The small stream called the Holy Brook that comes off the River Kennet, once powered the abbey's mill. Today all that remains is a stone arch but a working mill stood on the site from the 1100s until 1963.

The Norman arch of the Abbey Mill in 1963
The Norman arch of the Abbey Mill in 1963 (Reading Chronicle collection)

This area around the mill would have been a busy workplace with a bakehouse, dovecote and a brewery all close by. A little upstream from the mill, where the Central Library now stands, would have been the stables.


Digging Deeper - Going Underground

Over the years the Holy Brook was covered over by buildings. In 1955, journalists from the Reading Chronicle and Gordon Spring from the Borough Surveyor's Department explored the underground route. They found many beautiful, carved stones from the abbey had been reused to cover the stream, hidden under the town.