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Name: Plummery wall on northern side of Forbury Road, Reading, Berkshire
HER Number: 01022.19.000
Record Type: Monument

Grid Reference: SU 720 736
Administrative Area/Parish:Reading, Reading, Berkshire
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Examination of this section of the plummery wall revealed that it had additional courses and evidence of refacing and incorporation of architectural fragments.

Monument Types

  • WALL (Medieval to Modern - 1066 AD to 2050 AD)


The Plummery Wall formerly constituted the northern and eastern outer boundary of the precinct of Reading Abbey. It takes it name from the Abbey lead workshops (plummeries) originally built against the inside of the wall. The wall is assumed to be a primary or early feature of the Abbey precinct. In 1987-89 a surviving 90m length of the Plummery Wall was situated on the northern side of the Forbury Road near the junction with Kenavon Road, where prior to the construction of the IDR (Inner Distribution Road), it retained the roadway against the drop of some 3m into the NCP car park to the north. The wall survived to a maximum height of c. 3m above car park ground level, and subsequent excavation demonstrated its overall height from foundation level to be c. 4m. It thickness varied from 0.75m or less at the top, c 1.2m at existing ground level and c. 1.5m at foundation level. The surviving profile varied along the length of the wall and was evidently much altered. No parts of the visible elevations could be considered to be original, and the date of its refacing was not established. The refacing was substantially of coarsed, mortared flint with some ashlar insets. For the most part these insets appeared as plain stone blocks. Subsequent demolition of the upper courses of the wall during the construction of the additional carriageway revealed that many of these blocks were architectural mouldings and fragments of sculpture, positioned so that only uniformly plain, flat surfaces could be seen. In areas this facing had fallen almost completely away and core of the wall exposed or completely pierced through. All exposed areas of the wall core had been repointed. Underlying the repointing was a granular off-white mortar typical of exposed or excavated walling of probable medieval date elsewhere in the Abbey precinct. Some areas had been rebuilt in brick, and additional brick buttressing added. No obvious rebuilds within the coursed flint were visible. Three trenches were dug to expose the base of the wall. These showed the average depth of foundation to be 1.5m to 2m below the existing ground level, except in trench 1 where it appeared to be deeper than 2m. No construction trench was observed, the foundations apparently freestanding on the underlying brick earth <1>.

<1> Trust For Wessex Archaeology, 1989?, Archaeological observations along the line of the Plummery Wall, Reading Abbey, 1987-1989 (Unpublished document). SRM13130.

<2> Trust For Wessex Archaeology, 1987, Evaluations at Napier Road and Plummery Wall, Reading (Unpublished document). SRD6880.

<3> Trust for Wessex Archaeology, 1989, Plummery Wall Architectural Stonework - Archive Catalogue (Unpublished document). SRM15150.


<1>Trust For Wessex Archaeology. 1989?. Archaeological observations along the line of the Plummery Wall, Reading Abbey, 1987-1989. [Unpublished document / SRM13130]
<2>Trust For Wessex Archaeology. 1987. Evaluations at Napier Road and Plummery Wall, Reading. [Unpublished document / SRD6880]
<3>Trust for Wessex Archaeology. 1989. Plummery Wall Architectural Stonework - Archive Catalogue. [Unpublished document / SRM15150]

Associated Events:

ERM492NCP Car Park site (Ref: W170)

Associated Monuments

MRD1374Reading Abbey, Reading, Berkshire (Monument)
MRD1385The Plummery Wall, Reading Abbey, Berkshire (Monument)
MRD1384The Plummery Wall, Reading Abbey, Reading, Berkshire (Monument)

Associated Finds:

  • None