Some of our knowledge of Eynsham Abbey and what was here before comes from surviving documents and some from recent archaeological excavations. These excavations, in the yards of the modern St Peter's Roman Catholic and St Leonard’s Anglican churches, revealed part of the cloister, the kitchens and other domestic buildings of the Abbey. The excavations were first reported in Eynsham Record 10, 1993 pages 5-17.
St Peter’s Church has commissioned a new Archaeological Trail to help us visualise the scale and complexity of Eynsham Abbey, by tracing the footprint of Aelfric's Anglo-Saxon foundation in 1005 and the Norman expansion of 1109.
Fr Martin Flatman told the Oxford Times / Witney Gazette: “Everyone who comes to visit asks where the abbey is. I thought we could do something about that, because it’s such an important part of Eynsham’s history.”
Official launch of the nine new plaques and accompanying leaflet on 30 March 2011 was performed by Alan Hardy, who supervised the excavations in 1989-92, with the help of children from Eynsham Community Primary School. Whether you were there on the day or not, you are welcome to visit again soon.
The Trail is open every day starting from St Peter's car park and the leaflet is available inside the church. You may well be able to follow it without the leaflet. Walk along the path towards the main church door then on to the far corner of the church hall, and the first plaque is on the wall with two others in sight. Turn right and through the gate into Tolkien Meadow for four more plaques, then up into the old graveyard where there are two more.