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.

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Thomas Tallis – a person of Waltham Abbey

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1585 of Thomas Tallis, considered one of England’s greatest early composers and having a most important place in the development of English sacred music.

During his working life he saw four monarchs, and the religion changed several times between Catholic and Protestant, yet he managed to survive.

For a period Thomas Tallis was organist at the Augustinian Great Abbey of Waltham until its dissolution in 1540 under Henry VIII.   Today we in the town of Waltham Abbey remember one of the most important people to have lived here.