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Special ceremony to welcome new Rector of Bath Abbey

The Revd Canon Guy Bridgewater will be licensed as the Rector of Bath Abbey in a special service of welcome in the Abbey on Monday 29 November at 7pm.

A formal induction ceremony will be led by The Right Reverend Peter Hancock, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and will establish Canon Bridgewater as the new Rector of Bath Abbey. He will be only the 29th Rector in the last 450 years. The Venerable Dr Adrian Youings, Archdeacon of Bath, the Abbey’s clergy and churchwardens will also be taking part in the ceremony which will formally mark the beginning of the Rector’s ministry.

During the ceremony the Bishop of Bath and Wells will read out the 'licence' – called “the cure of souls” – that authorises Canon Bridgewater to be Bath Abbey Rector, and hands it over with the words: “receive this cure of souls which is both yours and mine” symbolising the fact that Bishop and Rector share the responsibility for the spiritual care of the people of Bath Abbey and the wider community. Later, the Archdeacon of Bath will lead Canon Bridgewater to the church door and place his hand on it, signifying the new Rector’s “possession” of the Abbey. Once Canon Bridgewater has been installed as Rector of Bath Abbey, representatives of the community - both the church and the civic ones – will present symbols of his ministry including a bible, a prayer book, bread and wine.

The Abbey is expecting a large number of people to attend including members of the Abbey’s own community, Canon Bridgewater’s friends, family and many of the congregation from his former parish, as well as industry leaders and representatives from various charities and organisations across the city of Bath. In order to accommodate everyone who would like to be there, entry to the service will therefore be by ticket only and anyone who would like to be present is invited to apply for tickets via the Abbey website or the Abbey Office at 11A York Street.

Canon Bridgewater said: “I am deeply overwhelmed by the magnificent warm welcome to Bath Abbey, and by the honour of serving this great city - and I pray to become deserving of it. This is a thrilling time to be joining the Bath Abbey team, with the visionary ‘Footprint’ project helping us renew a bold vision of what it means to be ‘A People and Place Fully Alive’ at the heart of our city life.

“My own role as Rector is twofold within the Abbey; to be both at the centre of things, and at the edge of things. At the centre of the Abbey’s life, there is a need for spiritual leadership, prayer and pastoral care. At our public edge, I am keen to serve as an ambassador for the Christian faith, partnering with all kinds of local residents and groups – such as schools, businesses, charities & other churches – as we seek to enrich our community life together.

“I look forward enormously to getting to know the people of Bath, and learning from you about this fascinating home we share. Together with the whole Abbey family, as Rector I hope you will have a chance to come & experience the Abbey Church in person soon - to enjoy a sense of God’s presence, His loving welcome and invitation to belong. I look forward to meeting you!”

The service will be led by The Bishop of Bath & Wells. He said: “I am delighted to be officially welcoming and licencing Canon Bridgewater as Rector of Bath Abbey and to working in close partnership with him to serve the Bath Abbey community and all who live and work in  this special city.  Bath Abbey has a long and wonderful history and an exciting future ahead.  As the Abbey seeks to step out in mission and ministry with confidence and faith may God’s blessing and guidance be with Guy and all at the Abbey.”  

On the following Sunday, 2 December, The Revd Canon Guy Bridgewater will be welcomed to the Abbey with a special joint Eucharist service at 10.30am that will see the Venerable Dr Adrian Youings, Archdeacon of Bath, commissioning the full Abbey Chapter. Everyone is welcome to attend this service and ceremony and no tickets are required.

Canon Bridgewater is currently Team Rector and Rural Dean of Horsham, a role which he has held for eleven years. He was ordained in the Diocese of Salisbury in 1987 and has since served the church in many different ways. Prior to Horsham, he was Diocesan Missioner and Residentiary Canon in the Diocese of Gloucester. He has also held posts in Dorset, at Lee Abbey in Devon, and as Vicar of Cranbrook in Kent.

James Playfair, one of Bath Abbey’s Churchwardens, who was involved in the appointment of the new Rector, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Guy at a particularly exciting time in the Abbey’s history. Not only are we engaging with nearly half a million worshippers and visitors per year, we have just started work on our innovative Footprint project which will transform the Abbey and improve how we serve our congregations, the local communities and visitors. The Abbey needs the best leadership at this crucial time, and we are fortunate to have been able to appoint Guy. He will bring vision and leadership, and has the relevant skills and experience that we prayed for within our community.”

Please click here for further details about the Licensing service.
 

Bath Abbey launches new Behind-the-Scenes tours to share unique building project

Bath Abbey is launching new tours that will take visitors behind-the-scenes to see the incredible work that is taking place for the Footprint project. The tours will start on Monday 22 October and will give people an opportunity to see the work taking place to save the Abbey’s historic floor from collapse.

Visitors will visit parts of the Abbey that are usually off limits to members of the public. Thanks to experienced guides, those on the tour will learn about the historic ledgerstones that make up the Abbey floor, why the floor is collapsing, and the complex work carried out to repair the floor as part of the Footprint project, as well as some of the discoveries the archaeologists have found along the way. Tours will run on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am and last an hour and 15 minutes.

The East end of the Abbey building is currently closed off to the public as essential work to repair the historic church floor takes place. In addition to floor repairs, work for the Footprint project also includes installing a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s famous hot springs, and creating new spaces and facilities for all to use.

Ollie Taylor, Bath Abbey’s Head of Interpretation, Learning and Engagement, said: “The Abbey floor is unique; it is made up of 891 memorial stones, more than any other church in the country, but there’s no getting away from the fact that it is collapsing. The focus of our behind-the-scenes tours will be the restoration of the Abbey floor, which is a major conservation project in its own right. All the stones will be lifted from the floor, the surface beneath stabilised, and the stones repaired and relayed.

“Our tours will take you to where the repair and conservation work is taking place and look at the floor's history. We are extremely grateful to our team of volunteers who will be leading these tours. Most of them are closely connected to the Abbey and have been part of its community for years, so have many great stories about this beautiful place of worship and its people, past and present.”

Tours cost £10 per person and are free for B&NES Discovery Card holders. Tickets can be purchased from the Abbey Shop. As tours go into areas where building and conservation work is taking place, those going on them must wear hard hats, hi-vis jackets, and steel toe cap boots (all of which will be provided).  Because child-sizes of the protective clothing are not available at the moment, the tours are only offered to  those over 16 years of age. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Please click here for further information about the tours.

Locals invited to discover Abbey floor repairs using biscuits

Great Bath Bake Sale, 6 October 2018

Bath Abbey is inviting families to discover how the Abbey’s historic floor is being saved from collapse using nothing but biscuits and icing to bring the restoration process to life.

As part of the Great Bath Bake Sale on Saturday 6 October, children will be able to take part in a biscuit mending and decorating activity that has been inspired by the Footprint Project which is currently underway in the Abbey. A major part of Footprint is to repair the Abbey’s unique floor which is collapsing. This will involve repairing, recording and restoring all 891 ledgerstones that make up the floor and installing eco-friendly heating using water from the Roman Baths.

Bath Abbey’s annual Great Bath Bake Sale will also see charities banding together to sell home-baked cakes, treats and goodies to raise money for the Footprint Project as well as other good causes. Charities taking part this year selling mouth-watering treats include: Foodcycle, Genesis Trust, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, 9th Bath Brownies, Focus Counselling Bath, Bath Welcomes Refugees, Triumph Over Phobia.

Oliver Taylor, Head of Interpretation, Learning and Engagement at Bath Abbey, said: “The Great Bath Bake Sale is now in its fifth year but this is the first year it has taken place since the work for the Footprint Project has started. We’re really looking forward to running the biscuit mending activity with children which has been inspired by the restoration of our amazing ledgerstone-covered floor. It’s a fantastic opportunity to talk about what’s happening at the Abbey, and, even better, children will be able to take away the biscuits they mend!”

The Deputy Mayor of Bath, Councillor Dr Anthony Clarke will declare the Bake Sale officially open at 11am and the Sale closes at 3pm. Teas, coffees and squash drinks will also be available to wash down all the wonderful cake.

Please click here for further information on the Great Bath Bake Sale.

Rare 700 year old floor discovered by archaeologists at Bath Abbey

Archaeologists have discovered a stunning 13th century tiled floor during renovation works for Bath Abbey’s Footprint Project. The vividly coloured tiles were discovered around 2m below the current Abbey floor level and have not been seen in 500 years. They give a unique glimpse of what the interior of the grand Norman cathedral, which once stood on the site, would have looked like.

Cai Mason, Senior Project Officer for Wessex Archaeology said: “For the archaeologists involved this is probably a once in a lifetime find.

“The trench in which the tiled floor was discovered was excavated during vital repair and stabilisation work to the Abbey’s collapsing floor. The work is part of the £19.3 million Heritage Lottery supported Footprint Project which will also create new spaces and facilities for the community and install an eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s famous thermal spring.”

The 700-year-old floor is currently being painstakingly recorded by the archaeologists and will eventually form part of a 3D model encompassing all the excavations within the Abbey.

The tiles will be preserved in situ; covered by a protective membrane and a layer of inert sand before the floor layers are built back up again to their present level.

Charles Curnock, Footprint Project Director, said: “As part of the Footprint Project, we are digging beneath the Abbey in order to save the historic floor which is collapsing. We have been surprised and thrilled by the beautiful medieval tiles that Wessex Archaeology have just found as they dig down through the different layers of history below the floor.

