2021 marked the 900th anniversary of the foundation of Reading Abbey, once one of Europe’s largest royal monasteries, by King Henry I.

The flagship celebration event was the Abbey 900 at Water Fest on Saturday 19th June, find out more.

Mayor of Reading and abbey costumed character in front of the Abbey gateway
The Mayor of Reading and Lead Cllr for Culture unveiling a new headstop carving for Abbey 900, 19th June 2021

The 900th Anniversary celebrations!

In 2018 we reopened in the Abbey Ruins as part of the £3.15m Reading Abbey Revealed project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.

The Abbey Quarter and Reading Museum now sit firmly at the heart of Reading’s cultural offer. Through conservation, interpretation and community collaboration, our ambitious project has reinvented the precinct of the Royal Monastery as the town’s main heritage destination. It is also set to be a major player on both the regional and national scene.

We are proud of the impact of this work way beyond the Abbey’s walls. There is now a step change in how we view our history. We have provided a sense of place and pride for Reading’s diverse and expanding population.

To celebrate the Abbey’s 900th anniversary, we developed an exciting mix of arts, culture and heritage events across the town with our partners.

Our flagship event was the Reading Water Fest on 19th June 2021.

Visitors at the medieval village at the Abbey 900 Waterfest
Visiting the medieval village at the Abbey 900 Waterfest

RABBLE - The Making of 'The Last Abbot

Below find the exciting Making of 'The Last Abbot' video shared by RABBLE. On the 900th year anniversary of the Abbey, RABBLE brought to life the extraordinary story of Reading’s Last Abbot which premiered in the Chapter House from 11 June to 3 July 2021.


The Making of RABBLE Theatre's Last Abbot of Reading