Berkhamsted Castle | Waltham Abbey

Berkhamsted Castle

Waltham Abbey

Waltham Abbey
Waltham Abbey Essex

Waltham Abbey in Essex lies less than 25 miles (40km) east of Berkhamsted. The ancient Abbey Church of Waltham Holy Cross and St Lawrence, now the parish church, was once an important monastery.

In 1066, King Harold stopped at Waltham to pray on his way from the Battle of Stamford Bridge to fight William of Normandy. Harold was killed at Hastings, and according to several accounts, his body was brought to Waltham for burial by the high altar, and possibly moved to the choir in 1170.

Most of the church was destroyed in 1540 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. Harold’s gravestone, inscribed “Hic iacet Haroldus infelix” (“Here lies Harold the unfortunate”) has since been lost.

Today, the reputed site of Harold’s tomb by the former high altar lies in the open air. It is marked by a simple stone which bears the inscription “Harold King of England, Obit 1066”.


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