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Waltham Abbey
Waltham Abbey
Epping Forest District
Essex  England

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Waltham Abbey is a market town in the south west of the county of Essex, in the East of England region. It is about 24 km north of London on the Greenwich Meridian. It takes its name from Waltham Abbey, which was prominent in the early history of the town. The River Lea, which forms the county boundary with Hertfordshire forms the town’s western boundary, and the eastern boundary runs through Epping Forest. The name Waltham derives from weald or wald "forest" and ham "homestead" or "enclosure". The name of the ancient parish as a whole is Waltham Holy Cross, but the use of the name Waltham Abbey for the town only seems to have originated in the 16th century. There are traces of prehistoric and Roman settlement in the town. The recorded history of the town began during the reign of King Canute in the early 11th century when his standard-bearer Tovi or Tofig the Proud, founded a church here to house the miraculous cross discovered at Montacute in Somerset. It is this cross that gave Waltham the earliest suffix to its name. King Harold rebuilt Tovi's church in stone around 1060, in gratitude it is said for his cure from a paralysis, through praying before the miraculous cross. Legend has it that after his death at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, his body was brought to the abbey for burial near to the High Altar. Today the spot is marked by a stone slab in the churchyard. In 1177 as part of his penance for his part in the murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry II refounded Harold's church as a priory of Augustinian Canons Regular, which grew to be the richest monastery in Essex. The town's dependence on the Abbey was signalled by its decline after the Abbey was dissolved in 1540, the last monastic house to be dissolved. In the 17th century a gunpowder factory was opened in the town. The factory was sold to the government in 1787 and was greatly expanded during the next century, becoming the Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills. In the 19th century searches began for more powerful and reliant propellant explosives, and guncotton was developed here by Frederick Abel, starting in 1863. Cordite production began in 1891 and the site was enlarged several times. The site was an obvious target during World War II, and a German V-2 rocket landed near the factory in Highbridge Street on 7 March 1945, causing considerable damage to property and large loss of life. The factory eventually closed in 1943, and the site was developed into an explosives research establishment. There was also a fulling mill at Sewardstone around 1777 and a pin factory by 1805. Silk and calico printing were also important industries. The River Lea Navigation was also improved, a new canal cut across the marshes was opened in 1769 bringing more trade to the town. (text by Geoffrey Gillon)
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Waltham Abbey
Added by: darealjolo
Waltham Abbey
Added by: julia&keld
Waltham Abbey
Added by: julia&keld
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