Map

The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.455041, -0.969088

3 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Reading (/ˈrɛdɪŋ/ red-ing) is a large town and unitary authority area in England, located at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet...some 40 miles (64 km) west of London.

Reading was an important centre in the medieval period, as the site of an important monastery with strong royal connections.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading,_Berkshire

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In the last 10 years there has been a lot of interest in the early 14th-century nave of the Franciscan church ('Greyfriars') in Reading, Berkshire, funded by the UK Lottery.

A bequest for building works here was made in 1311. Despite being an extraordinary survival – the only aisled Franciscan nave remaining in England – only the upper part of the west front drawn by Grimm is now visible behind a huge and grotesque extension built in the early 1970s.

The radar probe at Reading Abbey in the search for the high altar where King Henry I of England and possibly other royals are buried, was undertaken.

Reading Abbey was dissolved during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, and there is no record of what happened to Henry I’s body. It is possible that Adeliza of Louvain, Henry’s second wife, is also buried there, although there is also a possibility that she is buried in Belgium.
Another possible burial there is Constance of York, a granddaughter of Edward III.
Henry I died in France in 1135 – famously, according to his physician, from gorging on “a surfeit of lampreys” – but his body was sent back for burial in the abbey he founded, stitched into a bull’s hide. It was one of the grandest abbeys of medieval England, whose church was larger than Durham Cathedral.

Reading remained a royal favorite place after the dissolution, part of the abbey buildings becoming a palace where Queen Elizabeth often stayed, until it was sacked in the civil war.

The museum has a magnificent collection of carved pillar tops, among the most important in Europe, showing how rich the lost buildings were.

The soil is layered with bones from centuries of burials in the abbey up to Tudor times, from the prison and from a nearby medieval lepers’ hospital – so identification of royal remains will be difficult, more than three centuries older than those of Richard III.
When medieval abbeys were remodeled over the centuries, even before Henry VIII launched their dissolution, heaps of unrelated bones were often buried in charnel pits.
Some abbey churches survived as parish churches, others were transformed into secular buildings, with their burials intact but the grave markers gone.

In Reading, the legend that Henry I was buried in a silver coffin would have lured treasure hunters, and there are 19th-century stories of a brick vault being found and the bones seized by souvenir hunters from the town.

http://www.historyofroyalwomen.com/the-royal-wome…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Reading is a strategically important town on the road between Oxford and London. I'm sure Pepys knew of its role during the first Civil War:

During the winter of 1642-3, royalist Gov. Sir Arthur Aston strengthened Reading's defenses, blowing up the abbey church to obtain stone and bullying the soldiers and citizens into carrying out the work.

In April 1643, Reading was besieged by Robert Devereaux, 3rd Earl of Essex.

Aston also had an outpost at Caversham Bridge, and set up a piece of ordnance on the Church tower.

The Parliamentary force under Robert Devereaux, 3rd Earl of Essex came from Windsor, by way of Henley, and erected a fort on Caversham Hill.

It is said that a severe skirmish took place in Balmers Fields. In the end the gunner was dislodged from the church tower, and the Royal troops were driven back across Caversham bridge, which Essex finally crossed, encamping his troops in the meadows on the Berkshire side. There he remained for about two weeks, preparing for the reduction of the town of Reading.

Meanwhile, Gov. Sir Arthur Aston found means to communicate with King Charles, who was at Oxford and he sent a party of horse under Col. Henry Wilmot to relieve the garrison, which they managed to do by throwing in a small supply of ammunition.

Essex was then reinforced by Sir William Waller, so King Charles moved with part of his army to the relief of the town, coming through Wallingford on the Oxfordshire side of the river, and a stubborn engagement was fought in defense of Caversham bridge.

The Royal troops were eventually defeated, and King Charles, finding his efforts to gain the passage to be ineffectual, retreated with the remainder of his forces to Caversham Park.

During the 11 day siege of Reading, Gov. Aston was struck on the head by a falling brick and rendered speechless, so the dishonor of surrendering the town went to his second-in-command, Col. Richard Fielding.

The contemporary chronicle says, “Col. Aston (who had been wounded
during the siege) came out first in a horse litter covered with red and lined with white, after two coaches and wagons, and the horse and foot beat a march and so departed with colors flying towards Oxford by Casum church.”

Gov. Aston recovered his ability to speak on the road to Oxford. Col. Fielding was subsequently sentenced to death for not fighting, but escaped execution twice before being rescued by Prince Rupert, but he could only fight as a volunteer after that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Reading

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1668