My Best of Bath Abbey (1 of 3): Angels, Kings, and Super Water

[Notice: I originally wrote this post as one, but my husband, assuring me that it was very interesting, but too long, recommended that I break it into three parts. So that is what I did. I will post the next two parts over the next two days.]

I like what I like. It’s as simple as that. So here’s my take on Bath Abbey and what I thought was interesting enough to share.

This is a close-up of part of the front of the Abbey. The angels are ascending and descending a ladder to heaven. The story I heard was that, way back when, Bishop Oliver King came to visit Bath and found the church in a bad state. He didn’t want to rebuild, but had a dream of angels climbing a ladder between Bath and heaven. As a result of the dream, instead of rebuilding the church, he built the Abbey and memorialized his divine dream on its front.

Why I think the ladder depiction is neat is because the descending angel is actually facing down and not just looking down as one would if descending a ladder. The down-facing angel seems to be climbing up to earth, not down from heaven. Thus, all the angels are climbing up no matter which direction they face. Rather Escher-esque, no?

This stained glass is a depiction of the crowning of King Edgar, the first king of all England (which is debatable). Edgar’s coronation was held at Bath Abbey. King Edgar’s story is an interesting one, but too long for this post and I expect that many sources tell it well. What I find so interesting about this stained glass window is that it seems highly political for a religious institution. Perhaps it stands out so much to me because of my “separation of church and state” American upbringing. I’d be curious how others view this lovely window.

Here’s a view of Bath, including the Roman Baths, from the roof of the Abbey.

Meet Rebecca. At least I think that’s her name, because this is the Rebecca Fountain. “Water Is Best” is inscribed on its base, which makes perfect sense considering the statue is located in a spa town known for its curative water. I get a kick out of this statue because I don’t think the phrase means what it appears to mean given that the statue was erected by the Bath Temperance Association (think anti-alcohol teetotalers). The Association didn’t want people wet at all; they wanted everyone “dry”!

That’s it for Part 1. Next up is Part 2: All About the Chimes.


About satnavandcider

An American expat living in England, exploring the United Kingdom and Europe through five senses and a camera lens.
This entry was posted in All Posts, Destinations, United Kingdom and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to My Best of Bath Abbey (1 of 3): Angels, Kings, and Super Water

  1. Monique says:

    Great photos! And I hope it doesn’t sound silly to say, but I get an extra excitement from having seen these sights *with* you! Looking forward to parts 2 and 3.

  2. iraidefotos says:

    I love your photos!! I´d like to live there 😀

  3. Gunta says:

    Fascinating the things you focus on and choose to describe. I like it!

  4. Pingback: My Best of Bath Abbey (2 of 3): All About the Chimes | Sat Nav and Cider

  5. leah says:

    Great stained glass photo…

  6. Pingback: An Unconventional Tour of Bath | Sat Nav and Cider

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