December 28: a church of thread
2012/12/28 § Leave a comment
On this day in 1065 the rebuilt St. Peter’s Abbey was consecrated.
Twenty-three years earlier Edward the Confessor had started repairing the church for Benedictine monks and in anticipation of its use as his burial place one day. Although the building was not quite finished, the church’s consecration came in the nick of time, as Edward died about a week later, on January 5. The appearance of Edward’s church is recorded in one single place, the Bayeux Tapestry, which records lots of details about his successor, Harold II, and that trouble-maker William the Conqueror. Both of them were probably crowned in the abbey church, in that heady year, 1066.
The church was demolished by Henry III in 1245, in a curious act of vandalism-cum-memorial, as he wrecked Edward’s church in order to build a proper (?) shrine to the Saxon king. (This has something of the ring of Julius’ demolition of Constantine’s church on the grounds that it was not Roman enough.) It’s regrettable that the maybe-first-Norman-Romanesque church in England was lost, but at least it wasn’t replaced with something stupid like a parking lot or something truly horrid like a Brutalist dentist’s office. In fact, the thing that stands there now is really pretty nice (really: if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for you).
Image: “Here the body of King Edward is carried to the Church of Saint Peter the Apostle” (from this source)