A Human Chain to mark out the Great Abbey of Waltham

Help the town of Waltham Abbey FORGE NEW LINKS with our precious local history

Join LOTS of people taking part in a Human Chain, which will FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER stand along the outline of the ruins of the ENORMOUS Abbey of Waltham, which was destroyed in 1540.

Bring along your friends, family and neighbours.   All ages and abilities welcome  –  the more the merrier!

10:30 a.m. SATURDAY 19th JULY 2014
in the Abbey Gardens EN9 1XQ

Few people seem to know that the building we call the Abbey in today’s Waltham Abbey is only a small part of the Great Abbey of Waltham, built  by King Henry II as part of his penance for the murder of Thomas a Becket.

Now, as part of the 2014 Festival of Archaeology, Waltham Abbey Historical Society is planning a community event which the society is asking local residents and visitors to support. 

The Monastic Church of Waltham, (the true Abbey), built between 1177 and 1242 and destroyed by Henry VIII in 1540, was east of the current Parish Church and was also about three times larger.

From archaeological investigation in 1938 and confirmed more recently by ground-penetrating radar, we know the location and shape of the Monastic Church but very few local inhabitants are aware that such a magnificent building ever existed, and hardly anyone from outside the area knows.

Chairman of the Society, Chris Sumner says, “If we can bring a number of people together we could get them to stand along the outline of that church and then take an aerial photograph.   Firstly the persons taking part would then know about the church and secondly we could get some publicity for Waltham Abbey.”

And that’s what’s going to happen, so come along this Saturday, 19th July, at 10.30am to the Abbey Gardens at Waltham Abbey, EN9 1XQ, and be part of history.  

The Society aims to organize people quickly into position so there should not be a lot of waiting around for things to happen.

Here’s a plan of the outline of the Great Abbey which shows just how big it was.

Plan of outline of Great Abbey

Here’s what happened when a practice dummy run was held.   An extra body appeared in the line up, and it turned out to be a blow up doll!  Click here.