Abingdon Abbey, Abingdon, Berkshire

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Feature Sets (2)


Nothing of the abbey church remains in situ, and the surviving abbey buildings all postdate the 12thc. In the Abbey Gardens, where the church once stood, is an artificial ruin constructed of fragments from the site. Reset in the S wall of this are the voussoirs described below.


The abbey was founded in 675, and the church rebuilt after its destruction by the Danes by Bishop Aethelwold between 954 and 963. It is known to have been rebuilt again, largely under Abbots Rainald (1084-97) and Fabritius (1100-17), but Fabritius's church was not dedicated until 1239.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration


Voussoir 1

S wall of artificial ruin, 2.80 m from W corner, 0.70 m above ground. Chevron on face and soffit. Face, pointing outwards five thick rolls alternating with five thin. Soffit, partly concealed by surrounding masonry, but at least two thick rolls (not including the angle roll), again alternating with thin rolls.

max. l. 0.53 m
max. measurable d. of soffit 0.22 m
w. at E (inner) end 0.12 m
w. at W (outer) end 0.135 m

Voussoir 2

S wall of artificial ruin, 0.50 m E of E jamb of S window, 0.20 m above ground. A badly-worn fragment consisting of the outer end only of a voussoir similar to (i).

max. l. 0.23 m
w. at E (outer) end 0.15 m
w. at W (inner) end 0.142 m


The voussoirs formed part of an arch of considerable size. The best estimate, which is necessarily extremely speculative, is of the order of 8-9 m inner diameter, quite large enough for the main arcade of the abbey church, or even for a crossing arch.


  • Abingdon Chronicle.

  • M. Biddle, G. Lambrick, JNL Myres, 'The Early History of Abingdon, Berkshire and its Abbey', Medieval Archaeology 12 (1968), 26-68.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth, 1966 54-56.

  • J. Slater, 'A Sketch of the History of the Abbey of Abingdon', Berkshire Archaeological and Architectural Society Transactions, 1880-81, 51-62.

View in ruins
View in ruins


Site Location
Abingdon Abbey, Abingdon
National Grid Reference
SU 500 972 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Berkshire
now: Oxfordshire
medieval: Salisbury
now: Oxford
medieval: Blessed Virgin Mary (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Former Benedictine Abbey  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
5 May 1990, 2 August 2009