Reading has many enticing draws, one of which is the historic Abbey Ruins. In this blog, we will be going back in time to talk about the history of The Abbey, and what it has become in recent years.
History of The Abbey
The Abbey of Reading, dedicated to the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist, was founded by King Henry I in June 1121. Henry I founded The Abbey with the intention of being buried there, but when he passed away in December 1135, before his Abbey was complete, he was in Lyons-la-Forêt in Normandy, which was quite a distance away from Reading.
The distance between Normandy and Reading delayed his burial until 3rd January 1136, where he was eventually laid to rest at The Abbey. The funeral was conducted by the Archbishop Thomas A’Becket, in the presence of Henry II and many other nobles.
The Abbey was so large (4th largest church in Britain, in fact) that the building process continued for nearly 200 years after it originally started construction. One of the most important additions to The Abbey was the Lady Chapel in 1314, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which was positioned at the east end of the church.
Fast forward to Queen Elizabeth I’s reign in the 15th century. Elizabeth I was the last Tudor monarch and was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. The Abbey was leased to Sir Francis Knollys and his wife, the Queen’s cousin, and it became their townhouse (Abbey House) where Elizabeth I would visit often.
But all good things must come to an end, as sadly, The Abbey was destroyed by King Henry VIII during his Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. The Abbey was stripped of anything valuable, such as glass, lead and so on…
The Abbey Today
Unfortunately, very little of The Abbey remains today, and what remains is rubble. Despite this, The Abbey Ruins oozes with fascinating history and stories and re-opened to the public on 16th June 2018.
Visitors can learn about the history as they explore ruins and read the plentiful information boards which are dotted around the area.
Recently, entertaining plays and theatre productions have been performed at The Abbey Ruins. One in particular, the spectacular production of Henry I, our HOF team attended and spoke about in a blog, click here to read.
Stay with House of Fisher
House of Fisher Reading apartments are convenient and close to popular attractions for you to visit, perfect for you to enjoy your day out, come back and relax in our beautifully furnished and fully serviced apartments.
If you are planning on visiting Reading, stay with House of Fisher in our 100 Kings Road and City Wall House serviced apartments. We always encourage you to book directly through our website and advanced booking engine or by calling our Reservations team on 01189 514151.
Click here to read the wealth of benefits from doing this and remember, booking directly with House of Fisher is the only way to guarantee you will pay the lowest price.
We look forward to welcoming you!