“We have always known that before the current Gothic church was built there stood a Norman Cathedral and before that an Anglo-Saxon monastery. Lifting the pews and repairing the floor as part of the Footprint project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; it will mean that we can maintain and make improvements to this beautiful building, and change how it can be used to better serve the city, visitors and future generations. However, a massive bonus is that it has allowed us to discover important parts of the heritage; things like these beautiful tiles which are being seen for the first time in centuries.  If it wasn’t for the work carried out for the Footprint project we would have no idea they were here."

The floor is composed of exquisite tiles which are attributed to the Wessex School; a series of designs derived from tiles laid at Clarendon Palace, east of Salisbury. Other examples of these tile designs are known from Bath, Wells, Bristol and Glastonbury.

The three golden lions on a red shield is the coat of arms of the Plantagenet kings. The three red chevrons on a gold shield is the coat of arms of the de Clare family, powerful Norman marcher barons who held the earldoms of Gloucester and Hertford as well as land in both Wales and Ireland. The family line came to an end when Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Gloucester and cousin of Edward II, died at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Construction of the vast Norman cathedral began in 1088, following a rebellion against the succession of William II, ‘Rufus’, which had led to the town and the Abbey being ransacked and burned. The new building was on such a massive scale that the present Abbey fits snuggly within the cathedral’s nave.

By the late-15th century the cathedral and the cloistral buildings were described as being in a ruinous state. Bishop King embarked on rebuilding the church in an ambitious and distinctive new style and, although not consecrated, the building was substantially complete by the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in the late 1530s.

To find out more and here archaeologist, Cai Mason talking about this incredible find, click here.

NOW FULLY BOOKED: Tour behind-the-scenes of Bath Abbey’s amazing building project as Heritage Open Days returns

NOW FULLY BOOKED!
We've had such an amazing response to these tours that they're now all fully booked. Good news for those who missed out this time. We're are planning more Behind the Scenes tours to start in October and a Discovery Day for 7-11 year olds during October half-term. Please keep checking our website and social media for more info
.

Put on your hard hats and join an experienced guide for a very special behind the scenes tour of Bath Abbey’s once-in-a-lifetime Footprint project as a team of engineers, conservationists and builders work alongside staff and volunteers to save the historic floor from collapse.

Tours run at various times from Thursday 13 to Saturday 15 September and will be free during Heritage Open Days. As protective clothing and footwear will be provided and must be worn throughout the tour, booking is essential on 01225 422462 or office@bathabbey.org.

The East End of the Abbey building is currently closed off to the public as essential work takes place to repair the historic church floor. This work is being carried out as part of the Abbey’s Heritage Lottery funded Footprint project to secure this historic church and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city. In addition to floor repairs, work includes installing a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s famous hot springs, and creating new spaces and facilities for all to use.

Ollie Taylor, Head of Interpretation, Learning and Engagement, said: “The Abbey floor is unique; it is made up of 891 memorial stones, more than any other church in the country, but there’s no getting away from the fact that it is collapsing. The focus of our Heritage Open Days tours will be the restoration of the Abbey floor, which is a major conservation project in its own right. All the stones will be lifted from the floor, the surface beneath repaired, and the stones relayed.

“From 13 to 15 September, as part of Heritage Open Days, visitors will get to take a sneak peek behind the hoardings inside Bath Abbey at where the floor is being repaired and the memorial stones are being conserved. It is a rare chance to visit parts of the Abbey that are now off limits to the public, and discover just why there are so many stones, why the floor is collapsing, and the complex work carried out to repair the floor as part of Footprint, as well as some of the things the team of archaeologists have found out along the way.”  

As the Footprint building work and floor repairs progress from the East end of the Abbey to the nave and other areas, there are plans to offer visitors behind-the-scenes tours more regularly.

There are still spaces available for the Heritage Open Day tours on Thursday 13 September, 2pm and 3.30pm; Friday 14 September 10am, 11.30am, 2pm and 3.30pm and Saturday 15 September at 10am, 11.30am, 2pm and 3.30pm. Visitors are asked to wear socks on the day and to give their UK shoe size on booking. As the Abbey’s Heritage Open Days tours go into areas where building and conservation work is taking place, tours are suitable only for those over 16 years of age. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Please book your place before 5 September, 12pm, by contacting the Bath Abbey Office on 01225 422462 or office@bathabbey.org

Friends of Bath Abbey donate £700,000 to Footprint Project

The Friends of Bath Abbey has donated a further £50,000 to the Abbey’s Footprint project, bringing their total support for Footprint to over £700,000. This additional generous donation will be matched by an anonymous donor from the Bath Percent Club, giving £100,000 to the project.

The Friends of Bath Abbey is a group of nearly 400 members who help to preserve, care for and add to the Abbey’s architecture and history. The group has been in existence for almost 70 years and has played a major role in embellishments, restoration work and refurbishment of the Abbey.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Footprint project is a £19.3 million programme of capital works and interpretation which will repair the Abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s hot springs, and provide new, improved space and facilities to ensure the Abbey is more sustainable, hospitable and useable for local residents, worshippers and visitors alike.

Jeff Jupp, Chair of The Friends of Bath Abbey, said: “The Friends are delighted to be able to help Footprint with this additional gift. When we heard there was the possibility of matched funding from another donor, effectively doubling its value, we reviewed our finances again and the Committee approved turning our previous offer of a back-up loan into an outright gift available immediately.”

During the planning for the Footprint project, the Abbey received a grant of £10.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as additional funds from private individuals, trusts and organisations including The Friends of Bath Abbey, as well as the Abbey’s own congregation and visitors. The Abbey now has just over £1 million left to raise.

Charles Curnock, Footprint Project Director, said: “We are extremely grateful to The Friends of Bath Abbey for this donation and to the anonymous donor from the Bath Percent Club who will match the amount given. This money will be a huge help towards completing the funding of the vital and essential work which is the Footprint project and which now, thanks to generous donations like this, is well underway.”

The East end of the Abbey is currently closed off while the floor is stabilised and restored, and vaults beneath Abbey Chambers are being excavated as part of the first phase of building works for Footprint. The Abbey will remain open as usual throughout the project work.

If you would like to know more about the Footprint project, please visit www.bathabbey.org/footprint or follow @bathabbey on Facebook and Twitter.

New Rector of Bath Abbey appointed

Bath Abbey is pleased to announce today that the Revd Canon Guy Bridgewater is to be the new Rector of Bath Abbey, starting at the end of this year.

Canon Bridgewater is currently Team Rector and Rural Dean of Horsham, a role which he has held for eleven years. He was ordained in the Diocese of Salisbury in 1987 and has since served the church in many different ways. Prior to Horsham, he was Diocesan Missioner and Residentiary Canon in the Diocese of Gloucester. He has also held posts in Dorset, at Lee Abbey in Devon, and as Vicar of Cranbrook in Kent. The exact date of his licensing and induction is yet to be confirmed but it is expected that this will be in November.

Commenting on his appointment Canon Bridgewater said: “What an overwhelming privilege it is, to be asked to join the wonderful team at Bath Abbey. Serving the heart of the City in worship and hospitality and justice, seeking to be "A People and Place Fully Alive" with the glory of God ... to be a small part of that noble Abbey vision is the greatest honour I can imagine. My wife, Jebs, and I are thrilled by the invitation, and we look forward enormously to the challenges and joys of ministry in this great City"

James Playfair, one of Bath Abbey’s Churchwardens, who was involved in the appointment of the new Rector, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Guy at a particularly exciting time in the Abbey’s history. Not only are we engaging with nearly half a million worshippers and visitors per year, we have just started work on our innovative Footprint project which will transform the Abbey and improve how we serve our congregations, the local communities and visitors. The Abbey needs the best leadership at this crucial time, and we are fortunate to have been able to appoint Guy. He will bring vision and leadership, and has the relevant skills and experience that we prayed for within our community.”

The Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, said: “I am delighted that Guy Bridgewater is to be the new Rector of Bath Abbey and I look forward to welcoming Guy and Jebs to the diocese. Bath Abbey has a long and wonderful history and an exciting future ahead.  As the Abbey seeks to step out in mission and ministry with confidence and faith may God’s blessing and guidance be with you all”.  

Eye-catching artworks transform hoardings at Bath Abbey

A series of colourful artworks are being displayed both outside and inside Bath Abbey – showing that construction hoardings do not always have to be bland or lined with advertising.

Local school children have teamed up with Bath Abbey and local charity 5x5x5=creativity to produce a giant collage that will greet passers-by while building and restoration work is carried out as part of the Abbey’s  Footprint project. At the same time, a hand-stitched altar frontal by Stitch Friday, a needlework group from St John’s Foundation, and designs by pupils from Three Ways School in Bath decorate the hoardings inside the Abbey.

As essential works begin on the Footprint project to repair the Abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-heating system using Bath’s hot springs, and to create new and improved facilities underground, workers from Bath building firm Emery’s have put up protective barriers in and around the Abbey.

Rather than leaving these plain and unadorned, staff at Bath Abbey decided to make the most of the hoardings by inviting school children and a local community group to create artwork for these.

Ollie Taylor, Head of Interpretation, Learning and Engagement at Bath Abbey, who worked with the schools and St John’s Foundation on the artwork projects, said: “Footprint is very much a project with people at its heart. We’re so grateful to the St John’s stitching group, the artist, Stephen Magrath, and the pupils and staff from the various schools for their hard work and creativity. They really understood what the Abbey represents, and we hope people enjoy the wonderful artwork they’ve produced. As part of Footprint, we’ll have new learning and discovery spaces that will provide us with even more opportunities where we can work closely with schools and local community groups, and for local people to engage with the Abbey in new ways.”

