Welcome to Hyde900

Hyde900 is a community project in Winchester, Hampshire, to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the founding of Hyde Abbey. For more details see the "What is Hyde900?" page.

All set for the dig tomorrow

Last-minute preparations for the dig are now complete. Tools and equipment have been brought onto the sites, turf coverings are down, frames have been made to protect the gardens from the bags of heavy soil that come out of the ground and final decisions have been made about the locations of the trenches.

Get a taste of how things went on set-up day in this video:

Final preparations

David and the dig supervisors raise their teacups to the coming dig


3.50pm. Preparations are just about complete for the start of the dig tomorrow morning. David Spurling and the team from WARG who will be supervising the diggers talk over the plans for the weekend.



No.10 King Alfred Terrace – Positions of three trenches marked out with pegs

2.30pm. Last minute preparations for an early start tomorrow are underway. The probing and discussions are over and the final positions for tomorrow’s trenches are marked out, ready for the digging to start.


Shovels, buckets, bags, barrows have all been brought in, ready for the morning. Quiet reigns… for the moment.


STOP PRESS! First finds of the dig

Even before the first trowel is inserted into the ground, several exciting finds have emerged during preparations. At No.10 householder Chris Scott found a piece of distinctive Romanesque carved stone while clearing his garden, and at Number 14, under the concrete slab that was removed for the dig, a number of fascinating artefacts have been revealed in the surface layer of the soil.

Here, dig organiser David Spurling takes a look at some of them…


Preparations on site at No.10 King Alfred Terrace

Protective covering for the turf at No.10


With two days to go before the start of the dig on Friday, intensive preparations are underway. Protective covering for the turf is brought in to the garden at No.10. Here you can see Scotty with her friend Julian taking a sheet of ply for a walk.

Meanwhile, as I write, David Spurling, David Sommerville and Richard Steedman are out there lugging gazebos and bulk bags in the pouring rain (I promise photos as soon as we have them!).



Another one bites the dust…

Shed at No.15 – now flat pack

The last shed to go. David Spurling removes the shed at No 15. Now all three dig sites have shed their sheds.

The sites below the ex-sheds open up exciting new areas for excavation this weekend.


Probing the site

Probing in the gardens of numbers 10 and 15 King Alfred Terrace has revealed the presence of buried mortar and chalk, which may indicate the possible location of an East-West wall in the garden of number 10, and both East-West and North-South walls in number 15. However, the proof of the pudding…

To see how the probing was done take a look at the video…


Preparing the gardens…

Removing the concrete slab in number 15


Serious preparations have been going on in the gardens of King Alfred Terrace, ready for the dig in a week’s time. At number 15 a concrete slab has been removed with the permission of householder Justine Field, in order to allow Hyde900 to excavate beneath it. Here you can see our own David Spurling with Justine’s neighbour Chris Prior getting stuck into the task of levering up the concrete.

Ben Holliday and David Spurling made short work of the shed at number 10.


Number 10 is an entirely new site for the Hyde900 community dig, and householder Chris Scott kindly allowed us to remove the shed at the bottom of his garden. Luckily, the shed was standing on a base of slabs, which were easy enough to remove.

Probing the soil beneath the site of the shed has yielded tantalising evidence of buried building materials.

Chris Prior heroically breaking up his shed base.


Down the road at number 14, as if moving his shed weren’t enough, householder Chris Prior had to take a jackhammer to the concrete base where his shed used to stand.

The removal of Chris’s shed base at number 14 will allow us to excavate a continuation from last year’s famous “Trench 7”, where the stunning voussoirs and abaci from a Norman cloister arch were discovered. This continued trench promises to be this year’s star attraction as we all wait in eager anticipation to see what has been buried for years beneath Chris’s garden tools.

A well-earned break from skip loading.


A team of noble volunteers from Hyde900 shifted all the concrete from number 14, along with the broken pieces of the slab from number 15, into a skip hired for the occasion.

Here you can see them all hard at work – Goodness, that teacup looks heavy, Susan.


Householder Chris Scott (right) brings the probing team a very welcome cup of tea

Exciting preparations have been taking place in King Alfred Terrace in readiness for next month’s community dig. Ground probing in the gardens of houses number 15 and 10 has revealed tantalising results. A metal probe, inserted into the soil at intervals to measure the depth to a hard surface below and to take tiny samples at that level, has turned up evidence of mortar and imported stone in the proposed dig area at number 15.

In the garden of number 10 probing revealed a firm surface over 70% of the area, 40cm below the soil surface, much of which contains clear traces of buried mortar. It’s too early to speculate about exactly what this could mean but it has certainly made everyone involved in planning the dig very eager to see what is down there.


Dig host Chris Prior moves his shed in preparation for the Hyde900 dig

Meanwhile, at number 14, householder Chris Prior has nobly moved his shed in order to allow Hyde900 to excavate the area below it. The shed stood immediately adjacent to where spectacular stones from a Norman cloister arch (called abaci and voussoirs) were uncovered within part of a wall from the medieval abbey during last year’s dig. The chance of finding more of these stunning carved stones or other equally wonderful artefacts buried beneath Chris’s shed was too exciting to pass up. Hyde900 is extremely grateful to Chris for moving it in order to make it possible to continue the excavation of the medieval wall, not to mention his volunteering to spend the Easter weekend removing the concrete slab.

For full details of plans for the dig – and the results of last year’s dig – download the illustrated Dig Proposal here.

To book to take part in this year’s dig, please click here.

For the dig location and public parking details please click here.

Bookings now open for the 2018 Hyde900 Community Dig April 27th- 30th


Hyde900 are organising a further community dig event to take place April 27th to 30th following last year’s highly successful event. We very much hope you will take part or visit the dig on the Open Day on Sunday April 29th. Full training will be given and booking is now open on

Please click here to book your session(s)

For the dig location and public parking details please CLICK HERE

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