3.8 The Cloister Area

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Photo of cloister arcade reconstruction, Drawing of cloister arcade

Very little is known about the layout of the cloister area of Hyde Abbey. The currently (2017) assumed outline of the cloister and buildings is based the generic design of Benedictine abbey of the early 12th century.  This would appear to have changed little from that illustrated in the 9th century outline of a Benedictine monastery known as the plan of St Gall. An interpretation of that plan for the cloister area is of particular interest. The dimensions are based upon data on the east end of the abbey church obtained from the 1995-99 community excavation programme (1995-99 HA Community  Excavation) and the trenches in Alswitha Terrace dug by the utilities companies (1980 KAP80 Gas trench opp Alswitha Terrace, 1990 KAP90 Hyde St to E end Alswitha Terr BT trench)
The currently assumed outline is illustrated in Buildings outline  cloister area and is that developed by the Winchester Museum Service (now Hampshire Cultural Trust) around 2000 to 2010. (G Scobie 2010 unpub)
The architecture of the cloister arcade as it was at the time of the build of the cloister around 1130 has been dramatically clarified by the finds of reused arcade stonework during the 2017 Hyde900 Community Dig. This enabled the reconstruction of one half of the arcade using finds of early Norman voussoirs, Purbeck marble shaft and abacae from the dig, together with the capitals and springer stone from the Abbey on display at St Bartholomews church.

It is hoped that future excavations in the gardens of the houses in the area will lead to further understanding of the design and architecture of this area.

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