About the Festival

Abbey 900 is a voluntary community activity of interested local people who wish to provide the town with a year-long festival of linked and themed events for all sectors of the community to enjoy, so come and celebrate with us throughout the year!

Gain a better understanding of the role of St Mary’s Abbey in how the town became the place we live and work in today and the major impact it had on our history.  It stood to the northeast of the present parish church of St John Baptist in today’s Abbey Grounds park.  It surrendered in 1539 at the dissolution of the monasteries and was subsequently destroyed.

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The whole community can be involved – all ages and people from all walks of life can enjoy its diversity of content, events and projects.

Many events will take place in the Abbey Grounds, and all proceeds will support regeneration of this important public open space to help provide an all-round Enhanced legacy for future generations

Events and productions already in the town’s annual calendar will go ahead under the Festival “banner”.  Many other events of a cultural, musical, dramatic and social nature are being organised especially to celebrate Abbey 900.
To highlight just a few: –

  • 4 original manuscripts from Cirencester Abbey are being loaned by the Bodleian Library, Oxford for display at the Museum. This is the first time they will have been in Cirencester since 1539
  • An architectural student has created a computer generated model of the Abbey and a LEGO brick model of the Abbey church will be built by individuals and groups. Both will be a lasting legacy for the town.
  • A Fleece Fair.  This will include a market, Morris dancers, Maypole dancing and a lunch for isolated older people.
  • Various concerts and dramatic productions – such as a production of ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ in the parish church
  • School activities – with all schools contributing to making a quilt and a mosaic which will be placed around the children’s play area in the Abbey Grounds
  • Re – enactments – a Plantagenet re-enactment based on an event that happened in Cirencester in 1399 and a Civil War re-enactment of events in 1643 when Royalists and Parliamentarians fought a battle in the streets.

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, is Patron of the festival and she opened it on 22 February 2017 by planting a commemorative tree in the Abbey Grounds and conducting a service in the parish church of St John Baptist.

THE MAIN OBJECTIVES FOR THE Abbey 900 FESTIVAL ARE: –

  • To EDUCATE in a fun way
  • To ENGAGE the Community
  • To ENHANCE the Abbey Grounds for the future as a lasting legacy