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Abbey Gateway, Abbey Close


(see long history)

The Gateway was the main entrance to Abingdon Abbey.  The large central arch was for mounted travellers and wheeled traffic and the small arch on the north side (all that remains of an earlier structure) was for pedestrians.  There was a porter’s lodge on the south side which became the town police station after the dissolution of the abbey.  This was replaced by another pedestrian arch after the new police station was built in 1865.

The Gateway has been much restored, but is mostly of the late fifteenth century, with a much-damaged statue of St. Mary, the patron saint of the abbey, in a niche above the main archway.  It is flanked by St Nicolas’ Church on the north and St John’s Hospital on the south. The church was intended for abbey tenants and servants. The hospital was an infirmary for the abbey servants and also catered to sick and needy travellers. At some point after the Dissolution, the rooms above the gateway were the town prison until the Old Gaol came into use in 1812. In 1826, this space was converted into a room for banquets and receptions, and is now a meeting room.


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Additional Details

Listing reference: 
Grade: I List Entry Number: 1368671
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