The artwork displayed on the hoardings inside the Abbey, closing off the east end for essential works, is inspired by the service of Holy Communion. It represents an altar frontal combining needlework by Stitch Friday of the sun, an overflowing chalice, and a dove representing the Holy Trinity, and designs of bread and wine by pupils from Three Way School. It took six months to complete with ten members of the Stitch Friday group from The Bubble at St John’s Foundation spending over 500 hours cutting, stitching and decorating every element by hand, while students from Three Ways School worked with local artist, Stephen Magrath to create artwork for the top of the altar.  

Jill Perry, leader of the Stitch Friday group said: “We were delighted to have this opportunity to work with the Abbey and for our work to be seen by the thousands of people who visit. I’m so proud of our combined efforts, both the students and my fellow stitchers have really worked hard on our different pieces to create something that’s bright, colourful and eye-catching but is also meaningful, and we can’t wait to see it all come together.”

Also inspired by the Abbey’s role as a church in the centre of Bath, the artwork outside the Abbey is shaped like its stained glass windows and is made up of many individual drawings representing the Abbey’s core values of worship, hospitality, and justice. These gorgeous collages are the combined talents of pupils from the Year 5-6 year group from St Andrew’s Church School (Bath), a Year 9 class from Ralph Allen School (Bath) and the Reception class at St Vigor and St John Church School (Chilcompton). The schools’ artwork was supported by a grant from the Theatre Royal Bath Creative Fund. 

Charlotte Buckley, a teacher at St Andrew’s Church School, said: “The children have really enjoyed working on this wonderful project. Some of our pupils were already familiar with the Abbey having either visited it with the school or their family. However, through this project, they have all learnt more about this beautiful and historic church and the various roles it plays within the city. Above all, the class is proud to see their pictures on display right in the centre of Bath.”

To read the press release in full, please click here.

Over 100 people abseil down Bath Abbey Tower

Raising money for Genesis Trust & Bath Abbey Footprint Project

On 6th and 7th July 104 brave people, including Olympic Gold Medallist Amy Williams MBE, took part in a once in a lifetime opportunity to abseil off the top of the Bath Abbey tower, 49 meters above the city. Almost £18,000 has been raised so far for the Genesis Trust, supporting vulnerable and homeless people locally, and Bath Abbey’s Footprint Project. The total is expected to rise.

The Revd Stephen Girling, Acting Rector of Bath Abbey who was one of the first people to abseil, said: “It was great meeting such a varied and lovely group of people at the abseil. We really appreciate the support of everyone involved, those who gave generously or turned up on the day to cheer us on. The team from Dave Talbot Adventure Events which operated the abseil were brilliant, as were the abseilers themselves. A special thank you to the Brownsword Charitable Foundation who will be doubling any donations to Footprint from this abseil challenge. The money raised will help the Abbey’s Footprint project to secure the Abbey building and improve our hospitality, worship and service to the city, as well as support the Genesis Trust in its shared mission to offer hope, support and a future to homeless and vulnerable people in Bath.”

Participants had to climb 212 steps to the top of the tower, taking in stunning views, before abseiling three-quarters of the way to the bottom. They were cheered on by supporters at ground level.

Nick Mayo, CEO at Genesis Trust, said: “A big thank you to all the amazing abseilers, old and young, who bravely took on the heights this weekend. We could not be more grateful and humbled by the support of our neighbours. The money raised will go towards providing immediate practical help to people who are hungry, homeless and vulnerable in the Bath area and offering long-term opportunities for them to rebuild their lives.”

Three Ways School and St John’s Foundation create artwork for Abbey’s hoardings

Bath Abbey has teamed up with Three Ways School in Bath and Stitch Friday, a needlework group from St John’s Foundation, to create special artwork that will go on display in the Abbey later this month.

Inspired by the service of Holy Communion, the artwork represents an altar frontal that will be installed on construction hoardings inside the Abbey as part of the Footprint project.

The piece is a combination of needlework by Stitch Friday featuring the sun, an overflowing chalice, and a dove representing the Holy Trinity, and designs of bread and wine by pupils from Three Way School. It took six months to complete with ten members of the Stitch Friday group from The Bubble at St John’s Foundation spending over 500 hours cutting, stitching and decorating every element by hand while students from Three Ways School worked with local artist, Stephen Magrath to create artwork for the top of the altar.  

The hoardings have been put up inside the Abbey by Bath building firm Emery’s to close off the east end of the church. This is so that essential work to repair the Abbey’s collapsing historic floor, install a new eco-heating system using Bath’s hot springs, and create new and improved facilities underground can be carried out as part of the Abbey’s Footprint project.

Ollie Taylor, Head of Interpretation, Learning and Engagement at Bath Abbey, said: “Footprint is very much a project with people at its heart. We’re so grateful to the St John’s stitching group, the artist, Stephen Magrath, and the pupils from Three Ways for their hard work and creativity. They really understood what the Abbey represents. As part of Footprint, we’ll have new learning and discovery spaces that will provide us with even more opportunities where we can work closely with schools and local community groups.”

Jill Perry, leader of the  Stitch Friday group said: “We were delighted to have this opportunity to work with the Abbey and for our work to be seen by the thousands of people who visit. I’m so proud of our combined efforts, both the students and my fellow stitchers have really worked hard on our different pieces to create something that’s bright, colourful and eye-catching but is also meaningful, and we can’t wait to see it all come together.”

In addition to artwork inside the church, the external hoardings surrounding the Abbey will be decorated with artwork by local schools. The hoardings will also feature information and colourful graphics about the Footprint project including a series of characters from the Abbey’s past introducing the new spaces and facilities that the project will create.

Charles Curnock, Footprint Project Director, said: “The building work that is currently taking place in the Abbey and the plans to preserve the collapsing floor and install new heating are vital to the Abbey’s future. However, it is important for us that the Footprint project isn’t just about bricks and mortar; it’s equally about people. Footprint will secure the Abbey building for future generations to enjoy, as well as creating new spaces that will allow us to connect and develop our work with the local community.”

The Footprint project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is a £19.3 million programme to secure the Abbey building and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city. To find out more about how to support Bath Abbey’s Footprint project, visit www.bathabbey.org/footprint. Your donations will be generously matched by the Brownsword Charitable Foundation. This means that any donation you give to the Footprint project will automatically be doubled: if you donate £10, the Brownsword Charitable Foundation will also give £10 - your £10 donation is worth £20 to Footprint! Simply use the reference ‘FPBF’ when donating.

Donations for Abbey’s abseilers will be doubled by Brownsword Charitable Foundation

On 6th and 7th July 100 people will abseil from the top of the Abbey tower to raise money for the Abbey’s Footprint project and Genesis Trust. Donations for Footprint will be generously doubled by the Brownsword Charitable Foundation.

The Brownsword Charitable Foundation is well known in Bath for its generous philanthropy to various charities and good causes and has helped the Abbey to raise vital funds for Footprint.

Charles Curnock, Footprint Project Director at Bath Abbey, said: “We are extremely grateful for this generous offer from the Brownsword Charitable Foundation. Money raised for Footprint will help with our vital and essential work to repair the Abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-heating system using Bath’s hot springs, and create new and improved facilities underground.”

There are a few places still remaining for intrepid fundraisers with a head for heights. To take part in ‘Leap of Faith!’ visit http://genesistrust.org.uk/leap-of-faith/. All participants will be given training and supervision by a professional abseiling team, who are organising the logistics. Registration is £30 and minimum sponsorship is £150. ‘Leap of Faith!’, has been arranged by local charity Genesis Trust.

Nick Mayo, Chief Executive of Genesis Trust, comments: “We are absolutely delighted by the support we have received for this fundraising abseil from Bath Abbey and the city as a whole. The Leap of Faith! will enable us support homeless and vulnerable people across the city and work with them towards a better future.”

Stephen Girling, Acting Rector of Bath Abbey, who will himself be one of the abseilers taking part, said: “We’re really looking forward to this event and having the opportunity to raise vital funds for both Footprint and Genesis. Part of the Abbey’s mission is to support the work of Genesis Trust in the city so this is a fantastic opportunity for us to work together.”

What is happening inside the Abbey at the East end?

All fixed furniture, including the pews, in the Abbey, are being removed in order to repair the Abbey’s historic floor which is collapsing. The Choir stalls and hand-carved pews known as the Corporation Stalls, will be reinstated while the majority of the Abbey nave will remain open and free of any pews.

This work is being carried out as part of the Abbey’s Heritage Lottery Fund supported Footprint project to secure the Abbey building and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city. In addition to floor repairs, work includes installing a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s famous hot springs, and creating new and improved spaces and facilities for all to use.

Over the next few months, the East end of the Abbey will be closed off to visitors while the floor is being restored. Once work on the Footprint project is completed in 2-3 years’ time, the Abbey will look and feel more open, making it much more accessible and user-friendly for contemporary worship and events. The open layout will return the Abbey nave to what it would have been like originally, pre-1860. It will also mean that for the first time in over 150 years, hundreds of the Abbey’s historic ledger stones, previously hidden beneath the pews, will once again be seen, revealing a whole layer of 17th and 18th century ancestry and heritage.
 

Genesis Trust and Bath Abbey launch ‘Leap of Faith!’

Be the first to abseil down the Abbey Tower

On 6th and 7th July Genesis Trust Bath and Bath Abbey are inviting  100 brave people to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity to abseil off the top of the Bath Abbey tower, 49 meters above the city. The aim is to raise £20,000 for the Genesis Trust, supporting vulnerable and homeless people locally, and Bath Abbey’s Footprint Project.

