Bath Abbey has been the centre for Christian faith in the UNESCO City of Bath for more than 1300 years. The Footprint Project, seeks to ensure that it remains so for generations to come, through repair and conservation work and crucial new facilities.
The Footprint project will include much needed new spaces and amenities, an environmentally-friendly heating system which uses Bath’s hot spring water, new standards of accessibility and a Discovery Centre that will tell the story of the Abbey.
Within the Abbey, the main focus is the work to repair and conserve the historic floor, revealing large parts of it for the first time in 150 years.
The works will reveal all of the 891 carved grave stones on the Abbey floor and show us the names of nearly 1500 people who have been commemorated there. The stones represent a cross section of Bath’s society from 1625 to 1845, including the important Georgian period chronicled by Jane Austen. The research, interpretation and conservation of the floor restores a crucial missing part of the story of Bath and its social history.
Once the works are complete, it will be possible to experience the full volume of the glorious space of the Abbey as it was during the Georgian period: from the lofty fan vaulting, and the descriptive and poignant wall memorials, to the magnificent historic floor below. The Church will provide a beautiful, functional space for traditional and contemporary worship and the community use for which it was first designed.
The interior of Bath Abbey is a magnificent expression of Bath stone, beautiful stained glass windows and some of the finest fan vaulting in the world.
The luminosity of the building’s interior is particularly breath-taking when the building is filled with sunlight.
Made up of approximately 2400 floor stones including 891 inscribed ledger stones, the Bath Abbey floor has more memorial stones than any other church or cathedral in the UK.
The Bath Abbey Footprint Project was initiated to repair the failing floor. However, it goes far beyond that remit, to document and research the carved gravestones that make up the floor, record the archaeology beneath the stones and install an innovative sustainable heating system to provide comfort to visitors.
Read about the careful process of the recording, lifting, repair and relaying of Bath Abbey’s historic floor in Explore.
Hot spring water first harnessed and channelled by the Romans lies at the heart of the Footprint Project.
Our scheme includes the sustainable reuse of the Roman spring water from the neighbouring Baths, by using the hot spring water as a heating source for the Abbey.
Read more in our journal: Bath Abbey: just add water..!’
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