Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Tewkesbury Abbey.


Text and Illustrations from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.



Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin,
Tewkesbury Abbey,
Gloucestershire, England.
Photo: 20 July 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: Velela.
(Wikimedia Commons)



Title: "Sanctuary — King Edward IV and Lancastrian Fugitives at Tewkesbury Abbey".
Also known as "King Edward IV Withheld by Ecclesiastics from Pursuing
Lancastrian Fugitives into a Church".
Artist: Richard Burchett (1815–75).
Date: 1867.
Current location: Guildhall Art Gallery and
London's Roman Amphitheatre, London, England.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Among the leading Lancastrians who died on the field were Somerset's younger brother, John Beaufort, Marquess of Dorset, and the Earl of Devon.

The Prince of Wales was found in a grove by some of
Clarence's men. He was summarily executed, despite pleading for his life to Clarence, who had sworn allegiance to him in France barely a year before.

Many of the other Lancastrian nobles and knights
sought Sanctuary in Tewkesbury Abbey. King Edward IV
attended Prayers in the Abbey, shortly after the battle. He granted permission for the Prince of Wales, and others slain in the battle, to be buried within the Abbey, or elsewhere in the town, without being quartered, (the dead body being cut into quarters) as traitors, as was customary.

However, two days after the battle, The Duke of Somerset and other leaders were dragged out of the Abbey, and were ordered by the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Norfolk to be put to death after perfunctory trials. Among them were Hugh Courtenay, younger brother of the Earl of Devon, and Sir John Langstrother, the Prior of the Military Order of Saint John. The Abbey was not officially a Sanctuary, though it is doubtful whether this would have deterred King Edward IV even if it had been. The Abbey had to be re-Consecrated, a month after the battle, following the violence done within its precincts.



Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 29 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Mattis.
(Wikimedia Commons)



Tewkesbury Abbey was founded in 1087
and Consecrated in 1121.
Photo: 14 July 2011.
Source: Own work.
Permission: Outside of Wikimedia Foundation projects, attribution is to be made to:
W. Lloyd MacKenzie, via Flickr @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/saffron_blaze/
Author: Saffron Blaze.
(Wikimedia Commons)



The Nave,
Gloucestershire, England.
Photo: 29 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Mattis.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The Abbey Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Tewkesbury (commonly known as Tewkesbury Abbey), in the English County of Gloucestershire, is the second-largest Parish Church in the Country and a former Benedictine Monastery. It is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Britain, and has probably the largest Romanesque Crossing Tower in Europe.

The Chronicle of Tewkesbury records that the first Christian worship was brought to the area by Theoc, a Missionary from Northumbria, who built his Cell, in the Mid-7th-Century, near a gravel spit where the River Severn and River Avon join together. The Cell was succeeded by a Monastery in 715 A.D., but nothing remaining of it has been identified.

In the 10th-Century, the Religious Foundation at Tewkesbury became a Priory, subordinate to the Benedictine Cranbourne Abbey, in Dorset. In 1087, William the Conqueror gave the Manor of Tewkesbury to his cousin, Robert Fitzhamon, who, with Giraldus, Abbot of Cranbourne, founded the present Abbey in 1092. Building of the present Abbey Church did not start until 1102, employing Caen stone, imported from Normandy, and floated up the River Severn.



Ceiling Bosses,
Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 29 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Mattis.
(Wikimedia Commons)



The tall Norman Arch of the facade is unique in England.
Photo: 7 November 2008,
Source: From geograph.org.uk
(Wikimedia Commons)


Robert Fitzhamon was wounded at Falaise, in Normandy, France, in 1105, and died two years later, but his son-in-law, Robert FitzRoy, the natural son of Henry I, who was made Earl of Gloucester, continued to fund the building work. The Abbey's greatest single later Patron was Lady Eleanor le Despenser, last of the De Clare heirs of FitzRoy. In the High Middle Ages, Tewkesbury became one of the richest Abbeys of England.

After the Battle of Tewkesbury, in the Wars of the Roses, on 4 May 1471, some of the defeated Lancastrians sought Sanctuary in the Abbey. The victorious Yorkists, led by King Edward IV, forced their way into the Abbey; the resulting bloodshed caused the building to be closed for a month, until it could be purified and re-Consecrated.

At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the last Abbot, John Wakeman, surrendered the Abbey to the Commissioners of King Henry VIII on 9 January 1539. Perhaps because of his co-operation with the proceedings, he was awarded an annuity of 400 Marks and was Ordained as the first Bishop of Gloucester in September 1541. Meanwhile, the people of Tewkesbury saved the Abbey from destruction. Insisting that it was their Parish Church, which they had the right to keep. They bought it from the Crown for the value of its Bells and Lead Roof, which would have been salvaged and melted down, leaving the structure a roofless ruin. The price came to £453.



The Pulpit and Rood Screen,
Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 29 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Mattis.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The Bells merited their own free-standing Bell-Tower, an unusual feature in English sites. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-1541), the Bell-Tower was used as the Gaol for the Borough, until it was demolished in the Late-18th-Century.

The Central Stone Tower was originally topped with a Wooden Spire, which collapsed in 1559 and was never rebuilt. Some restoration, undertaken in the 19th-Century, under Sir Gilbert Scott, included the Rood Screen, that replaced the one removed when the Abbey became a Parish Church.

