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Gateway of Reading Abbey, Berks

Drawing by S.H. Grimm - 1778

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Gateway of Reading Abbey, drawing by Samuel Hieronymous Grimm, 1778

The Abbey Gateway or inner gateway was a prestigious part of Reading Abbey which separated the religious life of the monks from the secular world. Before the Abbey’s dissolution the Abbot’s House would have been situated to the left of the Gateway where visiting royalty would have stayed. The last Abbot of Reading, Hugh Cook Farringdon was executed in front of the gateway allegedly for rejecting the King as the Head of The Church of England.

In the late 18th century the rooms above the gateway were used by the Reading Ladies Boarding School. Jane Austen attended the school from 1785 to 1786, with her sister Cassandra and cousin Jane. You can see the school’s signboard above the garden gate on the left.

Museum object number REDMG : 1981.45b.1

width 328 mm, height 290 mm