Bath Abbey is the last great medieval cathedral to have been built in England and from its highest point offers stunning vistas across the city of Bath and beyond. Venturing up 212 steps to the top of the tower, participants will be harnessed to a rope before they abseil three-quarters of the way to the bottom, something which has never been done before.

Registration is £30 and minimum sponsorship is £150. The ‘Leap of Faith!’ is open to everyone on a first come first served basis. Simply visit genesistrust.org.uk/leap-of-faith to secure a place. All participants will be given training and supervision by a professional abseiling team, who are organising the logistics.

Nick Mayo, Chief Executive of the Genesis Trust comments: “Leap of Faith! is a wonderful opportunity for the whole of Bath to get together in the heart of the city to help our most marginalised neighbours and contribute to the Abbey Footprint Project. We are so grateful to our partners at Bath Abbey for their commitment to our vital work helping vulnerable people overcome incredibly complex problems, and ultimately reach new heights.”

Stephen Girling, Acting Rector of Bath Abbey, will himself be one of the abseilers taking part: “The Bath Abbey is such an iconic building right in the heart of Bath; abseiling down the side of it is guaranteed to be a truly memorable experience. What makes it all the more special is that there’s a greater purpose – raising valuable funds. Part of the Abbey’s mission is to support the work of Genesis Trust in the city, so we’re delighted to be working together.”

Genesis Trust brings the local community together to offer immediate practical help to people who are hungry, homeless and vulnerable and provide long-term opportunities for them to rebuild their lives. Bath Abbey’s Footprint Project will repair Bath Abbey’s collapsing floor and install an eco-friendly heating system, powered by Bath’s natural hot springs. It will also ensure that the Abbey is more hospitable for its visitors – improving the facilities and expanding its capacity by 200 square meters. This adventurous fundraising effort will provide vital momentum to the future plans of both organisations.

Those who don’t like heights are welcome to come along on the day to get involved from ground level. There will be courtyard music and an opportunity to find out more about the work that Genesis Trust and Bath Abbey are doing to make things better for people and planet in our beautiful city.

If you'd like to support our brave abseilers and would like to give a donation, please click here to access our Just Giving page.
 

Countdown to the Footprint project...

After many years of planning, the Abbey's ambitious Footprint project will commence on Monday 21 May.

Footprint is a multi-million pound programme of capital works and interpretation which will provide innovative and sustainable solutions to our needs including:

  • Creating new spaces for all - making the Abbey more accessible by providing modern meeting, catering and toilet facilities.
  • Enriching worship - providing a more comfortable worshipping space and building a new Song School.
  • Reducing our carbon footprint - installing an eco-friendly heating system using energy from Bath's natural hot springs and installing energy-efficient lighting.
  • Repairing the Abbey floor - repairing and stabilising the Abbey's collapsing floor.
  • Retelling the ancient story - creating a Discovery Centre that will tell the story and history of the Abbey.

In order to repair the collapsing floor, the pews will be lifted, exposing the floor for the first time in 150 years. The work inside the Abbey will begin at the east end. 

Click here to find out more about the Footprint project.

Local contractor appointed by Bath Abbey’s Footprint project

Bath Abbey has appointed Bath-based firm Emery to deliver the building work for its £19.3 million Footprint project, with work inside and outside the Abbey due to start at the end of May.

Following a European-wide competition process, Emery, a family-run building contractor established in 1947, was selected and will be working in partnership with two other local companies, Wheeler's in Westbury who will carry out the electrical and mechanical work, and SSHConservation in Wells will be responsible for the stonework.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Footprint project is a £19.3 million programme of capital works and interpretation which will repair the Abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s hot springs, and provide new, improved space and facilities to ensure the Abbey is more sustainable, hospitable and useable for local residents, worshippers and visitors alike.

Charles Curnock, Bath Abbey’s Footprint Project Director, said: “We are pleased to announce Emery as lead contractor with SSH Conservation and Wheeler’s as subcontractors, and look forward to the work commencing on-site. While we received a high calibre of tenders from all across Europe, we are very pleased to be working with companies who are based in the South West. This appointment is another major step forward for the Footprint programme which has been in planning and development for the last nine years.”

Julian Emery, managing director of Emery, said: “As a locally based company, we are delighted to be given the opportunity to work on the Footprint project. It is a fantastic project not just for the Abbey but for Bath as a whole. It has really captured everyone’s imagination, especially the prospect of having an eco-friendly heating system using some of the energy from Bath’s famous hot springs. We're also pleased to be able to support the local economy by using businesses from the area whenever possible during the build programme and look forward to bringing to life the Abbey’s vision to make it fit-for-purpose for future generations.”

Wessex Water will be digging and laying pipes that will carry hot water from the Roman Baths into the new eco-heating system. The Abbey has also appointed Wessex Archaeology from Salisbury to work alongside the building contractors to document and interpret any objects that may be uncovered by the excavation.

To find out more about how to support Bath Abbey’s Footprint project, visit www.bathabbey.org/footprint. Your donations will be generously matched by the Brownsword Charitable Foundation. This means that any donation you give to the Footprint project will automatically be doubled: if you donate £10, the Brownsword Charitable Foundation will also give £10 - your £10 donation is worth £20 to Footprint! Simply use the reference ‘FPBF’ when donating.
 

Bath Abbey receives go-ahead to use Bath’s hot springs for eco-heating project

Bath Abbey has been granted a lease of rights by B&NES Council to use some of the energy in Bath’s famous hot springs for an innovative eco-heating system to heat the Abbey and surrounding buildings.

Every day, a quarter of a million gallons of hot water flow from the Sacred Spring underneath the Roman Baths complex and through the Great Roman Drain into the nearby River Avon. This underground journey takes it directly past the Abbey. If harnessed correctly and converted as part of the Abbey and B&NES Council’s joint initiative, it could produce 1.5 megawatts of continuous energy – more than enough to heat the Abbey and surrounding buildings.

As part of the Abbey’s ambitious Footprint project – which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund – engineers plan to install heat exchangers in the Great Roman Drain which will capture the energy in the hot water and transform it into renewable energy. This will form part of a unique underground heating system that will be then used to heat the Abbey and other buildings.

Charles Curnock, Footprint Project Director from Bath Abbey, said: “This is a truly exciting and inventive way of tapping into Bath’s most famous resource to create sustainable energy. As far as we know, it has never been done before on this scale, and we are thrilled to be working with the Roman Baths and other departments of B&NES Council on this unique project. By granting us the lease of rights, the Council has set us on our way to providing a sustainable and eco-friendly solution for both the Abbey and the city of Bath by capturing this incredible and ancient natural resource which is currently unused.

“This a major change for the Abbey, but one which is vital now and for future generations. Our current heating system dates back to the Victorian era, is extremely inefficient and expensive to maintain. This combined with the work we’re doing as part of our wider Footprint project to repair the Abbey’s collapsing floor makes this the ideal time for us to consider a new underfloor heating system.”

The initial trials and investigations for the project have already taken place, and more planning and development is being carried out before further building work on the Abbey’s Footprint programme starts. Wessex Water will be digging and laying pipes that will carry hot water from the Roman Baths into the new eco-heating system. Any modern elements of the system would be hidden underground and an archaeologist will be working alongside the engineers to document any artefacts that may be uncovered by the required excavations.

Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath and Liberal Democrat spokesperson for communities and local government said: “This is a progressive, sustainable project for the Abbey, yet remains
quintessentially Bath. This collaboration is a real achievement, and everyone should feel proud that they are adding to Bath’s heritage in an environmentally friendly manner. Along with the wider Footprint Project, it will really add value to the city. I look forward to attending services knowing the building is heated by the same water to which Bath owes its very existence.”

To find out more about how to support Bath Abbey’s Footprint project, visit www.bathabbey.org/footprint. Your donations will be generously matched by the Brownsword Charitable Foundation. This means that any donation you give to the Footprint project will automatically be doubled: if you donate £10, the Brownsword Charitable Foundation will also give £10 - your £10 donation is worth £20 to Footprint! Simply use the reference ‘FPBF’ when donating.

Abbey receives permission to remove pews

We were very pleased to learn yesterday evening that an application for permission to appeal against the decision regarding future seating in the Abbey has been refused, enabling the Abbey's Footprint programme to now go ahead without the threat of another court hearing. This means that, once the collapsing floor has been repaired, the Abbey has permission to reveal the historic floor of the Abbey for the first time in 150 years and to use comfortable chairs in the main body of the church. This is a vital part of our Footprint Project - to find out more about our future plans for the Abbey, click here.

New exhibition opens in Bath Abbey to mark lead up to Easter

A new exhibition opens in Bath Abbey today featuring a series of 12 pictures by Bath-based artist, Marco Cazzulini. The exhibition - Communion, a visual response to the Psalms - will mark the lead up to Easter, when the Abbey recollects the final journey of Christ to his death in Jerusalem.

The pictures are based on the Psalms from the Old Testament and illustrate themes common to our humanity and the humanity of Christ on his journey through opposition and betrayal.

The exhibition will be on display from 14 February to 2 April and will be supported by a series of four evening talks which will illuminate the pictures and make connections with the biblical account of Christ’s journey. Evening talks will take place every Wednesday from 28 February to 21 March, 7:15pm - 9pm.

The artist, Marco Cazzulini, said, “I was prompted by a desire to engage with the Psalms as they continue to reveal themselves within the heart of our humanity. It is an inward journey that rises upward and outward to God. It is a singular approach to a book that is at once deeply personal yet universally luminous. From the individual lament through to communal thanksgiving the scope of the Psalms is broad, rich and provocative.

