Reference Entry

Reading Abbey

Malcolm Thurlby

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T070988

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  • Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400)
  • Christian Art

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Former Benedictine abbey church in Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1121 by Henry I and, although not officially affiliated to Cluny, was entrusted to monks from there and Lewes Priory, where Hugh de Bowes was Prior before becoming the first Abbot of Reading in 1123. Henry I was buried in front of the high altar in 1136, and the church was dedicated by Archbishop Thomas Becket in the presence of Henry II in 1164. Following the dissolution of the abbey in 1539, and its subsequent destruction, stones from the cloister and conventual buildings were reused at Borough Marsh; some carved examples were moved to Sonning and then to Reading Museum in 1912. Borough Marsh was excavated in 1949 and the carved stones deposited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, until 1975 when they were given to Reading Museum.

The choir had an apse-ambulatory plan and, like Oxford Cathedral, probably had rib-vaulted aisles and a giant order in the main elevation. The ...

Reference Entry.  679 words. 

Subjects: Architecture ; Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400) ; Christian Art

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