England

Bath Abbey

I am constantly fascinated by churches and temples, always so beautiful and cleverly built. I often think that modern design and architecture is like a completely different field to these buildings of days gone by, the blend of craft and engineering was incredible. I vaguely remember writing an essay at university about the vaulting of church ceilings. As well as these being so precisely carved by hand, I just love the way something functional and structural can be so pretty and decorative. To me, this is one of the best examples of what design should be.

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190 thoughts on “Bath Abbey

  1. Wow! I have visited England several times but have never been to Bath, even though I have always wanted to go. Now, after seeing your photos, I am ready to hop on a plane and go!!! Thanks for showing us a beautiful and amazing place!

  2. I’m with you on this one. I studied architecture in college, and was fortunate enough to be able to study abroad in Europe twice. The cathedrals never cease to amaze me- you don’t get that much in the states! My all time favorite [so far] is Chartres Cathedral in France. Breathtaking.

    Your pictures are beautiful by the way!

    • Thank-you so much. I think when you have studied design and/or architecture, it gives you that little bit of extra appreciation or disbelief. How could they build these things?? Thanks for stopping by! : )

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  4. I love your photographs of this exquisite church. I was in Bath in 1991 and I think if I had visited this religious monument, the experience would have changed my life. Photography and architecture are both huge interests of mine.

  5. โ— mode analogue says:

    ….and sadly the knowledge to set out and work some of these magnificent and complex architectural and structural details has been lost in modern times……

  6. fireandair says:

    I’ve been there — it looks like a wedding cake turned inside out. BEAUTIFUL place, and your pics do it justice. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. ryoko861 says:

    ANY inveterate building in England is a piece of art! If not on the inside, on the outside! I just love the architecture and the ornate pieces used on some of the buildings not just for visual beauty but for structural integrity! I do see some of these ideas did carry over to the US back in the 1600’s but have been lost over the years do to new techniques in materials and procedures as well as building codes.

    You’re pictures are beautiful! You’ve captured the essence of the creators that built those churches!

    • It really is a piece of art, there was a lot of pure decoration added onto the exterior of the Abbey through its history but I liked the decorative structural vaulting the best because it had a purpose, as you say.

  8. Wow! Merry Christmas, sir! Focussed on the river banks and crescents on my only visit to Bath. What a miss! Reminds me of some photos I was recently sent of La Sagrada Familia.

    • With all the rain today, we managed a pub and the Thermae Spa today and that was about it, no crescents at all! We will definitely HAVE to come back. Thanks for the comment, and you’re right, Sagrada Familia is also staggeringly beautiful.

  9. Thanks so much for these lovely images. I visit Bath whenever I can and this is one of my favourite places. I write books on local history in Bristol and thought there’d be very little on Bath as it’s so much smaller but I needed 2 books to cover the city. A beautiful, fascinating historical place and great for walking round in the summer.

  10. We couldn’t believe the depth of history here when we toured the Roman Baths, then speaking to a kind man inside the Abbey we realised there was so much more to learn. We saw only the tip of the iceberg, from distance. : ) Fascinating city. Thanks for the comment.

  11. This is just spectacular; you really got the level of brightness just right. I am also told that the main cathedral in Saint-Denis, Il-de-france, France is quite nice, although much more dark, gothic.

    • Thank-you so much. It’s one of those churches that has a very high ratio of glass over stone so the light inside is amazing. Actually the sun came out just as we exited and I wish now I had gone back inside to get one or two final shots…! : )

  12. Hello Joe

    Stunning photography! You find some really unusual angles and perspectives to capture the beautiful craftmanship. My daughter is at Bath Spa University and recently enjoyed a beautiful carol concert in the Abbey. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  13. If aliens came from outer space and saw the cathedrals of England and Europe, they would recognize them as the sign of a great civilization. (And I say this as an agnostic — great achievement is great achievement, and so much has been inspired by a belief in god, the church, or even simply the social organization that religion created.) The beauty is awesome, in the profound sense of the word. How can one’s spirit not soar at looking at this ceiling? And then imagine actually being there!

    Thanks for posting the beautiful photos.