“To exhibit within Bath Abbey, during Lent, is special. It sets the artworks into a larger context and I hope they will become pieces through which people can pause and reflect on image and original Psalm.”

Stephen Girling, Acting Rector of Bath Abbey said, “We are delighted to be hosting these pictures, the first time they have been on public display.  Marco has immense technical skill, a sincere Christian faith and a deep desire to understand our relationship with God.  We hope these pictures and the accompanying talks will enrich the lives of many as we approach Easter and consider our own humanity in the light of Christ."

Bath’s top spot for romance

Bath Abbey’s historic Tower was the site of 38 marriage proposals last year as individuals climbed 212 steps to the top of the city landmark to pop the question to their loved ones.

The Abbey has been offering visitors tours of its Tower for nearly ten years but only launched its Romantic Tower Tours a few years ago. Since its first Romantic Tower Tour in 2012, over 180 couples have enjoyed this experience. The couples range from those who live locally to as far afield as Australia and the United States with reasons for taking the tour including being on honeymoon or wanting to celebrate a wedding anniversary. Increasingly, the Abbey’s Tower Tour Guides have reported a trend in visitors surprising their partners with marriage proposals while on a Romantic Tower Tour.

Holly Doughty, Events and Tower Tour Lead, said: “We usually get special requests from one of the couples, so we tend to know in advance but we of course never give the surprise away. Usually we’re hidden around the corner waiting for the “Yes!” before we appear with a bottle of champagne to congratulate the happy couple. 

We’ve been running Romantic Tower Tours for more than five years now and usually get a couple of proposals each month but it’s always still really fun for us. The best part is that we can claim a 100% success rate. All proposals made up here have ended up with a happy engagement! At 49 metres high, surrounded by stunning 360 degree views of Bath, love definitely must be in the air up here!”
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, why not book a Tower Tour for two for a fun and imaginative way to celebrate the day? Tailored for two, couples will get to spend quality time together at the top of the tower enjoying glasses of champagne surrounded by spectacular views of the city.

Other highlights include sitting behind the Abbey clock-face, chiming the Abbey bells and standing on top of the famous vaulted ceiling.

To book a Romantic Tower Tour, contact Holly Doughty, Bath Abbey’s Tower Tour and Events Lead, today on: 01225 422462 or towertours@bathabbey.org. Prices start from £100 (per couple) depending on timings and availability.

Bath Abbey also offers Tower Tours for individual visitors and groups. Tickets cost £8 per adult, £4 per child. The fully guided tour takes 45 - 50 minutes and tickets can be purchased from the Abbey shop on the day only. Group bookings need to be booked in advance.

For more information, please see www.bathabbey.org/towertours

Celebration of Ministry of Rector of Bath Abbey

The Revd Edward Mason retired from his role as the Rector of Bath Abbey after 13 years of service to the city and the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

A special service of thanksgiving and celebration of Edward’s ministry was held yesterday (Sunday 7 January) at the Abbey. Over 500 people including friends, family, the Abbey community as well as industry leaders and representatives from the city’s various charities joined together to say farewell to Edward and his wife, Hilary, and to wish them well for the future. A formal presentation thanking Edward for his service was made by the Archdeacon of Bath, Revd Dr Adrian Youings, and the Abbey’s Churchwardens, Dr James Playfair and Mrs Liz Westbrook.

In addition to his role as Rector, Edward is also a Chaplain to Her Majesty The Queen. He will continue to serve in this role after his retirement.

On announcing his retirement to the Abbey community, Edward said, “I have enjoyed my time here at Bath Abbey and in Bath immensely. Being rector of this busy, thriving church in the heart of Bath has been a wonderful experience and a privilege. In my 13 years as rector, the Abbey has undergone many changes and it will continue to do so in order to adapt to and meet the needs of the community. There is now a very strong team, both lay and ordained, staff and volunteers, here at the Abbey and I am confident that the Abbey will continue to thrive under their guidance.”

"The timing is also right on a personal level. My wife and I have our sixth grandchild on the way, so I will be busier than ever! I also expect to continue serving the church in other ways. My passion has always been for sharing the Christian message and I hope to have more time to focus on specific interests, especially supporting the church in the Holy Land and opportunities for broadcasting. I don’t believe that Christians ever retire from learning about their faith and being a follower of Jesus Christ. As soon as you leave one responsibility something else appears. There will be opportunities between now and November to say more, but my overwhelming sense is a deep gratitude for the privilege of serving amongst you all.”

Edward was appointed as Rector of Bath Abbey in 2004. From being Director of Music at a comprehensive school in Gloucestershire, Edward and his wife Hilary spent six years in Uganda with their family as Mission Partners with the Church Mission Society working as Christian educators.  He was ordained in 1991 and has served in both inner-city and suburban contexts.

Liz Westbrook and James Playfair, Bath Abbey’s Churchwardens, said: “With the Abbey’s two vision statements of the last thirteen years – “Where Heaven and Earth Meet” and “People and Place Fully Alive” – there has been a transformation in almost every facet of Abbey life – from our prayer life and worship, to our focus on people, to our welcome, to our position in the city and local community, our heritage and music, mission and pastoral support, to the vision, creation, detailed planning and achievements of Footprint. It has to be said that such unique progress, over the last thirteen years, has been in every way due to the exceptional, dedicated but modest and sacrificial leadership that Edward has given to us all. A sincere and heartfelt thank you – to you – from us all.”

As the Abbey says a fond farewell to Edward and the page is turned on another chapter in its rich history, the next step will be to start on the process of finding his successor.  The process to nominate the next Rector of Bath Abbey will be led by the Bishop of Bath and Wells and will start now following Edward’s retirement. The Revd Stephen Girling will take over as Acting Rector of Bath Abbey until a new Rector is appointed.

To read the press release in full click here.

More photos of the service can be viewed here on the Abbey's Facebook page.

Plans to open up Abbey interior gets go-ahead

Plans to transform the interior of Bath Abbey is now set to go ahead following a decision by the Church of England’s consistory court that the Abbey’s pews can be removed permanently and replaced with stackable chairs. This will enable the Abbey to open up its nave, install eco-friendly underfloor heating and repair its collapsing floor.

The work is part of the Abbey’s innovative Footprint project, a programme of capital works and interpretation, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, that will secure the Abbey’s physical future and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city. A major aspect of the project is to replace the Abbey’s antiquated heating system with an innovative design using underfloor heating powered by energy from Bath’s natural hot springs.

Following nearly a decade of planning, consultation and development work, building work inside the Abbey is expected to start in the spring of 2018. However, before any work could take place, the Abbey had to apply for permission from the Church of England for the fixed pews to be removed.

Revd Edward Mason of Bath Abbey said. “We are delighted with the decision of the Consistory Court. We strongly believe in the benefits of removing the pews. It will enable us to open up the Abbey’s nave and side aisles to all and make it possible for people of different physical ability to sit where they choose. Stackable chairs mean that the nave can be used for a wide variety of traditional and contemporary worship and restore the Abbey to the community use for which it was first designed."

"It will also mean that for the first time in over 150 years, hundreds of the Abbey’s historic ledger stones, previously hidden beneath the pews, will once again be seen, revealing a whole layer of 17th and 18th century ancestry and heritage.”

Revd Mason continued: “We are aware that change to a historic and much-loved building like the Abbey can be difficult to understand and can provoke strong reactions. However, we have had considerable support for this change from the local community and honestly believe that freeing the nave of pews will greatly benefit the hundreds of thousands that come into the Abbey every year."

The Consistory Court was initiated by the Victorian Society which opposed the permanent removal of the nave pews.

Revd Mason said, "We remain very appreciative of the significant contribution the Victorians made to the interior of the Abbey, in particular architect, Gilbert Scott. Much of their contribution remains valuable today such as the fabulous nave ceiling. Gilbert Scott himself did exactly what we’re aiming to do with our Footprint programme: he tried to repair the floor, put in advanced heating and lighting and changed the seating to cater for the needs of the day. Before 1860, the Abbey would have been completely open plan with no fixed seating at all. With our Footprint programme, we are simply following in the footsteps of many before us in changing and renewing the Abbey for today's needs and for future generations."

Bath Abbey Footprint is a £19.3 million programme of capital works, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which includes:

  • Repairing and restoring the collapsing floor
  • A sustainable, eco-friendly heating system using energy from Bath's famous hot springs
  • Creating new spaces underground including a Discovery Centre, meeting rooms, kitchens and
  • cloakrooms
  • Providing first-class facilities that will enable the Music Department to work with local choirs, schools, and hundreds of visiting children
  • An exciting interpretation and activities programme to share stories about the Abbey's past and present.

Footprint will enable the Abbey to fulfil its vision of becoming a place of congregation, equal access
and hospitality, and 'A People and Place Fully Alive'

To find out more, please see www.bathabbey.org/footprint

Bath Abbey to welcome over 50,000 visitors this December

Bath Abbey is expecting over 50,000 people through their doors this December between Advent Sunday and Christmas Day.

Just in terms of visitor figures, the Abbey welcomed 29,172 people last December, a 20% increase on December 2015. In addition to this, approximately a further 23,000 attended church services during this festive period.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year with plenty happening at Bath Abbey to mark this very special season. From carol-singing to spectacular choral concerts, including the widely-popular Advent Procession, the Abbey hosts around 40 different Christmas services and three huge Christmas concerts.

