Monday, November 03, 2008

Bolton Abbey

A nice day and virtually no bookings at work, so I went up to Bolton Abbey and had a stroll round.

A bit of autumn colour.

Bolton Abbey was founded by Augustinian priests in 1154, the land was given to the order by Lady Alice de Romille of Skipton Castle.

The Abbey continued to grow until 1539, when much damage was done to the main building during the Dissolution, the choir was destroyed, the roofs were stripped of their lead and all the furnishings were ransacked. A modern, and quick thinking, clergyman, Frior Moon, managed to protect much of the church, he brought in new English Bible's and new forms of worship and so the Abbey continued to provide a place of worship for the 200 or so folk living in the area.

Large parts of the monastery were dismantled, and other parts were left to collapse into ruin.

The plants on the wall inside inside the current church of St. Mary and St. Cuthbert were painted by Thomas Bottomley in 1877, the plants were all chosen for their religious significance:

Barley - Jesus describes Himself as 'the bread of life'

Madonna Lillies - in between the other named plants

Olive - Jesus prayed among the Olive groves of Gethsemane, Olive oil was use for anointing and 'Christ' means 'The Anointed One'

Vine - 'I am the vine; you are the branches'

Passion Flower - Traditional folk symbol of Christ's suffering on the Cross

Rose - The crown of thorns

Palm - Recalling Jesus' ride into Jerusalem

This stained glass window in the north aisle shows the martyrdom of three saints, St Stephen being stoned for his faith, St Polycarp of Smyrna being burned at the stake and St Ignatius of Antioch being thrown to the lions by the Roman Emperor.

The West Tower was under construction at the time of the Dissolution, and remained a roofless stub until 1984 when this modern roof was built to convert the old tower into an entrance hall.

Looking up at the ruined choir from the graveyard.

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