As part of the celebrations of the 900th Anniversary of Reading Abbey, the University invited renowned church archaeologist Tim Tatton-Brown to present a lecture on the archaeology and hidden history of the Abbey site today. On this page you can view Tim’s full lecture or watch a short summary filmed at the Abbey. The page also draws together some of the key resources developed by members of the University’s History Department, Reading Museum and the Friends of the Abbey in recent years.
Archaeology of the Abbey
Tim Tatton-Brown introduces Reading Abbey and its importance in its 900th year:
And you can watch the complete lecture (1h02mins, plus 30 minutes of Q&A):
Here you can see a scaled plan of Reading Abbey based on OS 1879, showing all known archaeological interventions, based on research by Tim Tatton-Brown in 2021 and drawn by Jill Atherton (copyright Jill Atherton).
Find out more
- Reading Abbey’s most famous manuscript – Reading Museum online exhibition (2021, developed by Reading Museum team in collaboration with Professor Anne Lawrence-Mathers and colleagues)
- History of the Abbey – overview of the Reading Abbey Quarter
- Berkshire Records Office – Reading Abbey 900 – overview of collections held at the Records Office
- Royal Death and Burial: Reading Abbey in Context – History Department blog by Professor Lindy Grant (2019)
- Reading and its Royal Abbey – History Department symposium (2021; papers will be published in Reading Medieval Studies in 2022)
- Reading Medieval Studies – special issue on Reading Abbey (2016, edited by Professor Lindy Grant)
- Museums Partnership Reading – partnership between the Museum of English Rural Life and Reading Museum (2018-22), funded by Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation scheme.
- Kemp, Brian R. (1968) Reading Abbey: An Introduction to the History of the Abbey, Reading, Berkshire: Reading Museum and Art Gallery.
- Kemp, Brian R. (1986) Reading Abbey Cartularies volume I: General documents and those relating to English counties other than Berkshire, London: Royal Historical Society.
- Kemp, Brian (1987) Reading Abbey Cartularies volume II: Berkshire Documents, Scottish Charters and Miscellaneous Documents, London: Royal Historical Society.
- Kemp, Brian R. (ed.) (2018) Reading Abbey Records: A New Miscellany, Reading, Berkshire: Berkshire Record Society.
About our partnership
This University lecture celebrates a key moment in Reading Abbey’s heritage and highlights the value of partnership between the University of Reading and Reading Borough Council. We have a long history of collaboration focusing on Reading Abbey, including historical research and excavations conducted by the University’s department of History over many decades.
Over the last few years, the History Department has worked with Reading Museum on a series of conferences on Reading Abbey and a panel of academic experts from numerous disciplines supported the Reading Museum’s ‘Reading Abbey Revealed Project’, a project that achieved both the conservation of the abbey ruins and a new public gallery in the Museum.
We are marking the anniversary through a new collaboration between the University’s Department of Archaeology, Reading Museum and Berkshire Archaeology. Together we have been successful in gaining funding for a PhD studentship that will focus on mapping the archaeological deposits of Reading Abbey, to inform future planning, conservation and interpretation to the public. The project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and is a timely and fitting recognition of the Abbey’s anniversary. The research will address the urgent need for improved knowledge of Reading Abbey’s archaeology, both to enhance historical understanding and to meet the demands of urban regeneration.