Reading Abbey Book
Reading’s Abbey, founded in 1121 by King Henry I of England, was huge and wealthy. Throughout its 400-year life the royal Abbey was visited regularly by Kings and Queens, hosted Parliaments and royal weddings and was a famous destination for medieval pilgrims. But Henry VIII ordered its dissolution in 1539 and although the monastic buildings were used for a time as a royal palace, the stone proved useful for, among other things, shoring up the defences of the town during the Civil War. By the 18th century, one of the most impressive Abbeys in England had been reduced to a picturesque ruin.
· Discover how the Abbey and its associated buildings were originally laid out on a promontory between the Thames and Kennet.
· Read features on monastic life, royal burials, and Abbot Hugh Cook Faringdon who was executed.
· Find out about the famous 19th century architects who rejuvenated the Abbey Quarter.
· Learn about the technicalities of the 21st century conservation work.
· Walk the Abbey Quarter using the guide and map to discover the hidden gems history has left behind and find out where some of the Abbey stone has ended up.
This book connects you directly with the past, inspires you to be part of a future that values the Abbey’s legacy, and demonstrates just how important a landmark we still have at the centre of modern Reading.
Written by John Painter & Peter Durrant.