The Stones of Hyde Abbey

Hidden in Hyde: the Stones of Hyde Abbey

Discover nine hundred years of history, hidden in Hyde’s homes and streets

A Hyde900 heritage project

The history of Hyde and Abbots Barton is uniquely tied to Hyde Abbey, a Benedictine monastery and burial place of King Alfred the Great, which stood on the site of the current King Alfred Place and Hyde Abbey garden from 1110 to 1537.

Immediately the Abbey was dissolved, all its buildings apart from Hyde Gate and chamber were demolished and much of the stonework re-used locally, some in the construction of St. Bartholomew’s Church tower, in buildings such as ‘Old Hyde House’, and various walls in and around Hyde Street.

It is easy to overlook this stonework and the artistry which it contains, linking us back directly to the 12th Century and perhaps earlier. Much is not even in public places, having been used in private houses – in lofts and basements and garden walls – often incorporated incongruously alongside Victorian red brick. Some will have been lost, discarded in renovation projects, and this remains a risk for the future.

Hidden In Hyde is a heritage project from Hyde900 which aims to discover and focus on these stones allowing residents and visitors alike a better appreciation of their history, artistic qualities, and architectural role within the original building of Hyde Abbey.

We expect this project to grow and mature over time as more material is added and our understanding develops, but amongst other features plan a Hidden in Hyde website with:

  • Maps of public places within Hyde and wider Winchester where the stones can be seen.
  • Photographs of the most interesting stones including those in local homes and gardens.
  • An analysis of the different types of stone, how they were formed and their characteristics, and an interpretation of how they would have featured in the abbey church and surrounding buildings.
  • Hidden Hyde trails based on themes such as columns or arches, or leading to particularly significant architectural features. Ideas include a ‘Horrid Hyde Abbey’ children’s trail, and ‘ Journey to the High Altar’ taking ‘pilgrims’ on an imaginary journey from Hyde Abbey Gate, through the principal areas of the church, to the royal tombs.

…and we also hope to organise occasional lectures and guided tours.

If you think you’ve found something that may be a stone taken from Hyde Abbey, please use the contact form to let us know. Or you can phone us on 01962 840225. Where relevant we will of course maintain full confidentiality when recording locations.

The ‘Re-uniting the Stones’ exhibitions

In 2013 and 2014 we presented exhibitions of stones from Hyde Abbey in the church, complete with information panels and leaflets telling the story of the Abbey and its stones.

A guide to the stones

To see where the stones of the Abbey have been found, click on the pointers on the map below or use the list of streets beneath it.

 

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