Last Tuesday Kerry and I decided to head to the small town of Waltham Abbey in Essex. It isn’t very far from us, and I have often heard how pretty it is there, but I guess sometimes when things are on your doorstep you don’t always stop and appreciate them. I’m pleased we did, as this little market town is full of surprises.
The drive took about 15 minutes, (so in reality we should have walked!) and parking was pretty simple. As it was a Tuesday the market was in full swing, there was a band playing in the street, bunting decorated the lamp posts and the whole place radiated positivity, fun and life.
We wandered around the town for around 30 minutes, perusing the stalls and shops (I was surprised to see such an abundant array actually, a health food shop, a town museum, a great looking Turkish restaurant and, of course, a Greggs!) while enjoying the lively atmosphere then headed in to the Abbey grounds. Now, this is where things got serious…. The beauty and the history in this place was epic. I did not expect, in the slightest, Waltham Abbey to be so vast, so green, so beautiful and so well maintained. The entire place was amazing and as we sat and enjoyed a quick bite of lunch in the shadow of the imposing Abbey it got me thinking about its history.
Here are some interesting Waltham Abbey facts…
- Waltham Abbey is derived from the term Weald meaning forest and Ham meaning homestead. Known only as Waltham up until the 15th century, Abbey was added later when the town and church expanded.
- Waltham Abbey was the final resting place of King Harold after he lost the Battle of Hastings in 1066. His burial place is marked with a stone header.
- Local legend claims that Boudica’s rebellion against the Romans ended in Waltham Abbey when she poisoned herself with hemlock gathered on the banks of the river.
- In the 17th century a Gun Powder Mill opened in the town.
- The Gun Powder site was an obvious target during World War II, and a German V-2 rocket landed near the factory in Highbridge Street on 7th March 1945, causing considerable damage to property and large loss of life.
- The Welsh Harp Pub located in the town centre dates back to the 15th century.
- Waltham Abbey played host to the White Water Rafting in 2012s Olympic Games.
- And in my humble opinion, Waltham Abbey is the perfect place for a picnic!
And here are some pictures I took…
Overall I had a lovely time in Waltham Abbey and it makes me wonder what other interesting, historic, beautiful towns might also be on my doorstep. If you have any recommendations then please leave them below in the comments. And don’t forget to check out Without- Cruelty on Instagram