It was a Waltham Abbey exploration day today. We wandered up to the Abbey Church and I had a quick look in. We can’t do a long visit to such places anymore as I have to leave Richard and Muffin outside. The Church has a long history and there has been a church on the side since the 7th Century. King Harold II built a stone church in 1050 which replaced an earlier one. Harold was killed at the Battle of Hastings and his probably grave in at the east end of the present church. Waltham was the last of the English Abbeys to be dissolved by Henry VII in 1540. I particularly loved the reredos (the screen behind the altar) with its scenes from the Nativity of Christ of two of Aesop’s fables. It was designed by William Burges in the 1870s when he restored the Church – he also installed a new ceiling with painted signs of the zodiac.
As we returned to the boat I took photos of both the river and the navigation. They run very close together for quite a way. If it wasn’t for the lock I don’t think you would know which was which.
After our lunch Richard went back to the boat and collected Muffin and we walked round the park. (Dogs are welcome in the park but not in the main building). We watched for ages and laughed and laughed.
It didn’t seem to matter whether they went down forwards or backwards as long as they got through the barriers!
One of the things that the skipper liked to do was to get the bow right into a water fall and fill the boat with water and soak those in the front. It didn’t always go to plan!!
It was great free entertainment and I guess a wonderful experience for the crew!
At the same time as the white water rafters were using the course there were some kayakers doing tricks and enjoying themselves. We couldn’t believe how small and how weird the modern kayaks are.
It was then back to Mary H and time to do some more USA planning. I want to get as much planned as possible so that we can book our flights while they are still a reasonable price.
I’ve been intrigued by the name Waltham as we have a Bishop’s Waltham near us at home and I wondered whether there is any connection. No not really! The name Waltham is of Saxon origin "walt" meaning "wood" and "ham" meaning "home" literally "wood-home" or home in the wood. Bishop's Waltham was so named in 904 when the King gave the manor to the Bishop of Winchester in return for Portchester.