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Reading Abbey’s Relics


Reading Abbey was the largest abbey in Western Europe before it was destroyed, and it housed an impressive collection of holy relics…

The most famous relic was The Hand of St James, which was brought to the abbey by Empress Matilda

The abbey was dedicated to St James when it arrived and University of Reading use the slightly less sinister emblem of St James – the Scallop Shell – in their emblem today.

Other famous relics held and worshipped in Reading Abbey included fragments of the True Cross, Christ’s sandal (just one), the Virgin Mary’s hair and Jesus’ foreskin…

We weren’t expecting that either.