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The Abbey Gateway
Abbey Street, Reading
The best known remnant of the great Abbey of Reading is the Inner Gate. Commonly known as the "Abbey Gateway," this was the smallest of several entrances to various parts of the monastery. It guarded the way into the monastic inner-sanctum where the general public were not admitted and appears to have survived destruction due to its administrative role. It was the meeting place of Abbot and townsfolk and confrontation between the two was rife in the Middle Ages, particularly over the Mayoral elections.

The Last abbot of Reading was hanged just outside the Abbey Gateway in 1539, bringing the site's monastic connection to a close. It was part of the Royal Palace that superseded the Abbot's House for a while, but in the 18th century became the original home of the 'Abbey School' which was attended, for several years, by the author, Jane Austen. The building was heavily restored in 1861 after virtually collapsing during a thunderstorm. It now belongs to Reading Museum.



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