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Saturday 18th October 2021 – BAS AGM & Lecture: Reading Abbey & Gaol

Reading Abbey and Reading Gaol

by John Painter, FoRA

This will be an overview of the Abbey Quarter, including the founding in 1121 of a royal abbey, which became one of the 10 greatest and richest monastic foundations in Britain in the high middle ages and a major pilgrimage centre linked to St James the Great; its dissolution in 1539, the destruction of the abbey church, and the re-use of monastic buildings as a royal palace until further damaged in the English Civil War; how the Abbey Quarter was the focus for re-development in Reading from the 1780s onwards and the architectural legacy of this development; with a specific focus on Reading Gaol, a brief history of the Gaol up to the present, recent archaeological surveys, and options for the future use of the site.   

There is quite a lot about Reading Abbey 900 on the FORA website,

Including a links to a very good promotional video produced by Living Reading, a Youtube introductory film to visiting Reading Abbey Quarter to mark the start of the year in which Reading Abbey celebrates its 900th anniversary. FORA has also been working with the Mayor, Cllr David Stevens, to promote a series of video talks on the Abbey, to which there are also links. 

John Painter retired from local government in 2019, following 36 years working for Reading Borough Council.  He has been actively involved in the Friends of Reading Abbey since 2011, and Secretary from 2013. His motive in joining FORA was to support the council’s efforts to consolidate the Abbey Ruins and get them re-opened to the public access (achieved in 2018) in good time for 2021, the 900th anniversary of the Abbey’s foundations.  

John has a wide range of interests, including local history, opera, singing in Reading Male Voice Choir, railways, rugby, cricket and beer. 

Wednesday 6th October 2021 – BAS Study Group

The Agenda for the meeting will be: TBA

This meeting will be conducted on Zoom starting at 3pm. Regular participants will receive an email with login details. Anyone else wishing to join should contact Andrew Hutt on andrew_hutt(at)

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Saturday 2nd October 2021 – BAS Day School

Main Hall, The Cornerstone, Wokingham, RG40 1UE

10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m Admission £10 (cash or cheque on the door)

This day school brings together professional archaeologists, archaeological societies and those interested in archaeology in Berkshire and surrounding counties. This year the programme celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Society.

Due to mitigations against COVID-19 infection the maximum seating capacity of the venue will be strictly enforced, so to avoid disappointment please confirm your attendance by sending an email by 30th September 2021 to so that seats can be reserved for you on a ‘first come first served’ basis. Payment for entry (£10 using cash or cheque only) will be taken at the door on arrival. Seating reservations for speakers at the event have already been made. 

The Society requests attendees with reserved seats to aim to arrive by 9:45am so that any attendees arriving without having made a seating reservation can be accommodated, space permitting, in time for the event to start promptly at 10:00am.  

As the seating within the venue will not be separated by additional gaps, in mitigation against COVID-19 the Society respectfully requests that all attendees wear a face mask whilst inside the building so that we are able to protect each other (as well as our family and friends) to the best of our ability whilst we enjoy this event. Weather permitting, the venue will be ventilated, and hand sanitiser will be available for use. 

Parking for the disabled is adjacent to the hall and there is usually space in Norrey’s Avenue or in the church car park opposite.

Bring a packed lunch or eat out in local restaurants and pubs.

Professor M. Fulford, President, Berkshire Archaeological Society 
10.05Excavations of the Roman public bathhouse at Silchester, 2018-21
Professor M. Fulford, University of Reading 
10.35Recent archaeological work in East Berkshire
Fiona MacDonald, Principal Archaeologist, Berkshire Archaeology 
10.55Recent archaeological work in West Berkshire
Sarah Orr, Senior Archaeologist, West Berkshire Council 
11.15COFFEE – 25 mins 
11.40The Berkshire Archaeological Society – 150 years!
Andrew Hutt, Berkshire Archaeological Society 
12.40LUNCH – 1 hour 15 minutes 
13.55Sonning Palace Dig, 1924
Catherine Petts, Berkshire Archaeological Society 
14.25Reading Abbey – the archaeological surveys of the 1970s compared with the 2016 GPR survey
John Mullaney 
14.55TEA – 25 mins 
15.20Roman Abingdon
Tim Lloyd, Berkshire Archaeological Society 
15.50-16.00Questions and Conclusions
Catherine Petts, Berkshire Archaeological Society 

BAS 150 Events & Information

To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the ‘The Berkshire Archaeological and Architectural Society’ in 1871 we will be holding as many events and activities as government restrictions allow. This page will be be regularly updated with news and links so please keep checking back.

Welcome to BAS 150: from our co-chairs

PAS 150: 150 finds from Berkshire – updating each week

Berkshire Archaeology Society 150 and Reading Abbey 900 – read an article written by a BAS member on the Reading Museum website

BAS150 Anniversary Poster – order or download a celebration poster here

Current planned events:

Sunday 13th June 2021 – The Berkshire Archaeological Society celebrates 150! 3pm on Zoom

‘The Berkshire Archaeological Society: celebrating its first 150 years’  by the Society’s President, Professor Michael Fulford 
‘BAS: back into projects’ by Andrew Hutt

Berkshire Archaeological Society: 150 years of archaeology in Berkshire

An exhibition showing the Society’s 150 year contribution to archaeology in the Berkshire area. This is confirmed for the following venues:

22nd June – 10th July – Maidenhead Heritage Centre

14th – 25th July 2021 – West Berkshire Museum

18th – 30th October – Berkshire Record Office

Saturday 2nd October 2021 – Day School

Saturday 13th November 2021 – Celebration Dinner CANCELLED

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BAJ085 published

Berkshire Archaeological Journal volume 85 has been published. It will shortly be distributed to all members and subscribers.

Others can purchase a copy by emailing journal(at)

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This is a special issue as it marks a collaboration with Cotswold Archchaeology. All articles are reports from excavations that they have conducted in and around Berkshire in the last 3 years.

Front cover


Foreword by Richard Massey

An Early Roman Site at Beech Hill Road, Spencers Wood, Berkshire by Richard Massey and Grace Perpetua Jones, with Adam Howard

Roman, medieval and post-medieval settlement at Cutbush Lane, Shinfield, Berkshire by Richard Massey and Joe Whelan

An Early Roman enclosed settlement at Kentwood Farm, Wokingham by Richard Massey and Joe Whelan

Iron Age and medieval features at Keephatch, Beech Lane, Wokingham by Jacek Gruszczynski and Matt Nichol.

Roman and medieval occupation at Shoppenhanger Manor, Maidenhead by Ray Kennedy and Richard Massey.


Berkshire Archaeological Society Events – from September 2020

Government advice is likely to remain that gatherings are not permitted or advised.  We are, therefore, planning to hold all BAS activities from September on Zoom.

See the events page for a list of monthly lectures. Synopses will be posted separately when available.

Members attending meetings on Zoom will be advised of meeting joining instructions beforehand. Not all Study Group meetings are listed as they are usually confirmed the week before.

from Julie Worsfold, BAS Lectures and Day School Organiser & Chair Communications Working Group

Image (think of it as geofizz!): This scanning electron microscope image shows COVID-19 virus (yellow), also known as 2019-nCoV and SARS-CoV-2, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (pink) cultured in the lab. Image credit: NIAID-RML / CC BY 2.0.