Reading Abbey and the Abbey Quarter

After several years of restoration, Reading Abbey Ruins have now been opened to the public. This has led to increased public interest which is being satisfied by interesting talks and tours in the ruins and nearby museum.

I went to a talk given by the authors, John Painter and Peter Durrant, of a new guide to the abbey, which was held in the museum Victorian Gallery. The talk was about the history of the abbey from its early beginnings until it was demolished during the English Civil War. In its lifetime it was regularly visited by monarchs, hosted parliaments, and held royal weddings.

I had thought that the abbey had been destroyed as part of the reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries. However, Reading Abbey was favoured by Henry VIII and he converted it into a royal palace which was later used by his daughter Elisabeth I.

It is also thought that Henry I may be buried somewhere on the abbey site so the friends of Reading Abbey have been doing work to see if there is any evidence of this.