Category Archives: heritage

Heritage Open Day (Sunday)


Patrick and the Town Crier led the Abingdon Boundary Walk this Sunday morning as part of Heritage Open Days.

The walk started round by St Helen’s Wharf.

There was also a morning walk about Victorian Abingdon around the Albert Park area, led by Jackie Smith – the town archivist.

In the afternoon, the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers were dancing in the Market Place.

Two other guided walks set off at 2:30pm.

One was the Lost Abbey Walk,

who went in search of the Lost Abbey.

The other walk was around the Edible Abingdon plots.

There was an information stall, on the Market Place, where people could sign up for the walks or pick up self guided walk leaflets.

In the Abbey Buildings, Mr Busby of Busby Bees was telling people about the history of bee keeping.

The Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers arrived soon after to do some more dancing.

Lastly, the Lost Abbey walkers arrived for cakes and coffee.

Heritage Open Day – Edible Abingdon (Saturday)


Heritage Open Day returned better than ever this year. The Mayor of Abingdon-on-Thames looked round the stalls on the Market Place. They included an information stall, food stalls similar to those seen at Local Excellence Markets, and a stall where the Abingdon Community Fridge made soup out of left over vegetables, aided by young families.

The Town Crier announced what was happening from the County Museum roof, and you can hear him still on the video above. There were also children’s activities in the museum.

There were not as many open properties because we are still in strange times. But those that were open had a lot happening. At St Ethelwold’s house the Abingdon Carbon Cutters were pressing and bottling apples. On the lawn people there enjoying the cakes and drinks in the sunshine. There were also 2 talks on the history of the house, rooms to look round, and an art exhibition.

Cakes were also available at the Abbey Buildings. The Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers were on in the afternoon.

A monastery garden had been created by Heather and Oliver in the grounds of the Abbey Buildings, and Mike, in the video above, explains how the herbs could treat common complaints agues, bad humors, and cold stomachs.

Christ’s Hospital Hall was open thanks to the charity’s governors.

At St Nicolas Church, Elizabeth Drury had made a food related exhibition from many pictures of old farms, old shops etc.

There was a blue plate scheme showing food outlets from the past. Fabulous Flowers once sold groceries and provisions and they had a hanging pheasant in their floral display. They will be displaying flowers at the Chelsea Flower Show next week. (Possibly a separate post on that).

There was a lot going on at the Guildhall with films on a loop in the Roysse Room. In the Old Magistrates Court at 4 pm, W T Mellor, former head brewer at Morlands, told the audience about the history of beer, and then a history of brewing in Abingdon. Earlier in that room the new WWI Abingdon website was launched. The other old rooms were also open to look round. The Bear Room had old menus from big meals that happened there.

Well done to Hester and the rest of the fantastic team for a great day. More tomorrow with walks, and some open properties.

The Abingdon Workhouse Trail (New in 2021)


The Abingdon Union Workhouse existed for almost 100 years, and was big enough to house 500 people. There is a trail you can follow during Heritage Open Days to see how they lived, what they ate and what they did, then you can see how the land became houses in the 1940s. There is also a quiz and a treat for children.

The trail guide is available from the information stall on the Market Place on Saturday 18th September 2021 or downloadable on a link from Abingdon Heritage self guided walks.

Schism Sermon + 25th Anniversary of 35 Ock Street


Abingdon Baptist Church have their church building open on Saturday as part of Heritage Open Days. The cafe at 35 Ock Street will also be open.

On Sunday the Schism Sermon will be preached by Revd. Steve Millard, the minister. The Schism Sermon is part of the heritage of the Baptist church and has been delayed this year to coincide with this special weekend.

On 1st August 1714 an act of parliament, The Schism Act, was voted through which would have made it illegal for anyone to educate young people, without the consent of a Church of England bishop, and without conforming to Church of England ways. The intention was to stop non conformist churches, like the Baptists, running schools. They were becoming a force in educating the poor. On the eve of getting Royal Assent, Queen Anne died and the Schism Act was never enforced.

In 1716 Benjamin Tompkins left money in his will for a  sermon to be preached near the start of August. He stipulated that the Baptist Minister be paid 20 shillings for the sermon. That sum is still paid (20s is equivalent to £1).  The sermon is intended to celebrate religious freedom. (Visitors can go in person at 10:30 or watch remotely on YouTube.)

35 Ock Street will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a service and tea on Sunday afternoon. 35 Ock Street has an open cafe and community rooms, and is run by volunteers from Abingdon Baptist Church and the wider Church in Abingdon. It was recently redecorated.