Catholic Reading - A Pilgrimage Trail
£3.99 including post and packaging.
This is a unique booklet produced by the combined Catholic parishes of Reading to mark the Year of Faith.
The book takes the reader through the streets of Reading looking at places of historical importance to Catholics. It is also of interest to anyone who wishes to find out more about important aspects of the town’s heritage.
Walking and pilgrimage are means of discovering one’s inner self and we hope in this book to show how you can do this for yourselves, even in an afternoon, by looking at the town’s landmarks with a different eye. We would encourage people to go in groups of twos and threes to share the experience of this mini pilgrimage.
Starting at St James’ church in the Forbury, built by the internationally renowned architect AWN Pugin, the walk takes the “pilgrim” past the Abbey Ruins. We then wend our way through the town, passing the location of the offices of The Reading Mercury, the home of the Cowslade family. They were the owners of the paper and gave shelter to French priests fleeing Revolutionary France on pain of death. We see the house where many of these priests stayed. We pass other Reading landmarks and hopefully see them in a different light before returning via St Laurence’s church and the old Hospitium to St James’ church.
Other parts of the booklet describing the various parishes around Reading have been written mainly by members of those parishes. There is a chapter about how the first Polish community came to Reading and how they came to worship at the Sacred Heart church. Another section looks at the old country houses around Reading, many of which were owned by Catholic families. One of these, Mapledurham is still in the possession of the descendants of the Blount family, friends of Alexander Pope and supporters of the Royalist cause in the Civil War. Finally there is a pilgrim trial following the final route the last abbot of Reading took around the town before his execution in what is now the Forbury Gardens.
The book is illustrated in colour throughout and contains three specially commissioned pen and ink drawing by John R Mullaney.
The Catholic parishes of Reading have funded the project and copies will be distributed free to members of their congregations. The price charged here is to cover distribution costs and all profits will be going to the churches.
The title page and a sample page from the booklet are given below.