In 2010, we organised two walking tours of Abingdon with the Friends of Abingdon and Dr Simon Bradley, editor of the revised 'Berkshire' Pevsner guide. It's easily one of the best events we've ever done (and one we'd love to do again). For many who came on the tour, it opened our eyes to Abingdon's remarkable heritage and history.
Most famous is the Abbey buildings, and there is still a great deal about them that we don't know. In recent years the restoration of the Abbey Gardens (a Scheduled Ancient Monument) has rekindled interest in where the Abbey was, and informed speculation on the exact location and make-up of the Abbey buildings.
So this book is very timely, published right at the end of 2011: 'The Lost Abbey of Abingdon'. It's a little gem, only 34 pages, but contains a great deal of the latest information we have about the Abbey, much of it based on work done duration the Abbey Gardens restoration, and including 'geophys' readings and computer-generated reconstructions of the buildings.
The book also contains a fantastic montage image, which superimposes a building which was very similar to Abingdon Abbey (Wells Cathedral) onto the gardens, to give an impression of what the Abbey looked like.
Working at Mostly Books, we keep finding out lots of incredibly interesting things about the history of the town (mostly tantalising rumour, and stuff that cannot be corroborated - my personal favourite being that the A34 was originally planned to go the other side of Abingdon, but was changed at the last minute - anyone know any more about that?).
We recently came across this intriguing website, showing how one of the Abingdon Abbey buildings served as inspiration for Chicago's Glessner House, which inspired a young Frank Lloyd Wright. Fascinating - and would be great to know more...
Copies of 'The Lost Abbey of Abingdon' are in Mostly Books for £5 - or order with £3 UK delivery below: