History of the Friends of Abingdon

The original Friends of Abingdon Civic Society was set up in 1944. It was best known for saving and restoring the medieval Abbey Buildings, but during the post-war years it was involved in conserving many others of the town’s heritage buildings and structures, including: :

Carswell Fountain-Head and Roysse Court Archway
  • The Carswell Fountain-Head
  • The Roysse Court Archway
  • St Helens Churchyard
  • The Abbey Gateway
  • 35 Ock Street

The Friends were also actively involved in projects such as the murals at Stratton Way and the Market Place and the St Edmund memorial on St Nicolas Church, and contributed constructively to planning discussions about the town and decisions about the naming of streets such as Checker Walk and Abbey Close.

For those who would like to know more of the history, there is a fascinating book called The Friends of Abingdon by RCM Barnes. It should be available in local bookshops but, if not, can be obtained from the Abbey Buildings Trust – the Curator can be contacted by email.

More recently we were active in persuading the Town Council to bring the Abbey Hall back into community use and in influencing the refurbishment of the historic Guildhall.

In 2018 the Friends decided to divide in to two separate charities – the Friends of Abingdon Abbey Buildings Trust to manage, care for and enhance the Abbey Buildings, and the Friends of Abingdon Civic Society to carry out the civic functions. The Buildings Trust is not a membership organisation, but the two charities work closely together and Civic Society members get updates on Abbey Buildings activities and are welcome to volunteer to help with them.