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Matt Rodda MP is calling for Reading Gaol to be saved and turned into an arts hub and museum – to commemorate Oscar Wilde and other important historic events. The Prison is a very important part of Reading’s history. It is believed to also contain the burial place of King Henry I , who established Reading Abbey and it also has a number of other historic links.

The Gaol is under threat of being turned into luxury flats after the Ministry of Justice announced it would sell the site to the highest bidder. Matt said “I am working with a wide range of other local people and organisations and I hope that together we can press for a change of Government policy”.

The latest issue of British Archaeology contains a long article detailing the latest archaeological research into Reading Abbey. It also includes articles bemoaning the Ministry of Justice refusal to publish recent MOLA investigations and a call for a properly resourced public research project.

Meanwhile you can sign the petition here

Wednesday 24th July 2019 – FORA Annual Outing



contact John Painter to book on

  • 09.45 Assemble for Coach – North Caversham side, Reading Station
  • 10.00 Coach DEPARTURE 
    • C12th Church and Manor part of original foundation to Reading Abbey
    • Burial place of Dame Agatha Christie
    • Cholsey Great Barn – demolished 1815, site now occupied by early C19th replacements 
  • 11.30 Coach to Wallingford 11.40 WALLINGFORD 
  • 11.45 Morning coffee – Old Post Office 12.30 Visit to Town Hall 
  • 13.00 Lunch (own arrangements)
    • Kinecroft – Saxon defences 
    • St Laurence’s church (Norman)
    • Walk to see site of Wallingford Castle 
  • 14.00 Visit to Wallingford Museum – local history exhibition 
  • 14.45 Coach to Dorchester (pick up near Museum) 
    • Dorchester Abbey of St Peter – C12th Augustinian Abbey Cloister Gallery
    • Dorchester Abbey Museum 
  • 15.45 TEA IN ABBEY TEA ROOM (opens at 3.00pm)
  • 16.15 Depart for Reading
  • 17.15 Approximate time of return to Reading

PRICE: £35 by coach / £20 by car 

Both include morning coffee and afternoon tea; entry to Wallingford Town Hall and Museum; and contributions to both Cholsey Church and Dorchester Abbey 

  • COST: £35 pp (30 people max)
    • Coach pp 20.00
    • Morning Coffee 3.00
    • Entry to Museum 4.00 (group entry) 
    • Afternoon tea 4.50
    • Contributions 3.50 


Opens January 24th 2018 – West Berkshire Museum: Hoards

West Berkshire Museum

Special Exhibition: Hoards

Bringing together for the first time, over 11 hoards from all over West Berkshire.  A chance to see buried treasure from prehistory to the medieval period, ranging from a hoard of Bronze Age Axes, Iron Age hoards of gold coins, Roman hoards of hundreds of coins, to a hoard of coins of Charles I and James I.  Explore the history of each hoard, find out how they were found, and consider why they were hidden and never retrieved.

Entry to West Berkshire Museum is free but donations are most welcomed.
Open: Wednesday – Sunday 10am -4pm

Image: The Crow Down Hoard, Acquired 2006

More info here

Special Exhibition: Hoards