  14. Thank you for sharing! I visited England five years ago and made a point to visit Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths, which I just loved. Have you visited Salisbury Cathedral? It’s quite spectacular.

  15. Red Toenails says:

    So intricate. The details are amazing. I too think that old historic churches are some of the most beautiful building around. Thanks for the history lesson.

  16. bakeanything says:

    I remember going here every year for Boxing Day with my family. For a child, looking up was the best thing to kill boredom during services. (: Great pictures!

  17. Joseph Keating,
    Bath Abbey’s beauty is, of course, marvelous, and it’s a matter of a mixture of Grace and timing that its beauty was not destroyed by either Henry VIII or Cromwell. More to the point, though, you managed to capture both its beauty and its sense of the Holy without ever reverting to the standard postcard shots of “This is the High Altar” or “This is the Baptismal Font”.
    The last shot, with the head and hands of the tomb sculpture framing the out-of-focus stained glass window is particularly fine.

    Gambate, kudosai!

  18. 249be35thst says:

    I think I could spend an entire day within the walls of that church just staring at it’s magnificence…..maybe even longer. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos.

  19. Roselinde says:

    These are absolutely wonderful! Whenever I attempt to photograph church architecture from the inside, I never seem to get the right amount of lighting, but you sure managed to!

  20. kaitica83 says:

    I’m visiting Bath in July, and having just stumbled across your blog, I am absolutely stunned by this architecture. Great pictures!

  21. I have just been to Bath for the first time and was fascinated by the Roman Baths, so much so that there was no time for a visit to the Abbey. Thankyou for this. The depth of history to be found in England is a reward in itself.

  22. What incredible attention to detail. I love thinking about the mindsets those workers must have had to do such a perfect job. Was it all religious devotion, or devotion to something else?

  23. These are lovely images to view last thing on Christmas Eve before going to sleep. What did we do before blogging? It’s wonderful to be able to share images I could never hope to capture myself. Thank you so much. Happy Christmas to you and yours.

  24. Bath Abbey is hands down one of my favourite churches in England – there’s a reason it’s called the “Lantern of the West”. Your pictures capture it perfectly! Seeing those images brings up a lot of fond memories; I went to university in Bath and my graduation took place inside the Abbey itself. That was a day I won’t easily forget.

  25. makesomethingmondays says:

    This is beautiful! I also like looking at the architecture in churches and cathedrals. It is amazing. Beautiful pictures, by the way.

  26. dweebcentric says:

    i was in Bath in August, and only had time to visit the spas, but see the Abbey from the outside. love the shots – glad i finally get to see the beautiful interior.

  27. hikeagiant2 says:

    Lovely, evocative photos – the first shots of the ceiling made me think of angels’ wings. Would that England were more than a dream ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing.

  28. great photos! I especially like the one of the books in the pew ๐Ÿ™‚

    Churches do make for great art subjects – I love to draw them.

    Also, you might be interested in the book Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, it’s about a guy trying to build a cathedral, very good.

  29. I’ve been to this exact place, but these pictures gave me a whole new appreciation for it! I just discovered your blog, and I’ll have to look around it some more–it’s wonderful!

  30. I visited Bath on a school trip many years ago. I will never forget how beautiful it is. I hope to take my family there in the near future. It’s a little harder now I’m coming from the US!

  31. beautiful! i have a new fascination with churches after going to italy and greece in the fall. i was amazed at the detail and workmanship and all the work and sweat that went into those buildings! they certainly don’t make buildings like that anymore!

  32. I went to bath abbey when I was 8 on the way to pick up a bridesmaid dress and at the time I was lost for words. The abbey is beautiful as are many buildings in bath, including the roman baths although I havent seen them on the inside. Would love to go back now I am older and have a camera. Great photos by the way

  33. These pictures are really beautiful. I want to visit England hopefully next summer as part of a study abroad program and these images convinced me even more that my decision is right!

    • Thanks for the comment. Actually the fan vaulting at Bath was added into the main abbey structure later, in the 14th century by William Vertue and the master stone masons. Unbelievably, these huge fans of stone are supported by the fine columns that run down on the inside of the walls. The original ceiling still exists above the amazing one you can see here in these pictures.

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