which four bays remain,, simple, elegant quadripartite vaults with a row
of very slender circular piers, simple circular capitals, nicely profiled
ribs, and simple two-light windows. Parts of the upper floor also remain,
and the whole of the W wall, forming a typically severe composition, with
central buttress (gone), a roundel above it, a two-light window on either
side on the lower floor, and what looks like two big blocked lancets on
the upper floor. Fragments of tracery remain in one of these, which (to
judge from Buck's early C18 view) was part of an inserted Perp window.
This upper floor belonged to the lay brethren's quarters.
Everywhere else in the world, the
name Waverley suggests something quite different from a village or
monastery ruins in Surrey. In 1814, Sir Walter Scott published anonymously
his first novel Waverley. It was to be followed by a string
of historical novels also published anonymously 'by the Author of
Waverley', and hence to become known as the Waverley Novels.
The notice in
the picture above at the entrance to the site says "Inspiration for
Sir Walter Scott's novel Waverley". This is quite misleading. The
novel has nothing to do with the site, or medieval monasteries, or ruins.
He simply chose to adopt the name for his fictional hero
Edward Waverley, the heir to an estate in southern England who travels
north and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite uprising of 1745. In his
introductory chapter to the novel, Scott wrote that he deliberately chose
a name which would evoke nothing to the reader. This was to become a habit
with titles of his later novels, although most of them dealt with major
historical events. Whilst publishers liked to promote their books by means
of resonant titles, Scott was wary of the readers' high expectations then
being disappointed. He would rather they were pleasantly surprised by a
book with a non-descript title. Here are Scott's word at the beginning
"The title of this work has
not been chosen without the grave and solid deliberation, which matters of
importance demand from the prudent. Even its first, or general
denomination, was the result of no common research or selection, although,
according to the example of my predecessors, I had only to seize upon the
most sounding and euphonic surname that English history or topography
affords, and elect it at once as the title of my work, and the name of my
hero. But, alas! what could my readers have expected from the chivalrous
epithets of Howard, Mordaunt, Mortimer, or Stanley, or from the softer and
more sentimental sounds of Belmour, Belville, Belfield, and Belgrave, but
pages of inanity, similar to those which have been so christened for half
a century past? I must modestly admit I am too diffident of my own merit
to place it in unnecessary opposition to preconceived associations; I
have, therefore, like a maiden knight with his white shield, assumed for
my hero, WAVERLEY, an uncontaminated name, bearing with its sound little
of good or evil, excepting what the reader shall hereafter be pleased to
affix to it."
LoveToKnow website, based on the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, has this
quote: "The Annales Waverlienses,
published by Gale in Historiae Anglicanae Scriptores
and afterwards in the Record series of Chronicles, are believed to have
suggested to Sir Walter Scott the name of his first novel."
(This is on the website's page
on Farnham). The authority for this statement would be
interesting to know - i.e. letters, memoirs, etc.
It is also quite possible,
however, that Scott was in or near Waverley on one of his many trips
south. He was always interested in historical sites, and he also wrote a
life of Swift who who spent time at Moor Park close to the abbey (see last
Final Note: Waverley Station is
about 500 miles from the village. It is the main station in
Edinburgh, named in honour of Scott.