Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bath Abbey: When all that’s Left are Words…

I love visiting old cathedrals, churches, grave yards and monuments.

I know that some folks think that is weird, but hey –to each their own, right?

I just want to know who these people were. 

Who were the artisans who built this Abbey on this spot?  According to the history, there has been a church on this spot since 757 AD.  Stop to think about it!  Who were these people?

They had hopes for their lives, they had loves, they had laughter and sorrows, and most struggled to put a roof over their heads and food in their family’s bellies and hoped for old age just like we do today.


Beautiful stained glass windows!


The first King of all England, King Edgar was crowned on this site in 973.  The service set the precedent for the coronation of all future Kings and Queens of England including Elizabeth II.


That ceiling!

After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 by order of King Henry VIII, the Abbey lay in ruins for more than 70 years. 

It wasn’t until 1616, that much of the building we see today was repaired and in use as a parish church and over two hundred years later, in the 1830s, that local architect George Manners added new pinnacles and flying buttresses to the exterior and inside, built a new organ on a screen over the crossing, more galleries over the choir and installed extra seating.


When I look at things like this I guess I get a glimpse at how fleeting life really is and how quickly it passes for all of us….some quicker than others.


Markers in the floor, everywhere you step.


Often times,  the only thing left to give us a clue into the lives of others are the words chiseled into plaques, markers and headstones by the loved ones left behind.

I hope you can “Biggie size” these especially if you are on a mobile device to read them.  They are such a tribute!


Saying hello to Margaret Jopp.  I hope she is smiling.

Sometimes the words are funny!  Sometimes they are poignant and full of sorrow, sometimes they are praising for a life well lived.


I love the old English where s’s are f’s!


All behind protective glass.


Quite lengthy and wonderful!

I love the last part: This monument is erected as a tribute to his worth and excellence, and in testimony of the love and affection of his brother, captain George Gosling of the British Navy and the lasting sorrow of his afflicted relatives and friends.  SO MUCH EMOTION!


Wonderful stone work on this floor piece.


Very ornate.  How do they get marble to drape like linen? Baby girl Elizabeth, 1 1/2 years old.


Nine months three weeks.

My mother’s heart reaches out to these parents.

And this leaves me wondering….when all that is left of me are words, what will those words be?  What will the words left behind say about the life we lived?

I know this is a bit somber of a post, sometimes I wax reflective and this is one of those mornings!

It’s our last day in Birmingham, we are headed home TOMORROW!

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  1. Absolutely fascinating! I share your love of old headstones and the stories they represent that we can only guess at. The Abby pics are awe inspiring! Thanks.

  2. in a time with no photographs, words were all that was left to express and mourn....so poignant...safe travel!

  3. You will leave a special legacy of this blog, and of your quilt and their stories and labels. I have enjoyed your blog entries so much, and have learned so much about England that I never knew. Thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us.

  4. Bonnie, have you read Pillars of the Earth br Ken Follett? Fabulous work of giction, but tells the story of how some of these early cathedrals were built. One of the best books I've ever read.

  5. Pillars of the Earth - and its sequel World Without End - are among my favorite books. I love thmem on audiobook as the British reader is excellent.

    I've enjoyed your Bath ramblings. We spent 3 days there and wished we'd had more. We stayed in a wonderful old row house that was built right over the railroad tracks.

  6. Right beside you Bonnie as you tour through those cathedrals, cemeteries and old churches. Had a chance to see some amazing ones here in Norway.. Loving seeing your photos.

  7. Not somber at all Bonnie. A perfect post like a gentle church service on Sunday. Thank you.
    Hugs, JulieinTN

  8. what a beautiful place, thank you for sharing those poignant words

  9. Anonymous6:13 AM EDT

    I wonder if you have been able to hear any of the pipe organs played. My bucket is to hear as many of the old ones as I can.


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