You are on page 1of 6

Archaeology and the Restoration Project

Forbury Gardens has a long and


interesting history. Evidence of
its past is both visible around you
and buried under ground.

Digging trenches for cables and pipes,


laying new paths and building can all
cause damage. So archaeologists
from Wessex Archaeology were asked
to watch the work in progress and
keep an eye out for finds and features
uncovered during the restoration.

Anything significant was cleaned


and recorded, then either protected
by reburial or removed to safety.

FORB
URY R
OAD
11

11 Plumm
3 ery W
all
3
Forbury Gardens

Minerva Forbury Hill


House
TH

Earthwork St James's
EF

Church
OR

War
BU

Memorial Benedictine Abbey


RY

10 9 Pond Founded 1121

Bandstand
2
Memorial St James's
Infant
School

8
8
7
6
WALK
8 ABBOT'S
War
Memorial

R BURY
THE FO
Abbey Ruins
1
Abbots House
9 5
Trenches
5
ABB

1 Abbey ruins 12th-15th century


EY S

2 Millstone 12th-15th century


© Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number 100020449

12
TRE

3 HumanDavidson
bone 12th-15th century Assize
Chestnut W
ET

Courts
4 Medieval wall 12th-15th century
House

5 Angel's wing stone carving 12th-15th century


6 Cloister arch (laser surveyed) 12th-15th century 12
alk

7 Demolition rubble 16th century


8 Wall made of reused Abbey stone 16th-19th century 4
9 Bottles 18th centuryForbury Square
10 Clay pipes 18th century
11 Pottery 18th-20th century
12 Air raid shelter steps 20th century WWII
12
Design by K.Nichols Wessex Archaeology
Earlier Investigations

We already know quite a lot about the Abbey,


its waterfront and Forbury Gardens because
of the archaeological excavations that have
been done since the 1960s.

This information has given us a picture of


how the Abbey and its waterfront developed
during the medieval period.

The excavation of the waterfront uncovered


a sequence of preserved timber wharves
dating from about 1200 to the present day.
Interesting objects were found where they had
been lost in the river: metalwork and pottery,
but also leather shoes, belts and other items
preserved in the waterlogged conditions.

The archaeological record


shows graphically how the buildings
were damaged and the building materials
re-used after the dissolution of the monasteries.
Design by K.Nichols Wessex Archaeology
1,000 years of history in the Gardens

Forbury Gardens was the outer


precinct of the Abbey and the
site of several annual fairs.
It probably contained buildings
associated with the Abbey and
a cemetery to the north of the
Abbey Church.

Forbury Hill may be the site of


a Viking fortification built when
the Danes seized Reading from
the Saxons. The earthwork was
probably re-used briefly when
King Stephen built a castle there
in 1150 during his battle for
power against Queen Matilda.

During the English Civil War


the Abbey precinct wall was
fortified and the hill was used
as a gun emplacement.
A ditch and a rampart
were dug across the
remains of the Abbey.
Design by K.Nichols Wessex Archaeology

Related Interests