Sunday, 1 January 2017

St Laurence Reading

This is the last of the main churches in Reading I visited and the most frustrating as I have still not found the church open to take photos inside . History is taken as usual from Wikipedia
" St Laurence's was one of the three original parish churches, along with St Mary's and St Giles', serving the medieval borough of Reading. It was built to serve the people of the eastern part of the town. Its location next to the Abbey stimulated trade in that part of the town and St Laurence's soon became surrounded by a large market place which included a pillory and stocks.
The church dates from the Norman period but underwent major rebuildings in 1196, in the 15th century and in 1867. The building is of flint with ashlar quoins. The principal feature of the church is a three-stage tower, built in 1458, which closes the vista to the north of Reading's old Market Place. The interior of the church contains several interesting items, including a memorial to John Blagrave, the 16th century English mathematician and a 1522 font used for the christening of Archbishop Laud. The church is a Grade I listed building.
In the 1970s, a declining congregation meant that the parish of St Laurence was merged with that of St Mary's. Numbers continued to decline, and at the end of the 20th century it was decided to seek a new role for the church. The interior of the church was reorganised and a modern mezzanine floor inserted at one end of the nave. Today it serves as a mission church with a mandate to encourage the faith amongst young people"

 The next three photos below are a model of Reading Abbey, you can see St Laurence over to the left around mid photo and stood beside the main gate leading to the Abbey. The photos were taken in Reading Museum

The Abbey and how it would have looked

Last a view towards the Abbey. I might add the whole area of the market place is still in that configuration today. I will try and write a blog on the Abbey sometime when it is open again.

The front of the church as it is today just before Christmas

This was taken from near the market place and was a wide angle shot The Abbey gate would have been near the door in the center of the church, the road runs along the one that lead to the Abbey from the Gate 

Looking towards the market place from near the Church

The church from the churchyard

and looking from along Forbury Road which takes its name from the nearby Gardens, the road joins up with Abbots Walk

The North side of the churchyard whee a lot of older graves are

a Head and Footstone tomb and another Headstone

Looking towards the Rilings along the churchyrad path

An old de-laminating headstone which is now beside a new building

An old Tomb with a couple of headstones which have been laid over

Words are almost gone on this one

Two old tombs 

The building here dates back to the Abbey times and was the old Hopital then

Looking south over the churchyard

Tombs looking towards a newish office block

Looking South across the churchyard, the tent on the right I thing is some homless person living there

Above the writing is still readable on this headstone  while on the right a couple of tombs in the churchyard

I thougtit quite odd how the churchyard went aroun the end of the office block on the north side of the churchyard

Looking back towards the church

From the office block you see the tombs in the churchyard

Ivy getting hold of this one

This is the memorial to one unfortunate who was blown off the roof of Reading Station the day before it opened. His fellow workmates paid for his buirial and headstone

This tomb once had railings around it  how they are gone

Looking through the churchyrad towards the church

Looking West

More Tombs, I think it shows how rich people were who wanted to be buried in the churchyard and bee seen

Memorials on the North Wall

A couple of Tombs near the North Wall

Panoramic looking South

and another looking North 

This is a piece of Tracery that came off the large window in the Tower you see at the front of the church, It tells a story, it was damaged whe a series of bombs were dropped in World War Two, 43 people were killed, I feel it serves as a memorial to them

The plaque near where it happened

The front of the church and the new window

If you leek nearby you can see marks in the walls caused by fragments of shrapnel

and if you look carefully you can see som of the shrapnel still in the wall. I have written a blog you can read called 10th Febuary 1943

 Hopefully I| will return with some photos from inside the church in the future
I Wish you a Happy NewYear

1 comment:

  1. Bill, there is so much history here. Its interesting the city has developed around the once country setting...Happy 2017 to you.