Unidentified circular structure

June 6, 2019

Unidentified circular structure
Lyn asks does anyone know what this circular structure is? It was found by the Abingdon Health walkers.  It is situated off the Thames path in a wooded area opposite the St Helens slipway. There are a few steps up to the wall of the building and it’s  been used as a fire pit recently.
Unidentified circular structure
There is a pretty little stone bridge over a ditch nearby that looks about the same age.

I do not have a good answer and so thought I’d direct the question here.

Filed under: heritage

15 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. ppjs  |  June 7, 2019 at 5:44 am

    Is it a well?

  • 2. Horsesmouth  |  June 7, 2019 at 8:16 am

    Ah- good question? My research on this suggests it was a mill stone probably powered by two options? The little bridge you describe went over a stream which came from under the furthest arch from the end of Abingdon bridge “ Maud Hayles” bridge, and along to the side of this ring of stones where it powered the mill wheel? But the other theory is it was powered by donkeys who were walked around the ring? Either way about that time there was much milling and brewing going on in town and this was part of it?
    Then – Abingdon bridge didn’t go as far toward Culham as it does now, Maud Hayles, who’s cottage stands on the “other side” of the bridge was a wealth merchant and fed up with walking through the mud and water by her house paid for the bridge to be extended to where it ends now, if you stand in the meadow opposite Salters and look at the bridge you can see the arched extension she paid for and this extension went over the stream that flowed to and under the little bridge mentioned.
    BTW the area the stone ring is in is known as the Rookery, I remember the time it was a substantial woods nothing like the manicured area it is now

  • 3. One of the Rachels  |  June 7, 2019 at 9:23 am

    You need to ask the AAAHS.

  • 4. Michael Payton  |  June 7, 2019 at 10:16 am

    I rember the rookery as a child 1940s-50s We had a TARZAN ROPE SWING near the little Bridge, The stream was at that time full of water. I fell in one Easter when the Rope Snapped. I was dressed in my new easter Clothes at the time, having come from sunday School at St. Helens Church.Such great Memories of My childhood by the river.

  • 5. Ant  |  June 7, 2019 at 10:39 am

    The Rookery is indeed a puzzle – perhaps due to the existence of various watercourses at different times on the low lying ground to the east of the present course of the Thames. Also in the undergrowth in the Rookery is one of Abingdon’s iron boundary markers (see http://www.abingdon.gov.uk/feature-articles/abingdons-boundaries). When these were set up, there was a narrow strip of land on the ‘Oxfordshire’ bank of the Thames that was within the town of Abingdon. This all makes it difficult to find out about this area since, like Maud Hales Terrace some of it is in Culham Parish, not Abingdon.

  • 6. ppjs  |  June 7, 2019 at 10:52 am

    A milling area is a good thought. Usually there are two millstones, but we would be lucky for either or both to survive.

    Was it within the original boundaries of the Abbey? Monks were/are very keen on brewing. One of my friends at Douai Abbey (Woolhampton) regularly brews for the community there – and very good beer it is!

  • 7. Horsesmouth  |  June 7, 2019 at 11:40 am

    I have some very old maps that list it as a mill stone.

  • 8. DavidofLuton  |  June 7, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    What date is it?

  • 9. Horsesmouth  |  June 7, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Now you’re asking! I’ll have to first remember where they are then dig them out !
    The bit about the ribbon of land that was once the town council’s is interesting too? As I understand it all of the assets of the old Borough of Abingdon were transferred to the then newly formed VWHDC when the Borough was abolished? There still a couple of boundary stones in situ that I know of, one near the lock and one in the corner of the cricket pitch next to the Rookery, also, more or less opposite the marina entrance on the Culham side are two black painted vertical poles and I think they denote the old Borough boundary andare still used to define the limits of the town council fishing rod license

  • 10. Lyn Spiers  |  June 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks everyone, the 1875 ordnance survey map shows several buildings and a plot of land in the area. If only we could go back in time!

  • 11. Tom  |  June 8, 2019 at 9:59 am

    This has been mentioned on Abingdon and Surrounding areas a numbers times on Facebook.

  • 12. David R  |  June 10, 2019 at 9:51 am

    When people lived in a much smaller world, protecting boundaries from those ’strangers’ from Radley sometimes lead to violence.

  • 13. backstreeter  |  June 12, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Thanks Tom, James also sent me an email saying

    It’s the base of a summer house – you can see it in the aerial picture at the following link if you squint https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw000890

  • 14. Hester  |  June 12, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    What an amazing photo – most interesting for what isn’t there, it really shows how small Abingdon was then. One thing that puzzles me is that I can’t see Abingdon School: surely the main buildings were built by then, but maybe they are behind some of the trees (or I am looking in the wrong place!).

  • 15. Lyn Spiers  |  June 15, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    A summer House!!!!

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