Abingdon is historicallly the county town of Berkshire, but since the 1970’s it has been part of Oxfordshire
It claims to be one of Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited towns, with people having lived here for at least 6,000 years.
A long tradition of the town to celebrate special occasions (particularly royal ones), has local dignitaries throwing buns from the roof balcony to the crowds in the market square. Recently there have been bun throwing occasions commemorating the Millennium, the wedding of William and Kate, and the Queen’s diamond jubilee last year.
From the roof we could see the old gaol, built by prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars in 1811. It is close to the river. It has had various uses, most recently as a leisure centre, but is now being partially demolished and developed into residential accommodation.
St Helen’s Church alongside the river and with the road right up against it is quite big, we couldn’t get in to see it as it’s only open in the mornings.
Within the churchyard are three sets of almshouses: Long Alley Almshouses (built 1446), Twitty's Almshouses (1707) and Brick Alley Almshouses (1718).
St Ethelwold’s House is a retreat centre for prayer and meditation. It is a 14th century house and has gardens leading down to the river which are open for quiet contemplation and rest.
Back to the town centre and the Crown and Thistle is an old inn with cobbled courtyard and old stable buildings behind.