St Laurence's Church
Postcard - 1802
St Laurence's was one of three original parish churches, along with St Mary's and St Giles', serving the people of Reading. Its location next to the Abbey encouraged trade in that part of the town and St Laurence's soon overlooked a large market place that moved from its original location in St Mary's Butts.
The buildings to the left of St Laurence's Church occupy the space where the Abbey's Hospitium complex would have been located. The Abbey's Charter stipulated that the Abbey had a duty to provide for the physical as well as the spiritual needs of the pilgrims who came to Reading.The purpose of the Hospitium was to provide at least two days of food and lodging to travellers who needed aid.
To the right of St Laurence's Church is the arcade, also called Blagrave Piazza. The flat roofed white building is the north aisle of St Laurence's Church and the next building along is the vicarage. The building to the left of the vicarage is the late 18th century Town Hall building. Under the first set of windows of the vicarage there is what appears to be a gated opening, next to the woman and child figures. This was the entrance to a passageway under the vicarage, leading through to the churchyard at the rear. Today it is an open passageway between Blandy and Blandy Solicitors' offices and the church.
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