Monday, 13 May 2013

A Day in Abingdon – Monday 13th May 2013

The impressive Abbey Gateway, St Nicolas Church and St John’s Hospital which catered for the needy travellers and the abbey servants. The rooms above the gateway were used as the prison until the Old Goal was built in 1812.
A abbey Church
The County Hall originally belonged to the Abbey and was rebuilt in 1682 and the open area on ground level was used as a covered Market whilst the upstairs was used as a court house. It is a magnificent building and is lit up at night. Todays Monday Market is held in the square opposite to the hall. It is a great market and there were queues all morning at the fruit and veg stall so it must be good.
B County Hall and Market
The front and rear views of the Old Goal which came into use in 1812. It still does not look too inviting although they are making the area into an apartment development now.
c Goal compend
This 15th century house in East St Helen’s street was bequeathed to Oxford Preservation Trust by Alice Mary Baker in 1991.
d 15th century house

St. Helen’s Church overshadows St. Nicholas’ at Abingdon in the same way that the town’s old abbey church must have overshadowed St. Helen’s in its day. It is a huge building with a beautiful tapering spire, not a particularly common sight in medieval Berkshire. The view of Abingdon from across the Thames wouldn’t be nearly so picturesque without it. It is said to be the second widest church in England (the widest being in Hull), for it has four aisles lining the nave instead of the usual two. The size is not obvious from the outside, hemmed in as it is by the Thames and several fine sets of alms houses, notably Christ’s Hospital (or Long Alley) of 1446 with its covered corridor and pretty copula E church compend
View of St Helen’s Church and the Sundial which is on the houses fronting the river which says “Thames to the Sea, Time Eternity”
E Church and sundial
The Crown & Thistle is steeped in history dating back to 1742. It is said the legendary Scottish hero Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed at the inn during his adventures up and down the country. It still retains its cobbled court yard and even has a set of Stocks near to the entrance, so be careful if you get too drunk as you may end up locked in them.
M pub Compend
The Nags Head stands on the bridge and its history can be traced back to 1686 when John Fountain paid an annual rent of 5 shillings for it. The origin of the name is unknown but it could have been named after the island on which it stands, Nags Head island, which refers to the shape of it or to it being the site of the witches ducking stool.
f Nags Head pub
The Mill Stream which is nearly a mile in length starting adjacent to the present lock and flowing into the Thames again near to the bridge. It was instigated by Abbot Ethelwold when he rebuilt the abbey in 954 AD and it was believed to have been slightly longer joining the river near St Helens Church. It formed the southern boundary of the Abbey as well as providing it with its source of power for the mill. The cottages on the left formed part of the south face of the Abbey.
g Mill and stream
Part of the domestic building s of the Abbey are still used today and form the Unicorn Theatre and are open to the public each day from 2 – 4 pm.j Abbey domestics
Lovely view looking down river from the bridge which was first built in 1416 to replace the ford. Abingdon was the only place to cross the  river for several miles up or down stream.
h Down river from bridge
Our mooring spot next to the park, mini golf and heated outdoor swimming pool.
h Mooring
I would not recommend mooring in the spot which this boat decided to moor. It looks as though it was washed up in the  recent floods.k Not the place to moor
At the side of Abingdon lock is a set of Paddles which were used to control the water flow over the weir. The sign gives a good explanation of how they were used.
L Paddle gear comp

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