Epping Archers. 

There will be animals to get close to, and bees in an observation hive.   The alpacas, which caused such a sensation in the last two years, will be with us again, and, big secret, a tiny horse.   Yes, we know it’s not medieval, but the lovely Copped Hall vintage Rolls Royce will be in attendance.

There will be Craft Stalls around the gardens and in the Abbey Church Centre. 

Five of Waltham Abbey’s primary schools will be taking part in an Art Exhibition which will be on display in the Abbey Church so do go and see the children’s work.   Hillhouse Primary, Leverton Infant & Nursery, Upshire Primary, Waltham Holy Cross Infant, and Waltham Holy Cross Juniors will be taking part.   Their work this year is part of the important new project for a Waltham Abbey Tapestry.   Bayeux has one, so why not Waltham Abbey.   The tapestry will portray the history of the town and its former and present
industries and attractions.   The primary schools were asked to design their ideas for subjects to be included in the tapestry’s panels.

In the Abbey Church, there will be a special concert recital at 12.30pm, part of the Grenville's tourMusic for Lunch series of professional concerts.   Ian McDonough, violin, and David Boarder, piano will play Sonata in G major, Brahms,  and Scherzo-Tarantelle, Wieniawski.  The concert is free with a retiring collection, and refreshments available from 12 noon.

There will be guided tours of the Abbey, (small charge for church funds), and a demonstration of traditional bread-making.        

Procession and Ceremony  –  At noon, the costumed performers and traders will gather outside Epping Forest District Museum at the end of Sun Street, and will walk in procession, led by the musicians and the Anglo Saxon flag, along Sun KHDay 2013(adj)086 (2)Street, through the Market Square, Church Street, and into the Abbey Churchyard, where a ceremony will take place at the King Harold Memorial Stone.   Flowers will be placed on the memorial stone by our principal guests, the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Cllr Tony Boyce, and the Mayor of Waltham Abbey, Cllr Ann Mitchell.   Waltham Abbey’s Town Crier, Peter Frost, will also be with us. 

King Harold Day will be held in the Abbey Church, the Abbey Churchyard and Abbey Gardens, (by kind permission of the Church authorities and Lee Valley Regional Park), from 10.00am to 4.00pm.  

Admission is £5 for adults, £3 for senior citizens; with children who are accompanied by an adult free of charge.