During the Bath Christmas market (23 November to 9 December), Festive Tower Tours give shoppers the opportunity to climb the 212 steps to the top of the Abbey Tower in order to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the market. Visitors and Bath residents alike can also get into the festive spirit with Shoppers Carols at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm every Saturday while the Christmas Market is on.

Attendance for special services, such as the Advent Procession, Nine Lessons and Carols, and Carol Praise on Christmas Eve, sees the Abbey filled to capacity.

Revd Stephen Girling from Bath Abbey said: “The Abbey is very busy every day from Advent Sunday until Christmas Day.  Visitors come to enjoy the festive atmosphere and local schools, community groups and members of the Abbey community attend our numerous Christmas services. We can seat over 1,000 people in the Abbey and for our most popular services such as the Advent Procession, we have to ticket the service to help us with our preparations.

“We also have Shoppers Carols four times a day on Saturdays during the Bath Christmas market when each service attracts 500-700 people.  The busiest and most poignant moments in the Abbey are on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. With four services on Christmas Eve and another three on Christmas Day, it’s our delight to share worship with thousands. This year those numbers are magnified as the Christmas Day service on Radio 4 will be a broadcast from Bath Abbey.

“The combination of services, rehearsals and the relatively small space of the Abbey makes December a very busy but amazing time for us especially as we try to make each person important and each service special.  Everyone has a great time and there’s genuine community spirit with giving and receiving and plenty of Christmas joy.”

To find out more about how you can join in the festivities at Bath Abbey and enjoy Christmas carols in the Abbey’s beautiful surroundings, please see below or visit www.bathabbey.org/christmas2017

To read the press release in full click here.

FAREWELL AND THANK YOU...

We were very sorry to say farewell to our Abbey Vicar, Claire Robson, after eight years here at the Abbey.

A massive thank you to Claire from all of us here at the Abbey. She has made a unique and important contribution to the life of the Abbey and will be greatly missed by staff, congregation and volunteers.

She is a superb preacher and many in the Abbey community have benefited from her personal spiritual direction: this is a hidden part of a priest’s work and she has special gifts in that area. Claire has helped to make the Abbey what it is, expanding our vision, making us more aware of a ministry to visitors, and developing links with the city.

Please join us in wishing Claire all the very best and in our prayers as she finds new joy and a flourishing in her vocation to write.

If you wish to leave a message for Claire, please email office@bathabbey.org or visit our Facebook page and we'll pass it on.

Bath Abbey walls to tell all

Did you know Bath Abbey’s historic floor and walls are covered with over 1,500 memorial stones each with a different story to tell? Families will be able to discover the fascinating tales behind these ancient stones in the Abbey this October half-term.

As part of Bath Museums Week, members of the public can take part in family-friendly tours of the Abbey’s memorial stones on Monday 23 October; Tuesday 24 October; Wednesday 25 October and Friday 27 October at 10.15am, 11.15am, 12.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm each day. The tours are 45-minutes long and have been especially tailored for families and children from the age of 7 upwards.

Ollie Taylor, the Abbey’s Interpretation Officer, said: “There’s the familiar saying: “If only walls could talk.” In a way, ours can! The Abbey’s walls and floors are lined with over 1,500 historic memorials, each with a different story to tell. These ancient stones commemorate individuals from all walks of life; some grand, some ordinary, some happy, some sad, but all equally fascinating.

“Our Family Friendly Tours is a great way for parents and children alike to find out more about some of the wonderful characters who lived in or visited Bath hundreds of years ago. Through a combination of storytelling, dressing-up and hands-on history, we’re hoping to share these tales in a way that makes history more fun and more alive. We’d love for families going away from these tours to be able to say they’ve enjoyed themselves, and also to have learnt a little about the Abbey’s history, and to share their stories with others.”

Bath Abbey’s ‘Family Friendly Tours of the Memorial Stones’ are being held on Monday 23 October; Tuesday 24 October; Wednesday 25 October and Friday 27 October. Tours are free, no booking required, last approx. 40 minutes and begin quarter-past the hour each day at 10.15am, 11.15am, 12.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm. The tours are free but all visitors are invited to give a donation at the entrance.  The activities are suitable for children over 7 and there is no need to book. However, please note there are limited places and it is on a first come first serve basis. 

Bath Abbey celebrates 20 years of Girls Choir

Bath Abbey Girls’ Choir is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. This milestone is being marked with a celebratory concert on 23 September at Bath Abbey in recognition of all that the choir has achieved since its inception.

The Abbey Girls’ Choir was founded in 1997 by Dr Peter King, Bath Abbey’s Director of Music from 1986-2016 and was one of the first girl choirs in the country at the time with Salisbury Cathedral having paved the way only six years earlier.

While remarkable in itself, there would have been the sound of female voices on the Abbey site long before 1997, and it could be said that the girl choristers are simply continuing a centuries-old choral tradition, which plays a vital part in the musical life of the Abbey and the city of Bath. In AD 676 there was a community of women worshipping in Bath in a convent run by Abbess Bertana and the site would have been filled with the sound of female voices as the girls and women sang their services.

Therefore, it is only fitting that as well as celebrating 20 years of the Abbey Girls’ Choir, the concert will be drawing inspiration from the generations of women in the Christian faith. The Abbey Girls’ Choir will sing the hauntingly beautiful music of Hildegard of Bingen from the 11th Century and a special commission by well-known composer Judith Bingham ‘The Sleeping Soul’ with words by the 13th century female mystic St Mechthild of Magdeburg. There will be texts by women – notably from Mother Julian of Norwich and the Magnificat (the song of Mary). Other music includes Schubert Psalm 23, Brahms’ Ihr habt nun traurigkeit (written in memory of his mother), Grieg’s Ave Maris Stella, Bruckner’s Ave Maria and music by Mathias, Stanford, Britten and Mendelssohn.

Huw Williams, Bath Abbey’s Director of Music, said: “Since joining the Abbey earlier this year I have been impressed with the quality of the Abbey Girls Choir and am delighted to be part of the 25th anniversary celebrations. We are immensely proud to have been one of the first churches in the country to introduce a girls’ choir. While almost every English Cathedral now has a girls’ choir, at the time it was a real innovation and to this day remains a remarkable achievement by my predecessor, Dr Peter King. whose original vision of a girls’ choir at Bath Abbey crowned his distinguished career here
“Occasions like this also allow us to celebrate our choristers as well as to thank all those who have helped champion and supported our Girls Choir over the years, benefactors, friends and family all included. As a former choir parent myself, I recognise that there’s a lot required of parents and guardians, and that it’s greatly appreciated. It will also be an opportunity for a wonderful reunion as we are hoping many of our former girl choristers, family and friends will be joining us for this very special event. We also plan to honour Dr Peter King’s contribution in some way.”

Tickets for the concert celebrating the Bath Abbey Girls’ Choir’s 25th anniversary on Saturday 23 September at 7.00pm in the Abbey are available from the Bath Box Office. Tickets are priced at £10, £12 and £15.

To read the press release in full click here.

Rector of Bath Abbey to retire after 13 years

The Rector of Bath Abbey, the Revd Prebendary Edward Mason, has announced that he will be retiring later this year after 13 years in this role. He will continue to serve the Abbey’s congregation and the city of Bath until his retirement in January 2018.

More details about Edward’s final service at the Abbey will be released nearer the time.

In addition to his role as Rector, Edward is also a Chaplain to Her Majesty The Queen. He will continue to serve in this role after his retirement.
On announcing his retirement to the Abbey community, Edward said, “I have enjoyed my time here at Bath Abbey and in Bath immensely. Being rector of this busy, thriving church in the heart of Bath has been a wonderful experience and a privilege. In my 13 years as rector, the Abbey has undergone many changes and it will continue to do so in order to adapt to and meet the needs of the community. There is now a very strong team, both lay and ordained, staff and volunteers, here at the Abbey and I am confident that the Abbey will continue to thrive under their guidance.”

"The timing is also right on a personal level. My wife and I have our sixth grandchild on the way, so I will be busier than ever! I also expect to continue serving the church in other ways. My passion has always been for sharing the Christian message and I hope to have more time to focus on specific interests, especially supporting the church in the Holy Land and opportunities for broadcasting. I don’t believe that Christians ever retire from learning about their faith and being a follower of Jesus Christ. As soon as you leave one responsibility something else appears. There will be opportunities between now and January to say more, but my overwhelming sense is a deep gratitude for the privilege of serving amongst you all.”

Edward was appointed as Rector of Bath Abbey in 2004. From being Director of Music at a comprehensive school in Gloucestershire, Edward and his wife Hilary spent six years in Uganda with their family as Mission Partners with the Church Mission Society working as Christian educators.  He was ordained in 1991 and has served in both inner-city and suburban contexts.

The process to nominate his successor will be led by the Bishop of Bath and Wells and will start in January after Edward’s retirement.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock says, “Edward has overseen a great many changes at Bath Abbey in his time as Rector, not least as a driving force behind the innovative Bath Abbey Footprint project which will open up the Abbey to more people, enrich worship and reduce the Abbey’s carbon footprint. Over the years he has wisely shepherded and served  the Abbey congregation and the wider community, ensuring the Abbey has a special place - spiritually as well as physically - at the heart of the city. 

“There will be opportunities before January for us to mark and celebrate Edward’s ministry. Today may I simply express my sincere thanks to Edward for all he has done and wish both Edward and his wife, Hilary well as they prepare for this new chapter.”

Bath Abbey’s historic ledger stones recorded by volunteers

More than 50 volunteers have signed up to help record Bath Abbey’s historic ledgerstones, ahead of a long-term project to restore the Abbey’s floor which is collapsing.

