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Friends of Cookham Abbey

Friends of Cookham Abbey was set up in 2022 to help people get involved with our research through education and outreach. We are applying to be registered as a charity. This status will help us with fund-raising.

Accounts and the Trustees’ annual reports will be posted on the website when approved at the next AGM.


Our Trustees oversee the Friends of Cookham Abbey mission and aims.

Gabor Thomas – Chair
Associate Professor in Early Medieval Archaeology at the University of Reading. Has directed a series of large-scale research excavations exploring early medieval monastic and elite settlements in southern England, including a decade-long programme of research at Lyminge in Kent. As with Cookham, these field projects been conducted in the historic cores of currently occupied villages and have involved a high level of community engagement.

Paul Seddon – Treasurer
As Chairman of Maidenhead Archaeological and Historical Society, Paul has been promoting archaeological and historical research in this area. He has taken a lead in creating a collaborative framework between volunteer archaeologists, the University of Reading, the local authority archaeology advisers and other archaeological stakeholders in this region, one result of which is the investigation of Cookham Abbey.

David Mudd – Secretary
Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading. He is the Logistics Manager for the Cookham Abbey excavation and Field School, and undertook a similar role with the Lyminge Anglo-Saxon excavation project in Kent 2008-2012. Long-time Maidenhead resident.

Mandy Brar
Mandy has lived in Cookham for many years, and is a Parish and Borough councillor. She manages Hillcrest Stores. Mandy has always taken a keen interest in Cookham’s rich history.

Mike Bryan
A Cookham resident with a long career in publishing, Mike is an enthusiast  about all things Roman. His book on Roman sites in Britain was published recently.

Mike Copland
Has lived in and around Cookham for more than 50 years. He has been Chairman of the Cookham Society, a trustee at the Elizabeth House Day Centre and Chairman of the Cookham Festival. He is currently chairman of WildCookham.

Shez Courtenay-Smith
Has served on the Parish Council where she helped develop the Cookham Neighbourhood Plan. Previously a member of the Board of the Stanley Spencer Gallery.

Mark Howard
As Chair of the Parish Council, is keen to find opportunities to use the discoveries at the Abbey to benefit the residents and businesses of Cookham.

Phyllida Shelley
Has lived in Cookham for over 20 years. She is an artist who has taught Art and Design locally for many years. Has served on the Cookham Festival Committee. Phyllida was Artist in Residence for the 2022 excavation season, drawing and painting of the artefacts, progress on the dig, and the people on the site.

Our Aims:

To support the post-excavation conservation and analysis of finds and remains from the excavation.

To embed the results of the project in local communities to give people pride in their shared heritage, and to build thriving communities.