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Waltham Abbey

In the civil parish of Waltham Abbey.
In the historic county of Essex.
Modern Authority of Essex.
1974 county of Essex.
Medieval County of Essex.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL38270066
Latitude 51.68766° Longitude -0.00374°

Waltham Abbey has been described as a probable Fortified Ecclesiastical site.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


King Cnut founded a church with two priests here. In 1060 Harold Godwineson refounded the church as a secular college, and was later buried behind the altar there. In 1177 the college was reconstituted as an Augustinian priory and designated an Abbey in 1184. The Abbey was dissolved in 1540, the last abbey to be surrendered, on March 23rd. Of the abbey, only the Norman nave of the church remains. The presbytery, transepts and crossing were demolished soon after the Dissolution. The cloister adjoined the presbytery to the North with the frater occupying the North part of the range. A gatehouse, bridge and fishponds are all that remain of the domestic buildings, (see TL30SE 74,75,79,128, 132 and 133 for associated buildings and structures.) A hospital was also built within the precincts circa 1218. (PastScape)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1366 Sept 18 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1369 April 24.


Licence to crenellate the abbey's belfry granted in 1366 and a further licence to crenellate the abbots house and precinct in 1369. The crenellations on the belfry can only have been decorative those on the abbots house may have had a little more to do with concerns about local anticlerical feeling although they could not have been meaningful fortifications. Neither belfry nor abbots house survive.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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