Local business and dignitaries come together to celebrate conservation of the Abbey ruins
Over 900 years of Reading history and the recent work to conserve and open it up to today’s Reading residents were the focus of the launch last night of ‘Reading Abbey and the Abbey Quarter’. The new book explores in detail the history of the Abbey. Hosted by leading Reading law firm Boyes Turner, whose office overlooks the spectacular Abbey ruins, the event was attended by the Mayor of Reading, the book’s authors and other prominent local historians and dignitaries.
Reading’s Abbey, founded in 1121 by King Henry I of England, was large 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 by the 18th century, one of the most impressive Abbeys in England had been reduced to a picturesque ruin.
Following a major conservation project as part of “Reading Abbey Revealed” there has been huge public interest in learning more about the ruins, and the story of the Abbey. The new book, published by Two Rivers Press, with support from the Friends of Reading Abbey, the Reading Abbey Revealed Project team at Reading Museum and the Earley Charity, is an illustrated guide to the history of the Abbey and the Abbey Quarter from its earliest days right up to the re-opening of the ruins in June 2018. It includes a wealth of information, and includes a walking tour of the Abbey quarter, for those who wish to explore the historical site on foot.
Bill Gornall-King, Partner at Boyes Turner who has lived and worked in Reading since 1980, is a member of the Business Growth & Skills group of Reading UK CIC and has been on the Reading Abbey Quarter Project board since 2011. He said:
“Reading is a thriving modern town. But it wouldn’t hold the position it does today and the bright future it has without its rich historical foundations. We’re delighted to support this project and as the occupants of the present incarnation of the Abbot’s House of Reading Abbey, we were thrilled to open our offices with their fine views over the site of the Abbey to the Mayor, councillors, Two Rivers Press and the Friends of Reading.”
Sally Mortimore, Managing Publisher of Two Rivers Press, publishers of the book, said:
“We are extremely grateful to Boyes Turner for their investment in the local community and their generosity in sponsoring an event that gave the Abbey the kind of profile it deserves. We are dedicated to developing strong working partnerships with many local arts, culture and heritage organisations, and look forward to more successful collaborations with the business sector that offers so much to Reading’s present and future.”
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