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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey, 1833.
One of the odd things about Austen's novels, letters and diaries is that she seemingly never mentions Bath Abbey, even though she must have walked past it many times, and perhaps even attended divine service there.
Visitors today don't see the Abbey as Jane would have known it; the building was re-modelled by George Manners in the 1830s, and restored in the 1860s and 1870s by that serial 'improver' of ancient churches, George Gilbert Scott.
The Abbey, also known as the church of St Peter and St Paul, may have been founded as early as 675; there's a
timeline here on the Abbey website. 
The Abbey in the 1890s. 

During Jane Austen's day, services were held daily at 11am; the tower had a peal of ten bells. In 1785 (when Jane was ten years old), several Sunday Schools were set up in Bath; one was attached to the Abbey Church. Within a few years, over 500 children attended the schools (they had to be recommended by a subscriber to be able to attend).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sue. Marilyn and I spent a couple of days in Bath recently. One of the things that always interests me about Bath Abbey are the number of memorials to the dead on the floor and walls of the Abbey. Some of the epitaphs tend to wax lyrical and make me smile. People went to Bath to die it seems, perhaps not intentionally though. But you are right about Jane Austen not mentioning The Abbey. When she lived in Southampton, in Castle Square, she never mentions the churches close to Castle Square. She writes in her letters a lot about a certain Dr Mant, the rector of All Saints Church, in the High Street. She made a beeline for him because he was a renowned theologian and she wanted to hear his sermons. I know she attended services at a small chapel just off Milson Street in Bath. Perhaps she liked listening to the sermons of the rector there too?????