Wednesday 22 January 2020

The Abbey at Tewkesbury

Tewkesbury Abbey is a fine Norman abbey church, originally part of a monastery, which was saved from the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII. It is thought to be the third largest church in Britain that is not a cathedral. The abbey is a parish church, still used for daily services.

The tower is believed to be the largest Norman tower still in existence. It once had a wooden spire which may have taken the total height of the building to as much as 79m, but this was blown off in a heavy storm on Easter Monday 1559; the present pinnacles and battlements were added in 1600 to give the tower a more 'finished' look.

It's a very imposing church, one of the finest I have seen. The 14 gigantic columns on either side of the nave are Norman

 the elaborate vaulting is 14th century.

The stained glass is pleasing.

The font has a 13th century base and a 14th century bowl. The ornate wooden canopy was fitted in Victorian times.

The ceiling of the quire has a representation of the sun, an emblem of the House of York. It was put here as a memorial to their victory over the House of Lancaster in the Battle of Tewkesbury, 1471.

The High Altar is made of Purbeck marble and was hidden in plain sight during the time of Cromwell by being sawn in half and laid on the seats in the Porch.

People were busy laying out candles in elaborate patterns to commemorate Epiphany which was in two days' time.

The side aisles are magnificent

The Lady Chapel. Above the altar is a 19th century mosaic of Christ enthroned.

The Chapel of the Holy Trinity

has another interesting ceiling

and a very faded fresco above the altar

These two modern windows were designed and made by Tom Denny in 2002, to mark the 900th anniversary of the Benedictines coming to Tewksbury. They depict Benedict's rule:  To Work is to Pray.

They are stunning.

Another candle formation for Epiphany.

The Lady Queen of Peace.

From the twisted and rusted metal underneath

rises a beautiful, shining statue of Mary. Anthony Robinson, the sculptor, wanted to remind us that from grief and despair, can come peace, beauty and hope.

The nativity scene was still in place when we visited

Another elaborate candle display for Epiphany

The chapel of Saint Margaret.

We really enjoyed our visit as this is a very fine abbey church indeed.


  1. Mervyn and I stayed in the Abbey gatehouse, Landmark Trust, and very lovely with a modern interior skilfully placed inside the ancient building...a bit like an organ loft which holds the kitchen and bathroom below and the bedroom on a mezzanine above. A x

    1. That sounds lovely. I didn't know you could stay there - must check it out.