11. A short visit to the lovely ancient town of Abingdon
set on the banks of the River Thames, Oxfordshire
Abingdon, with some good historic and archaeological evidence, claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited town in England. The settlement already had the 'status' of a town before the Romans came and thrived into Saxon times, survived the Civil War and played a major role in establishing the nonconformist church. It continues to be a thriving prosperous town and hopefully tourism will to some extent the employment decline with the demise of manufacturing industry in the area.
General scenes around the town
The Market Place with its lovely flower beds, Abingdon on Thames. It is an attractive cobbled area, unspoilt, but close to the main shopping area and multi-story car park. There is a busy retail market every Monday and a Farmers Market every 3rd Friday of the month.
St Nicolas Church and what was the entrance to St Mary's Abbey of Abingdon.
St Nicolas Church on the continuation of Stere? Street into Bridge Street close to Market Place.
The entrance to the grounds of St Mary's Abbey.
A few stone ruins and 'fragments' are all that is left of the once great Abingdon Abbey of St Mary in the Abbey Grounds.
Boats on the River Thames.
Rather nice pots of plants on this old barge house-boat.
Some of the remaining Abbey Buildings - this 'complex' serves as the Unicorn Theatre. The Abbey buildings Thames Street are the remains of the important and influential St Mary's Abbey of Abingdon. It was one of the richest abbey's of England but was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538 in the 'Dissolution of the Monasteries'.
The end and side of the timber framed Long Gallery of the Abbey buildings.
The fine building of the 17th century Old County Hall (looked after by English Heritage) which houses the Museum (lots of pictures of the museum later). The Old County Hall was built when Abingdon was the County Town of Berkshire. The architect is unknown but it was built by Christopher Kempster of Burford, one of the master masons who worked on St Paul's Cathedral.
St Nicolas Church (left) and the County Hall (right) on High Street.
The spire of St Helen's Church, the medieval Parish Church of Abingdon which began its life in the 9th century.
St Helen's Church
St Helen's Wharf on the River Thames
The Brick Alley Almshouses
The Long Alley Almshouses.
Looking up the historic East St Helen's Street with its many attractive buildings.
The north end of East St Helens Street
Bath Street has some attractive buildings in it.
Some architectural details of the County Hall.
The Museum - housed in the County Hall.
As you ascend the stairs to the museum a whole series of panels tells in you summary of the long history of the site of Abingdon Town from prehistoric times to the present and thanks to the helpful assistant ladies in the museum.
A general view of the museum exhibitions of historical objects and information displays.
Some artefacts from the 1stC BC to the 1stC AD.
Roman artefacts from the 2nd to 4th century AD.
Left: An Anglo-Saxon bossed cremation urn from the 5th century AD.
Right: A stone sculpture said to be of St Helena with a 'model' of the church tower of St Helens.
A view of the Market Place from the County Hall Museum.
The heraldic stained glass windows of the County Hall.
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