Flood-waters, from the nearby River Severn, reached inside the Abbey during severe floods in 1760, and again on 23 July 2007.



The Rood Screen,
Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 29 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Mattis.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The Church is one of the finest Norman buildings in England. Its massive Crossing Tower was said to be "probably the largest and finest Romanesque Tower in England" by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner. Fourteen of England's Cathedrals are of smaller dimensions, while only Westminster Abbey contains more Mediaeval Church Monuments.

Notable Church Monuments surviving in Tewkesbury Abbey include:

1107 — When the Abbey's Founder, Robert Fitzhamon, died in 1107, he was buried in the Chapter House, while his son-in-law, Robert FitzRoy, Earl of Gloucester (an illegitimate son of King Henry I), continued building the Abbey;

1375 — Edward Despenser, Lord of the Manor of Tewkesbury, is remembered today chiefly for the effigy on his Monument, which shows him in full colour, kneeling on top of the Canopy of his Chantry, facing toward the High Altar;

1395 — Robert Fitzhamon's remains were moved into a new Chapel built as his Tomb;



Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 18 January 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: Poliphilo.
(Wikimedia Commons)


1471 — a brass plate on the floor, in the centre of the Sanctuary, marks the grave of Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, the son of King Henry VI, and the end of the Lancastrian line, who was killed in the Battle of Tewkesbury — the only Prince of Wales ever to die in battle. He was aged only 17 at his death;

1477 — the bones of George, Duke of Clarence (brother of Edward IV and Richard III), and his wife, Isabelle (daughter of "Warwick, the Kingmaker"), are housed behind a glass window in a wall of their inaccessible Burial Vault, behind the High Altar;

1539 — the Cadaver Monument, which Abbot Wakeman had erected for himself, is only a Cenotaph, because he was not buried there.

Also buried in the Abbey, are several members of the Despenser, de Clare and Beauchamp families, all of whom were generous benefactors of the Abbey. Such members include Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, and his wife, Cecily Neville, Duchess of Warwick, sister of "Warwick, the Kingmaker".



The Rood Screen,
Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 29 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Mattis.
(Wikimedia Commons)



The Interior,
Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 11 July 2010.
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davehamster/5254627495
Author: David Merrett
(Wikimedia Commons)


The Abbey's 17th-Century Organ – known as the Milton Organ – was originally made for Magdalen College, Oxford, by Robert Dallam. After the English Civil War, it was removed to the Chapel of Hampton Court Palace, and came to Tewkesbury in 1737. Since then, it has undergone several major rebuilds. A specification of the Organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register. In the North Transept is the stupendous Grove Organ, built by the short-lived partnership of Michell & Thynne in 1885. The third Organ in the Abbey is the Elliott Chamber Organ of 1812, mounted on a movable platform.

The Bells at the Abbey were overhauled in 1962. The Ring is now made up of Twelve Bells, hung for Change Ringing, cast in 1962, by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough. The inscriptions of the old 5th and 10th Bells are copied in facsimile onto the new Bells. The Bells have modern cast-iron headstocks and all run on self-aligning ball bearings. They are hung in the North-East corner of the Tower, and the Ringing Chamber is partitioned off from the rest of the Tower. There is also a Semi-Tone Bell (Flat 6th), also cast by Taylor of Loughborough in 1991.

The Old Clock Bells are the old 6th (Abraham Rudhall II, 1725), the old 7th (Abraham Rudhall I, 1696), the old 8th (Abraham Rudhall I, 1696) and the old 11th (Abraham Rudhall I, 1717). In Saint Dunstan's Chapel, at the East End of the Abbey, is a small disused Bell, inscribed "T. MEARS FECT. 1837".



The Rood Screen,
Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 29 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Mattis.
(Wikimedia Commons)



Stained-Glass Windows,
Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 29 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Mattis.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The Abbey Bells are rung from 10:15 a.m., to 11:00 a.m., every Sunday, except the first Sunday of the Month (a quarter peal). There is also ringing for Evensong, from 4:00 p.m., to 5:00 p.m., except on the third Sunday (a quarter peal) and most fifth Sundays. Practice takes place Thursdays from 7:30 p.m., to 9:00 p.m.

The Market Town of Tewkesbury developed to the North of the Abbey precincts, of which vestiges remain in the layout of the streets and a few buildings: The Abbot's Gatehouse; the Almonry Barn; the Abbey Mill; Abbey House; the present Vicarage and some Half-Timbered dwellings in Church Street. The Abbey now sits partly isolated in lawns, like a Cathedral in its Cathedral Close, for the area surrounding the Abbey is protected from development by the Abbey Lawn Trust, originally funded by a United States benefactor in 1962.



The Nave Ceiling,
Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 29 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Mattis.
(Wikimedia Commons)



The Clerestory,
Tewkesbury Abbey, England.
Photo: 29 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: User:Mattis.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The Abbey possesses, in effect, two Choirs. The Abbey Choir sings at Sunday Services, with children (boys and girls) and adults in the morning, and adults in the evening. Schola Cantorum is a professional Choir of men and boys, based at Dean Close Preparatory School and sings at weekday Evensong, as well as occasional Masses and Concerts.

The Abbey School, Tewkesbury, which educated, trained and provided Choristers to sing the Service of Evensong, from its Foundation in 1973 by Miles Amherst, closed in 2006; the Choir was then re-housed at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, and renamed the Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum.


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