Ledgerstones are flat stones placed in the floors of mainly parish churches which usually bear an inscription of the name and date of the person who is buried there. Many also include interesting inscriptions about the person, their family and their life in the local community.

In partnership with The Ledgerstone Survey of England and Wales (LSEW), the Abbey aims to record all 891 of its ledgerstones, some dating back to the 17th century, before these are lifted temporarily in order to repair the floor and secure the foundations beneath.

This Autumn, building work will start inside the Abbey as part of the Footprint project, a £19.3 million programme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure the Abbey building and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city. However, before any of the planned building work including floor repairs can begin, all 891 of the historic ledgerstones in the Abbey will need to be recorded accurately. This will ensure that once the stone floor has been successfully repaired and re-laid, each individual ledger stone is put back properly and in the right place.

In addition, the ledgerstone recording will also form the basis for new trails, tours and experiences for visitors developed as part of the Footprint programme.

Charles Curnock, Bath Abbey’s Footprint Project Director, said: “The ledgerstone recording signals the start of a really exciting time as the Footprint project moves up another gear. Many churches have a similar problem with their floor but with the Abbey being an especially busy church, together with the urgent need to repair the floor, recording the ledgerstones is increasingly a priority for us. Most of the ledgerstones have been hidden beneath pews for nearly 180 years. By the end of this project, this important part of our city’s heritage will be available to be newly appreciated by and preserved for future generations. We urge local people to discover more about the Abbey’s historic floor and see first-hand the work taking place.”

To read the press release in full click here

Butterflies swarm Bath Abbey

Last summer saw Bath Abbey filled temporarily with hundreds of colourful paper butterflies as part of the city-wide Forest of the Imagination Festival. The Abbey will see the return of these exotic creations on Wednesday 8th February in a year-long installation by Bath-based artist, Anthony Head.

iMigration 2 by Anthony Head is a large-scale sculpture, a swarm of colourful paper butterflies, spanning five metres and suspended ten metres up in the air in the Abbey’s South Transept.

The first impression for visitors is of a single group, a swarm of creatures that appear to be the same. However, on closer inspection, the viewer will discover that each butterfly is unique, with its own digital genetic code and individual wing pattern influenced by random mutations.

 

The artist, Anthony Head, explains: “iMigration 2 explores the themes of migration, diversity and individuality. In the swarm, each butterfly is unique, created with a variety of technologies and featuring colour and patterns designed using computer coding, influenced by the mathematics of nature. The butterflies will move gently in the air currents that fill the Abbey as if travelling on a migration. 

To read the press release in full click here.

JAMES IRVINE AND THE GILBERT SCOTT RESTORATION OF BATH ABBEY

James Irvine was clerk of works under Sir George Gilbert Scott during the restoration of Bath Abbey in the 1860s-1870s.  Irvine left a large collection of sketches, architectural drawings, and notes that tell a fascinating story of his work on many different buildings. His archive, which is kept in Bath Central Library, includes two boxes of papers about the restoration of Bath Abbey.  Although many people have looked at these papers, they have not been systematically listed until now.  In the autumn of last year, Catherine Chambers volunteered to take on this task, and with the kind help of Anne Buchanan, the Librarian at Bath Central Library, completed her list at the beginning of this year. 

Catherine has offered to talk about her work on the collection and to show some documents.  As Bath Abbey begins its Footprint project, following in the steps of Gilbert Scott, come and find out what the Irvine papers tell us about the Scott restoration, and how they might help the Abbey in its new and ambitious restoration project.

To find out more, join our short talk and mini-exhibition on 14th February at 1pm in the Downstairs Meeting Room, No. 9 Kingston Buildings. Please book a place by contacting Anna Riggs ARiggs@bathabbey.org  (01225 303322)

For more information on Footprint, please click here.

ANDREW & CHRISTINA BROWNSWORD PLEDGE MATCH FUNDING TO BATH ABBEY’S £1 MILLION TARGET

Andrew and Christina Brownsword, via The Brownsword Charitable Foundation, have agreed to give £500,000 in match funding towards Bath Abbey’s Footprint project in order to encourage local businesses and organisations to support the project and raise £1 million.

The Footprint project is a programme of capital works and interpretation that will secure the Abbey’s physical future and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city. After nearly a decade of planning, consultation and development work, building work will start this Autumn. However, the Abbey still needs to complete its major fundraising appeal in order for the building work to take place. This is where the Brownswords have stepped in.

The Footprint Appeal was set up to raise £19.4 million for the Abbey’s ambitious and transformative programme. Thanks to a grant of £10.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and additional funds from private individuals and trusts, as well as the Abbey’s own congregation and visitors, the Abbey now has just over £1 million left to raise.

Charles Curnock, Footprint Project Director, said: “We are extremely  grateful to the Brownswords for stepping in with their generous offer. By pledging half a million in match funding towards the Footprint Appeal, they are giving added motivation and a real impetus to our fundraising appeal. We hope businesses and individuals will join in and will be more inclined to give once they know that match funding is offered.

To read the press release in full, click here.

A Nativity is not just for Christmas

Just because Christmas Day is now over for another year does not mean the Nativity scene has been forgotten. Bath Abbey is delighted that it will continue to display its unique Nativity exhibit, designed by local students, until Candlemas on Thursday 2 February.
 
Last year the Abbey ran a competition with Bath Spa University to create a Nativity with a difference for the Abbey’s beautiful Birde Chapel. Because the Abbey attracts thousands of visitors from all around the world, they wanted a three dimensional -artwork that would communicate the Christmas story to an international audience and that would work within the space of a chapel principally dedicated to private prayer.
 
First, second and third year students from Bath Spa University’s Three Dimensional Design course competed in teams to design a contemporary artwork for display in the Abbey’s Birde Chapel. The chosen winner, ‘Nativity Mobile’ presents the characters of the Nativity story and their relationships with one another and with Christ at the centre. It is in the form of a mobile, with suspended, gently moving figures.

To read the press release in full click here

 

Bath Abbey fundraising auction raises £9,000 for Footprint project

The first contemporary art auction held at Bath Abbey has raised £9,000 for the Footprint project.

The auction, held on Wednesday November 23, was organised by David Simon, owner of a contemporary art gallery in Bath.

Former Sotheby’s auctioneer Freya Mitton gave up her time to auction work from artists including Eileen Cooper RA, Nick Cudworth, Robert Cary-Williams, Luke Frost, Peter Brown, Emma Rose, Ben Hughes and Diana Matthews.

David Simon, who has dedicated every minute of his spare time over the last three months, on this project, said: “I’m delighted that we raised so much money and I’d like to thank all the artists who donated their work – the quality and variety of art donated was just wonderful. I’d also like to thank everyone who came along to support the auction, especially our bidders. This contemporary art auction is just one small thing that I can do to help make Footprint - a really great thing – become a reality.”

The Footprint project is one the country’s most significant church projects and will transform the Abbey’s facilities for the community and for worshippers. The Footprint project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Charles Curnock, Director of Bath Abbey’s Footprint project, said: “We are enormously grateful to David Simon for organising the auction, to all the artists involved and those who came along to support us. Footprint will enable us to improve how we inspire, engage with and serve our congregation, our community and our visitors. Thanks to Heritage Lottery funding of over £10 million granted earlier this year, and many other generous benefactors, there is now less than £1 million left to raise of the project’s £19.3 million total.”

Sharon Stevenson, Bath Abbey’s Fundraising Officer, said: “Bath Abbey, which is open to worshippers, schools, concert-goers and a whole variety of other visitors 364 days of the year, is in urgent need of repair and transformation. The Footprint project will help us to transform our facilities for the future. Thanks to the generosity of all these talented artists, David Simon, and all of those who came along to support our auction, we will be one step closer to making Footprint a reality.”

 

Tribute to the Ropers

For those familiar with the Abbey, you might have spotted a new engraving in the North aisle. This is a special tribute to Brian and Margaret Roper who have demonstrated such generous support of the Abbey and many organisations and charities in Bath. The stone was unveiled in the presence of over 120 business leaders who joined us for a business lunch on the day of the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Charles Curnock, the Abbey’s Footprint Project Director, said: “We are honoured to have had such a good relationship with Brian and Maggie. Like many in Bath, we have been touched and humbled by their tremendous generosity. Their lifelong support of and tireless contribution to so many our city is hopefully recognised by this engraving.”

This beautiful engraving was by sculptor, Iain Cotton, who also engraved the Cotswold Way Marker Stone, in front of the Abbey’s west doors.

We will be paying a full tribute to the Ropers in the new year along with an exciting announcement about Footprint fundraising so watch this space.

Footprint project PHASE 1 Excavations

As part of the Abbey’s Footprint project, some initial excavation work is being carried out just outside the Abbey shop on Kingston Parade from November 2016 to March 2017. This work will provide some much needed storage space in the short and longer term.

The work will not impact on our worship and events programme in the Abbey or Abbey Shop opening times over the next few months. We have also worked closely with Bath Tourism Plus to minimise the impact on the Christmas market. A small number of chalets have been relocated to Kingston Parade but there has been no effect on the number of chalets showcasing at this year’s market.

We are grateful to everyone for their patience and understanding while this work is carried out.

Footprint is a £19.3 million project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to secure the Abbey for future generations; this will include repairing and restoring the Abbey floor; tapping into Bath’s hot springs to create a sustainable heating system, and creating a new underground centre for community use.

Find out more at http://www.bathabbey.org/footprint

NEW DIRECTOR OF MUSIC

We are delighted to announce that the new Director of Music will be Huw Williams.
 
