Photographer: Sedgfield, William Russell
Medium: Photographic print
"After about five miles of somewhat uninteresting country, the tall spire of St. Helen's, Abingdon, comes in sight. Abingdon, originally Abban-dun, the town of the Abbey, though still a place of some importance, is fallen from its former glories. It is one of the most ancient cities of Berkshire, and during the Heptarchy possessed a palace of the kings of Mercia. It was occasionally honoured by royal residence after the Conquest. But its chief distinction in mediaeval times was its famous and wealthy Abbey, to which the town owed much of its prosperity...A nunnery formerly existed in Abingdon, which was probably the oldest in this part of England, having been founded in the early part of the seventh century. It was dedicated to the Holy Cross and St. Helena, a name still partially commemorated by that of St. Helen's Church, which stands on a portion of its site...During the Civil Wars, the custom of the royalist garrison under Prince Rupert, of hanging Irish prisoners without a trial, made 'Abingdon law' proverbial."
Descriptive letterpress from the book 'The Thames Illustrated by Photographs'