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Sir Frank Knollys Junior at the Old Abbey in Reading

  • When Reading Abbey was dissolved by John London, King Henry VIII decided to keep part of it as a palace.
  • The Abbot's House was a very posh building. It had a kitchen, cellars, storerooms and a chapel associated with it, as well as a fancy gateway. It made a very comfortable place to live, so was not pulled down.
  • The palace was too near to Windsor Castle though. King Henry VIII never visited. His daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, visited only 7 times in 44 years.
  • She let her cousin, Catherine Carey, live there with her husband, Sir Francis Knollys. They were famous protestants & had lots of sons. So they needed a big town-house.
  • Their son, Sir Francis Knollys Junior later lived there. He searched for hidden Catholic priests for the Queen. He also has the record for being an MP for the longest: 73 years.
  • After the Siege of Reading, during the Civil War, the Earl of Essex took a look at the palace. it was falling down. So he sold it off.
  • It was all pulled down for building stone, except the Abbey Gateway which still stands today.


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