Bath Abbey Church: The Indian Summer of Bath Priory

Sketch of Bath Abbey by Joseph Mallord Turner (Victoria Art Gallery, Bath)Bath Abbey Church is a great monument to the Tudor age.

Tourists are told the story of Bishop Oliver King's dream, supposedly recorded on the west front - how he saw the church rebuilt by an olive tree and crown, referring both to his own name and the peace of Henry VII. Tudor peace was certainly an aid to prosperity and in that sense one could say Bath Abbey Church was built on it. Up and down the land, Tudor abbots and priors were improving their quarters and embellishing their churches. It was the last flowering of English monastic architecture - an Indian summer before the sudden foreclosure on a whole way of life. But Bath is unique in the thoroughness of the Tudor transformation.

Continue to Life in the Priory.

Indian Summer of Bath Priory began as a lecture. First published online 22 September 1999.