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Heritage Open Days 2020

datePosted on 15:52, September 6th, 2020 by Rahsan Spurling

LATE NEWS! 1700 Thursday: Due to cancellation 3 spaces are now available Friday!

Once again Hyde900 will be supporting the Winchester Heritage Open Day events with “in person” tile making which takes full account of the limitations imposed by the current pandemic. By kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral, the event will take place in the precinct of the Cathedral and will feature the opportunity not only to make a tile in the medieval manner, but also to view the finds from recent excavations in gardens on the site of Hyde Abbey.

Visitors who have booked for tile making will have the opportunity of choosing from a selection of patterns to use in the free tile making workshop, open for all ages to take part. For a fee they  can also have their tiles fired and glazed for collection early in 2021.

Workshops need to be booked in advance HERE. The display will showcase the finds from the Hyde900 community digs on the site of the cloisters of Hyde Abbey. This will include further amazing finds associated with the stunning Norman cloister arch from the original build of the abbey now displayed in the adjacent Winchester museum. There will be a display of finds of encaustic tiles from the dig and others discovered in the past within the precincts of Hyde Abbey.

The miniature head (about the length of your thumb!) found at 14 King Alfred Terrace

Local resident and owner of the garden yielding the arch fragments, Chris Prior, spotted interesting stonework and tiles in a skip outside a house at the top end of his road. The discovery was to lead him to the remains of a previously unknown medieval building:

  • Flint faced foundations of a wall, over one metre wide, is in exact alignment with the cloister buildings.
  • A densely packed 10 to 20cm thick layer of shells, mainly oyster, but including mussels, whelks, and winkles, possibly indicating the site of the abbey kitchens.
  • Other finds including stonework, brick and tiles dating mainly from the 12th century to late medieval..

A hugely exciting discovery – to be investigated further in the Hyde900 Community Dig, now scheduled for 22 to 25 October. Bookings will open towards the end of September.

For further information see the press release and to see additional additional photos please click read more below.

Local resident Chris Prior reveals the foundations of the medieval wall
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Update on Hyde900’s 2020 Plans

datePosted on 16:30, July 6th, 2020 by Rahsan Spurling
Hyde900 King Alfred Weekend 2020 – 22nd to 25th October

2020 marks ten years since the original 900th anniversary celebrations of the inauguration of Hyde Abbey, Hyde900’s original mission. Organisation of this year’s programme has necessarily been influenced by the situation and limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Provided the events can take place within government guidelines, the community dig postponed from May will go ahead from 22 to 25th October as part of the King Alfred Weekend. It will then coincide with the CBA (Council for British Archaeology) Festival of Archaeology. More details about the dig can be found here, including a link for those who would like to take part to register their interest here, if you have not already done so.

The King Alfred Weekend programme will also include the very popular guided walks of the Hyde Abbey site, and guided visits to Hyde Abbey Garden, which marks the actual burial place of Alfred the Great and some of his family.

We hope to stage the annual Hyde900 King Alfred Lecture on Friday 23rd, and the AGM with guest speaker and exhibition reflecting some of the last decade’s activities on Saturday 24th. We also hope to provide some sort of cultural – perhaps music or drama – entertainment event on Saturday evening, but all these indoor events particularly, will be very much subject to government restrictions prevailing at the time, which may of course change at short notice.

In the meantime, we have put together a range of free online resources and downloadable activities for adults and children to enjoy at home. More activities will be added regularly, for example, educational worksheets, jigsaws, stories, quizzes and craft activities. We hope you enjoy them.   

More details of the programme will be available shortly. To receive regular updates on these and other Hyde900 activities do register here.

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2020 Hyde900 Community Dig Update

datePosted on 10:21, March 19th, 2020 by Rahsan Spurling

Hyde900 have taken the decision along with other similar organisations and events to postpone the annual community dig until October. We hope very much to be able to offer an exciting opportunity for you to get involved in the dig with many opportunities such as excavating, finds processing and logging finds. We will keep you updated on the website. In the meantime the Hyde900 team are working hard to create an extra activity pack this year which will be featured online in the coming weeks, so that you can learn more about Hyde900 and the history of Hyde.  This online pack will have a variety of activities for adults and children, which we hope you will enjoy. In the meantime, please do feel free to register your interest in our future dig.

Young archaeologists in the making at the 2017 Hyde900 Community Dig
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One of the major excavations of the abbey site was the 1995-99 Community dig  exploring areas adjacent to the abbey church. The trenches included those in the vicinity of the abbey gatehouse, the abbey mill and the abbey guesthouse. However the major excavations were located at the east end of the abbey church. The results of these are shortly to be published by the Hampshire Cultural Trust through a grant from Historic England.

A local resident, Barbara Hall, took a series of photographs of these digs, together with a set which recorded the design and construction of a garden, designed by renowned garden designer Kim Wilkie, which reflected the design of the east end of the church as revealed in the community digs. Through her generosity, and courtesy of a grant from Hampshire Archives Trust the photographs have now been digitised by Hampsire Record Office .

The photographs can be accessed from the gallery below.

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Don’t miss the opportunity of making a medieval tile and seeing the amazing finds from the back gardens of Hyde surrounded by 1000 years of Winchester’s history!!

Encaustic medieval tiles

Find out how tiles were made in medieval times and try your hand at making one yourself – but be prepared to get your hands dirty! Numbers are limited to 6 per workshop session and sessions will take place hourly over the event. They will be on a strictly bookable basis only. Children are welcome. For a fee Hyde900 can arrange to have your tile glazed and fired – but at the tile makers risk!


Hyde900 Community Digs 2016-18

The cream of the amazing finds from the digs will be on display alongside the reconstructed Norman arch from the abbey cloisters. The finds range from a miniature head carved from stone in the 12th century, to a half round column made from limestone formed in the Roman aqueduct to Winchester.

See how the archaeology from the digs in the three gardens has redrawn the outline of Hyde Abbey cloister.

More information and bookings  on


To find out more about the Museum refurbished gallery




A delighted tiler Launenc Hotot picking up her tile

A delighted tiler Launenc Hotot picking up her tile

The Hyde900 Norman cloister arch of Hyde Abbey being reassembled in the museum(c)

The Hyde900 Norman cloister arch of Hyde Abbey being reassembled in the museum(c)


Master tile maker Roger Harris instructing on the art of tile making

Master tile maker Roger Harris instructing on the art of tile making

Delighted tilemakers admire their handiwork after instruction from Hyde900 trustee Rose Burns

Delighted tilemakers admire their handiwork after instruction from Hyde900 trustee Rose Burns



Apprentice tiler getting stuck in!

Apprentice tiler getting stuck in!

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