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English Medieval BooksThe Reading Abbey Collections from Foundation to Dispersal$
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Alan Coates

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207566

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207566.001.0001

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Brief History of Reading and its Abbey

Brief History of Reading and its Abbey

(p.5) 1 Brief History of Reading and its Abbey
English Medieval Books

Alan Coates

Oxford University Press

Reading, now the county town of Royal Berkshire, lies near the junctions of the River Kennet and the River Thames, forty-one miles west of London. In the Middle Ages, Reading’s geographical position was one of importance. Cluny’s own high reputation and Henry I’s links with it can only have strengthened his decision to choose the Cluniac observance for Reading. Reading’s eldest, and ultimately only surviving daughter house was Leominster Priory, which was probably used by the monks of Reading as some sort of retreat. This chapter provides a brief history of Reading and its abbey. Reading’s dependencies in England include two hospitals. Reading also had two dependencies in Scotland. Abbot Hugh I of Reading was at the forefront of affairs in Henry I’s reign. The position at Reading had evidently not improved by 1281, when Archbishop John Pecham of Canterbury intervened and proposed for the abbey a system of monastic financial administration similar to that which had been established at Christ Church, Canterbury, and which was also employed at Glastonbury.

Keywords:   Reading, Reading Abbey, history, Cluny, Henry I, Leominster Priory, monks, hospitals, dependencies, John Pecham

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