More correctly, the abbey should be called the Abbey Church of St Peter and Saint Paul, but it is more usually known simply as Bath Abbey.
It is one of my favourite churches in the UK. It features the most wonderful carvings, particularly on the choir stalls and clergy pews; the forms of many of them are not known in churches elsewhere to my knowledge.
Three churches have stood on the site, the first being built in 757 AD. The building of a Norman cathedral began in the eleventh century, with construction of the current abbey being started in 1499 but being incomplete at the time of the dissolution of the monsteries it fell into ruin. In 1616 restoration was carried out and the building used as a parish church for some 200 years. In the 1830s the external architecture was updated, as too were some parts of the interior, to form the building as it stands today.
The following photographs will show some aspects of the abbey which feature the rosette motif.
Starting with the carved pews and choir stalls which I mentioned above – I’ll leave the images here to speak for themselves.
I’m sure that you’ll all agree that the quality of this carving is wonderful.
Moving onto the baptism font – again this is a superb piece of craftsmanship.
Each of the four sides of the font features a central head – each one different – and surrounded by rosettes, as you can see on these four images.
The Abbey also contains vast numbers of memorial stones – the history of which you can find via the website which I’ve added to the bottom of this page. I’ve picked out just few of these memorials here.
This one was set into the floor and I have no information on it. Although quite worn you can still see the rosettes towards the left-handside.
This one is obviously a tomb but I have included it here. The effigy memorial is for a husband and wife, Sir William Waller and his wife Jane, dating to mid-1600s. Although the effigies depict both husband and wife, the tomb intended for both their burials, only Jane was eventually buried here. This image shows detail from the corner of her pillows depicting rosettes. You may notice the copious graffiti which always seems to accompany these effigy tombs.
This image shows the top of a memorial stone to the Marchioness of Ely, of Irish descent. The central shield features numerous dot-type rosettes
The carving on this memorial stone again is of wonderful quality. It is dated to 1752.
Another memorial stone with superb detailing
Just before leaving the Abbey, I want to show this triptych – the rosettes along the lower edge of the paintings are not terribly clear but hopefully you can make them out – it is so beautiful that I had to add it to this collection of images
On leaving the Abbey and walking round the outside, I found this door….
…and – almost unheard of for me – I nearly missed the rosettes amongst the detailed carving.
Almost missed them but not quite
Well, that ends our tour of the Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul, Bath.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the visit – perhaps you may be inspired to visit for yourselves.
For any of you who may be interested in further details about the history of the abbey you can find much more at http://www.bathabbey.org/history