The Sword-Point Wedding
Places to Go
Child family’s old Abbey Brewery in Abingdon, where our story starts
out, used to occupy the long gallery of the old Abbey’s exchequer
building in Abbey Close (open to the public). Benjamin’s family
presumably lived somewhere nearby. The Brewery later came into the hands
of the Morland family, a name which, until recently, was still associated with modern day brewing in
move on, like Benjamin, to Reading where the beautiful chequerboard
of St. Mary, stands in the centre of the town between Broad Street,
Minster Street and the Butts. Calcot Park lies to the west of the town,
down Castle Street and along the A4 (Bath Road) towards Theale. It stands
north of the road in the parish of Tilehurst. The park is now Calcot
Course, and the house, once the Club House, hasnow been converted into
private apartments. At the right time of year it can be
seen through the trees. Unfortunately, this beautiful red brick mansion
was built for John Blagrave soon after Benjamin sold him the estate.
Presumably, after the latter’s ultimate exploits there, the old house
wasn’t fit to live in.
Prospect Park is also on the north side of the Bath Road, somewhat before you reach Calcot. Take Liebenrood Road north from the mini-roundabout. The house is approached from the park entrance, on the left, not far along it. Left derelict for many years, the majestic mansion is now fully restored to its former glory as part of a well-known restaurant chain. So, obviously, anyone can walk up to it, and anyone visiting the restaurant can have a look around inside. Here, in an alcove in the main dining area, you will find a wonderful memorial statue to Frances, sculpted by Marcus Cornish. She stands with sword in hand ready to take on all prospective husbands. It was commissioned by the Reading Civic Society to commemorate their part in the house’s restoration.
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