The grounds belonging to St James' church are situated over the north transept of the Abbey. The flint core of the pillars is partly standing. There is photograph, dating either to the end of the 19th or start of the 20th century, which shows much more was still standing at that time. Much of this has fallen down since then and at the base of the flint core stack there...
The purpose of HASP is to discover stones that may have come from Reading Abbey and which were previously unknown or which had not been examined.
If the stone is found on, or buried in, Abbey grounds then there is a strong assumption that it may have been a part of the Abbey. However if a stone turns up in a garden some miles away how can we tell its origins?
There are many stones in these gardens which may have come from the Abbey. Some are in the walls and ornamental features. However there is also a large group of stones amongst which I have selected a couple of special interest.
First of all here are some photos of a few of the more interesting specimens.
The following group of stones comes from an old...
A single block of stone with a carving of a head which has a hole though its mouth.
The head is worn and may represent either a real or mythical animal. It does not look as if it was ever meant to represent a human head. The large block behind the head has a hole which serves to collect water before being discharged through the mouth of the of the head.
This stone was found in a the back garden of a house in Newtown, near the River Kennet. How did it get here. Did it 'fall off the back of a barge' at the time of the Dissolution of the monasteries on its way maybe to Windsor? Or did some enterprising owner of the house think of beautifying its rockery when the houses were built in the 1870s?
Found in a garden in Wokingham this group of stones has examples of various types of carving. How they come to be here is a mystery. The house is over 100 years old and it seems likely that the original owner merely went along to the Abbey site and collected 'interesting' looking stones for his rockery...