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Reading Abbey: Events under Henry III
Visiting Regents & Royals

In 1219, died the greatest man in the realm. This was William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, the wise and strong regent who ruled England during the first three years of the boy-King, Henry III. William Marshal had a castle at Caversham, and it was there that he died. His body was borne by the monks of Reading Abbey from the castle to the Abbey church, and a solemn service was held in its honour. Thence, the body was carried to London for burial at the Temple Church. It may have been William Marshal who built the first bridge at Caversham.

In 1227, King Henry III, then a very young man, came to Reading to spend his Christmas. Christmas was one of the three occasions, the other two being Easter and Pentecost, when the King of England used to wear his crown in public and show himself to the people. Henry III, in 1227, chose to do this at Reading. We are told that the Abbey was the scene of great festivities in his honour. This Henry was very fond of splendid show. He was, indeed, the first King of England, after the Norman Conquest, who was at all particular about his clothes.

Edited from WM Childs' "The Story of the Town of Reading" (1905)


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