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Reading Abbey Waterfront - booklet

Reading Abbey Waterfront - booklet

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Published by Wessex Archaeology
This booklet, first published in 1986, is a summary of the history of Reading and the archaeological excavations undertaken by The Trust for Wessex Archaeology. It was compiled by The Trust for Wessex Archaeology and Reading Museum and Art Gallery.
Water transport was of vital importance to the medieval economy. Road transport was slow, unreliable and expensive. Goods might be damaged in transit or could easily fall off the back of a cart; road travel was in any case a hazardous business. It made a lot of sense to deliver materials by boat wherever possible. The comparative efficiency of water transport is easy to forget in this modern age of motorways, railways and air travel.
Reading was a small settlement before the Norman conquest and lay at the crossroads of the main east-west route from London to Bristol and the less direct route from Southampton to Oxford. In 1121 Henry I founded an abbey in Reading just to the east of the earlier pre-conquest settlement.
The Abbey was situated on a spur of gravel between the rivers Thames and Kennet. The Thames flowed to the north of the town, but between the river and the Abbey were low-lying meadows which are liable to flooding even today.
The Kennet, passing to the south side of the Abbey, was not subject to flooding and consequently the monastic buildings were allowed to extend down to the banks of the river. The importance of this waterway was quickly realised.
This booklet, first published in 1986, is a summary of the history of Reading and the archaeological excavations undertaken by The Trust for Wessex Archaeology. It was compiled by The Trust for Wessex Archaeology and Reading Museum and Art Gallery.
Water transport was of vital importance to the medieval economy. Road transport was slow, unreliable and expensive. Goods might be damaged in transit or could easily fall off the back of a cart; road travel was in any case a hazardous business. It made a lot of sense to deliver materials by boat wherever possible. The comparative efficiency of water transport is easy to forget in this modern age of motorways, railways and air travel.
Reading was a small settlement before the Norman conquest and lay at the crossroads of the main east-west route from London to Bristol and the less direct route from Southampton to Oxford. In 1121 Henry I founded an abbey in Reading just to the east of the earlier pre-conquest settlement.
The Abbey was situated on a spur of gravel between the rivers Thames and Kennet. The Thames flowed to the north of the town, but between the river and the Abbey were low-lying meadows which are liable to flooding even today.
The Kennet, passing to the south side of the Abbey, was not subject to flooding and consequently the monastic buildings were allowed to extend down to the banks of the river. The importance of this waterway was quickly realised.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Wessex Archaeology on Jan 30, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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05/13/2014

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