5 Jul 2018

Reading Abbey is perhaps best known as being the burial place of King Henry I. On the 800th anniversary of the foundation of Reading Abbey in 1921, local philanthropist Dr. Jamieson Hurry sponsored a variety of commemorative activities. This included a celebratory pageant in the Abbey Ruins and a plaque to mark the approximate location of Henry I’s burial. He had already gifted a Memorial Cross in the town's Forbury Gardens in 1909, as well as the eastern Chapter House plaques in 1911 and the ‘Sumer is icumen in’ plaque in 1913. He subsequently commissioned a series of paintings, now displayed at Reading Museum and Town Hall.

After almost a hundred years out in the elements, this well recognised plaque fell into serious disrepair. Almost all had to be replaced as part of the major conservation of the abbey in 2017-8 supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Reading Council. Only the original metal crown could be salvaged from the 1921 plaque.

Damaged 1911 plaque commemorating King Henry I
Damaged 1911 plaque commemorating King Henry I
Damaged 1911 plaque commemorating King Henry I

As part of the conservation of Reading Abbey, experts from Cliveden Conservation beautifully recreated the plaque. The following detailed photos document the amazing craftsmanship.

Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
Making of the new King Henry I commemorative plaque
New King Henry I commemorative plaque 2018