Hyde900 is the name initially given to a programme of community-led events designed to mark the 900th anniversary of the foundation of Hyde Abbey, the burial place of King Alfred the Great. The festival, designed to commemorate Alfred and the Abbey’s place in English history, celebrated the history of Hyde, explored the locality and environment, and showcased the wide variety of talents of the people who live in the area.
Since the anniversary in 2010, Hyde900 has continued as a community organisation, organising social and cultural events and supporting research into the history of the Hyde area. It also supports other events in and around Hyde.
You can help us enhance the life of Hyde by joining as a member.
A History of Hyde Abbey
In 1110AD the Benedictine monks of New Minister moved their library, relics and the bodies of King Alfred, his wife Alswitha and son, Edward the Elder to the newly built Hyde Abbey to the north of the city of Winchester. Their bodies were laid to rest before the high altar of the great stone church and the Abbey became a popular pilgrimage destination.
In 1539 the abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII’s commissioners as part of the king’s programme to dissolve the monasteries. The Hyde Abbey monks were pensioned off, its treasures were destroyed or dispersed and the buildings were reduced to rubble.
All that remains of the abbey today are a magnificent stone gateway, an arch that used to span the abbey millstream and the church built for the pilgrims and lay-brothers, now the nave and chancel of St Bartholomew’s Parish Church.
Why was Alfred Buried at Hyde Abbey?
When Alfred took the throne in 871, Winchester became the capital city of Wessex and a part of his series of fortified towns built to withstand Viking invaders. The cathedral and royal palace stood at the heart of the city and in the last year of Alfred’s reign additional land was bought as the demand for space increased. When Alfred died he was buried in Old Minster and when the work on New Minster, undertaken by his son Edward, was complete his body was moved.
In 1109 Henry I ordered the New Minster to be removed to the suburb of Hyde Mead, to the north of the city walls, just outside the gate. Alfred’s body and that of his wife and son were moved to the new abbey in 1110 and remained there until 1788 when some convicts, building their own prison on the site of the old abbey, chanced upon his grave, stole the lead from his coffin and dispersed his bones.