Holy Cross Day at Waltham Abbey

On Holy Cross Day Saturday 14 September Waltham Abbey is remembering the bringing of the miraculous Holy Cross from Montacute in Somerset to Waltham by Tovi the Proud in 1035.

This is the third year that the Abbey and town, known as Waltham Holy Cross, has marked the day with a procession.

This year 2013 the procession will begin at the Eleanor Cross at nearby Waltham Cross at 1pm.

As the procession crosses the Lea Valley Walk and river it will be met by residents from Waltham Abbey whilst bells are rung from the Abbey tower by both local ringers and guests from Montacute. On arrival at the Abbey the procession will pass through a medieval fair.

At 2.30pm a short service in the Abbey church will include a re-enactment of the Legend of the Holy Cross. Last year the Abbey choir sang an unaccompanied Latin as Scouts placed a replica Holy Cross in its stand.

Holy Cross Day recalls the crucifixion of Christ and the finding of the True Cross. The 14 September date was chosen because on that day in 335 Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which covers the crucifixion site, was consecrated.

In Waltham Abbey the day is also an opportunity to recall the story of a marble cross being dug up in Somerset and loaded on a cart whose oxen only stopped on reaching what is now Waltham. This was taken as a sign that a church should be built and for centuries Waltham Abbey displayed the miraculous cross.

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