Huw is an organist, conductor and composer of international reputation and has 20 recordings as accompanist with The Sixteen and with St Paul’s and Hereford Cathedrals' Choirs and broadcast live on television and radio as both director and accompanist.  Huw is currently Director of Music at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.
 
Huw has worked extensively in the UK, USA, Africa and in Europe as a conductor, organ soloist and accompanist. He has performed with many British orchestras including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
 
Born in Swansea, a graduate from Christ’s College, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music he became Assistant Organist at Hereford Cathedral in 1995. In 1998 he moved to St Paul’s Cathedral where for ten years, as the principal organist, he played for all the major recordings and broadcasts and worked daily with the world famous choir.  In recognition of his work in the musical world he was awarded the Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2001 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.  
 
Subject to Contract and Safeguarding, Huw will take up his appointment at the Abbey in January 2017.  
 
During the busy months from September to December, the Abbey music will be in the safe hands of Shean Bowers.  Shean will be reducing his schools work to give time for rehearsal of the Abbey choirs and working with the clergy team in planning music for both Sundays and the frequent festivals of that period.  I am confident that the Abbey community will support Shean and offer both practical help and significant encouragement to him and the other Abbey musicians.
 
Huw says:  "I'm really looking forward to joining the community at Bath Abbey and working with the staff and wonderful choirs there. Dr Peter King has left an outstanding legacy with consistently high quality music making and I'm thrilled to be joining you."
 
So already we find ourselves walking in a new landscape together.  There will be new opportunities and challenges.  As always this demands prayer and a holy discernment of what is good and true.  Please pray for Shean, and for Huw as he prepares to come to Bath.
 
The Revd Prebendary Edward Mason
Rector

BATH ABBEY SAYS THANK YOU... 10 MILLION TIMES!

Bath Abbey’s Footprint project, an ambitious and transformative programme of works planned to secure the Abbey’s physical future and open it up to the community, took a huge step forward this week, as it announced its success in its latest bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), unlocking £10.7 million of funding.

This grant will help fund the physical work needed to the fabric of the Abbey and provide the space to enable the Abbey’s facilities for education and for music to be developed. The project will make a major impact on the ability of the Abbey to fulfil the various roles that it plays for the city of Bath and the surrounding region. The success of this application means that the Heritage Lottery Fund is confident in Bath Abbey’s plans and believes that a high-quality project will be delivered.

Footprint will provide a stable, level and restored floor within the Abbey by filling voids caused by thousands of burials together with an innovative, eco-friendly hydrothermal heating system, using energy in the water from Bath’s famous hot springs. In addition, the HLF funding will enable the Abbey to realise exciting plans for a Discovery Centre and a Song School, two key resources that will enable the Abbey to better serve both the residents of Bath and the hundreds of thousands of visitors it welcomes every year.

The Reverend Prebendary Edward Mason, Rector of Bath Abbey, said: “We are all delighted to learn that we have secured this support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This is great news for the Abbey, the city and the region and also for those who have personally put so much time, effort and money into the project. The Abbey has been at the centre of the Bath community for over 1,200 years and, thanks to the HLF, Footprint will enable it to continue serve current and future generations for hundreds of years to come.”

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “The great medieval Bath Abbey has a rich history and the innovative Footprint project will ensure that this special place can continue to play a vital role in the lives of the thousands of people who visit every year. Our support for the essential capital works, collections care and use of sustainable energy will bring the Abbey into the 21st century, enabling people from Bath and further afield to enjoy this special place long into the future.”

Charles Curnock, Director of the Footprint Project, said: “We are enormously grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this wonderful grant. We can now believe that we really have a project. The grant also provides a fantastic boost to our remaining fundraising. In addition to other funds which have been so generously given, the total project cost of £19.3 million is now firmly within our sights – there is £1.5 million left to raise. We don’t however underestimate the effort which will still be needed to secure this funding; we do however very much appreciate all those who have helped the project to date in many different ways.

This final fundraising phase is now a chance for everyone to get involved. In particular we are collaborating with LocalGiving and the Bath Percent Club with the aim of raising £50,000 from friends and visitors – with the added bonus that every pound donated will be matched with another pound from the Bath Percent Club. This campaign is being run on LocalGiving’s secure online giving platform, meaning that everyone can keep a track of progress, and donate online, at www.footprint.gift. Bath Abbey belongs to all the people of the city and we hope very much that local residents will want to leave their own footprint here for hundreds of years to come.”

ABBEY’S ‘DISTINGUISHED’ DIRECTOR OF MUSIC MADE EMERITUS

Bath Abbey has announced that its long-standing Director of Music, Dr Peter King, who retires in August 2016 is to become Bath Abbey Director of Music Emeritus in recognition of this outstanding contribution to the music of the Abbey over many years.

Dr King has served as Director of Music since 1986, and has been described by colleagues as a “most distinguished holder of the post.” Under his leadership, the music programme of the Abbey expanded to include new choirs, including our Abbey Girls’ Choir. His work featured regularly on BBC Radio 3 and BBC TV, as well as numerous record releases, and helped raise the profile of the Abbey and our music programme for over a generation.

On the announcement, Reverend Prebendary Edward Mason, the Rector of Bath Abbey, said:

“It is with no small measure of sadness that I learned of Peter's decision to retire. Peter has been Director of Music at the Abbey since 1986 and has been a most distinguished holder of this important post. 

“Peter has been a pillar of the Abbey and we will be very sad to see him leave. We will pray for him as he adjusts to a new future, and ask all friends of the Abbey to join us in this.

“He is a superb organist in his own right as well as being a creative and inspirational director of the choirs. 

“We will concentrate on sustaining the excellence he has instilled in us all, and we will seek to build on all that has he has achieved over thirty years.”

Announcing his decision to colleagues at the Abbey, Dr King said:

 “During my time there have been many changes. The building of the new organ by Johannes Klais of Bonn, and the establishment of the Girls’ Choir, both in 1997, are just two achievements that have made me particularly happy, along with the development of the Boys’ Choir. Having been a choir boy myself, it has been equally important for me to maintain the tradition of a boys’ choir. Both the organ and the Girls’ Choir were quick to establish themselves as among the finest in the country. We have produced 8 albums with our choirs, and 12 on the organ; my Organ Concerto recording with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales was Editor’s Choice in both Gramophone Magazine and BBC Music Magazine. My recording of Poulenc’s Organ Concerto was the recommended performance in the “Building A Library” segment of BBC Radio 3’s CD Review last December, which along with the performance our choirs gave on the BBC One’s Christmas Day Service, made for a very nice Christmas!

“However, we have always looked to the future. Working with Shean Bowers, I helped establish the Schools Singing Programme which has brought the joy of the sung voice to a generation of children in Bath’s schools, and I am proud of the hard work Shean has put into it to make it the success it is.

“My brain says it is time to stop, though my heart hurts. Though I may be retiring as the Abbey’s Director of Music, I will not be retiring from music.”

BATH ABBEY GETS MESSY AT EASTER FOR FAMILY FUN

Families are invited to join Bath Abbey on Saturday 12 March, between 10.30am to 1.30pm for a morning of fun, thoughtful, and messy activities on the theme of Easter.  We will be making hot cross buns, plantable paper, and crosses and stones for an Easter Garden, after which there will be a short celebration followed by lunch in the Abbey (which will be provided). 

Ollie Taylor, the Abbey’s Interpretation Officer, said:

“Messy Easter is a wonderful opportunity for families to spend a morning in the Abbey creating, baking, reflecting on the Easter story and having fun together.  It’s the first time we’ve offered this free session and I hope that many local families will come.  If you’ve not brought your family to the Abbey before this is the perfect opportunity to find out what we do.  I’m really looking forward to making hot cross buns in the Abbey and families who come can take away what they make too!”

The event is free but there will be a collection during the celebration.  The activities are suitable for children over 5 but there are limited places so you will need to book before the day.  Families are asked to contact the Abbey Office on office@bathabbey.org or 01225 422462 to book their place. 

HISTORY COMES ALIVE FOR KIDS THIS FEBRUARY HALF TERM AT BATH ABBEY

During February half term, Bath Abbey is running family friendly tours for children and the young at heart.  On the tours visitors will hear – and take part in – some fabulous stories and discover some of the hidden treasures of the Abbey along the way.  Guides will bring alive their favourite stories from the Abbey’s 1,300 year history and keep you entertained with little-known-facts.
 
These family friendly tours will be running on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th February.  They begin at 10.15 each day and run hourly up to (and including one at) 16.15.  Each tour lasts 30 minutes.  Tours are free and can be booked on the day on a first come first served basis. 
 
The tours will take visitors from the very beginning of the Abbey’s story and the coronation of King Edgar in the Abbey in 973, through medieval and Tudor times, into the present day.
 
Visitors will be able to meet historical figures such as the Abbey’s Prior during medieval times, see re-enactments of many of the famous – and not-so-famous – names from the Abbey’s past and those buried within the Abbey’s walls, as well as Abbey staff who today are taking the Abbey into the future with the Footprint project.
 
Ollie Taylor, Interpretation Officer for Bath Abbey, said:
 
“These short tours are a fantastic opportunity for local families to have fun and discover more about the Abbey together.  They’ll be opportunities to see and hear some amazing stories from the Abbey but also to smell, taste, touch and take part in them too!  It’s the first time we’ve run these tours so why not be the first to bring your family to the Abbey for something fun, free, and new!”
 
Why not make a day of it? BANES Residents can use their Discovery Cards to get 2 for 1 entry for our Tower Tours!