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The Cloisters
off Abbot's Walk, Reading
The Cloister was a quadrangular covered walkway, surrounding a central open garden, that connected all the buildings of the monk's inner ward. It was used for rest and exercise, but also as a pleasant area in the sun where the monks did much of their writing, whether it be merely their accounts, copying some great illuminated religious work or composition of music.

Reading Abbey's cloister has completely gone, though many of its beautiful column capitals have been found during excavation and can be seen in Reading Museum. A footpath survives where the arcading once stood, however, so you can still walk in the footsteps of medieval monks alongside the Chapter House entrance. At the northern end, a doorway still shows where the cloister joined the south transept of the Abbey Church. This would have been the monks' usual entry point, particularly in the small hours of the morning when they would leave their dormitory to celebrate matins.



    Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.