Inside Bath Abbey 1616 – 1833

It was around the early 17th century that the very buildings of Bath began to change and the Abbey was no different, reflecting Bath’s resurgence in its own history.

The inside of the Abbey at this time looked very different from the building we know today.

In 1780 the Abbey was closed for ‘thorough repairs’. This beautiful aquatint shows the results a few years later. Highlights to look out for include:

Aquatint after J C Nattes of The Abbey looking west from the choir 1806

  • The two tiered galleries which used to be above the choir
  • The triple decker pulpit with its wooden sounding board overhead
  • The elaborate organ screen topped with carved figures

A view of the naive looking towards crossing by James Storer, 1848

A view of the nave looking towards crossing by James Storer, 1814

The nave is empty, with a clear view to the organ on a screen over the crossing

The nave ceiling is made of lathe and plaster. At this time only the ceiling over the chancel has stone fan vaulting

The memorials are fixed haphazardly to the pillars

A view of the South Transept by James Storer, 1848

This engraving shows the stairs which used to lead from the south transept up to the galleries over the choir.


Another view by James Storer, looking East from the South Choir Aisle towards the spot where the Gethsemane Chapel is Today, 1814

Note the large tomb which used to stand in front of the south-east door. This was the tomb in which Thomas Lychfield, lutanist to Queen Elizabeth I, and his wife Margaret, were buried. Until the 1830s their embalmed bodies used regularly to be displayed to the public.