Website report on the Hyde900 2022 Community digs


2022 was the sixth year of the Hyde900 programme of community digs exploring the site of the church and cloisters of Hyde Abbey, final resting place of Alfred the Great. The excavations, which commenced in 2016, took place in the gardens of residents of Hyde, and could not have taken place without their generous assistance and the support of the advisors to the programme, Dr David Ashby (University of Winchester), Dr Dave Stewart and Dr John Crook. To date over 600 volunteers of all ages have taken part in the programme.

The 2022 programme comprised two digs and was supported by a grant from local estate agents Belgarum, with graphic design from Adam Architecture and the loan of equipment from Winchester Archaeological and Local History Society (WARG)

Enthusiastic volunteers at the August dig

The history of the abbey and the excavations and interventions relative to the Hyde900 Community Digs programme, and a summary of the 2016 to2018 digs, has been published recently. (1) The gardens in the 2022 programme revealed a 12th century water culvert, medieval walls and other structures plus a large number of finds. These included Roman pottery, medieval tiles and other building materials, as well as a large number of oyster shells and animal bones which have yet to be analysed.
A fuller report on the 2022 dig will be available shortly (2)

6 King Alfred Place SO23 7DQ (SU 48234 30147)
Courtesy of Paul and Kath McCullogh
Supervisors Dr David Ashby, Mike Brace


As part of the 2020 Hyde900 Community Digs programme two trenches had been put in to try to establish the location and fabric of the north wall of Hyde Abbey church. Whilst excavations carried out on the eastern end during 1995 to 1999 had provided information on the approximate position and orientation of the wall of the church, the excavations in 2020 by Hyde900 in this and an adjacent garden failed to find evidence of it. However, a geophysical survey (undertaken with the help of the University of Winchester) subsequently yielded a strong response located between the two trenches of the 2022 dig.


The second Hyde900 community dig of 2022 produced some extraordinary results, even for this heritage rich site. Blessed by excellent weather and huge local interest, the event attracted over 140 diggers of all ages, supported by a group of volunteer supervisors, advisors and dig organisers. The dig was to continue the search for the remains of the buildings in three gardens (two new to the programme, one previously investigated) on the site of the inner close of the abbey. The dig took place in King Alfred Terrace, an area which, until the Dissolution, was the location of the cloisters and abbots lodging. This year the dig had the added excitement of the possibility of locating a lost cellar rumoured to exist in one of the gardens.

Plan 2 Plan of August 2022 Dig Sites
Plan 3 August 2022 GPR and probing responses for 1KAT and 3 KAT. Note the lack of GPR responses in the southern end of 1 KAT

Courtesy of Maureen Dryden
Supervisors Ginny Pringle, Dr John Crook


The garden is adjacent to a channel of the Itchen known as the Mill Stream as shown on Godson’s map of Hyde dated 1769. It is located just upstream of the abbey mill and in the area southwest of the range of cloister buildings. A substantial west-east oriented medieval wall was found in 3KAT. Due to the fall of the land (approximately 1 metre over the 100-metre length of King Alfred Terrace) it seemed likely that water to supply the southern range of the cloisters and other buildings to the south would have come from the stream at a position just upstream from the mill. In addition the householder told of a rumour, dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, of a cellar in the garden.
The trenches were positioned in a spread north to south over the turfed area of the garden, with the southernmost one in an area which was most likely to be over the possible run of the water supply to the inner court.

Courtesy of Amber and Phil Clark#
Supervisors Dr David Ashby, Nikki Goodwyn


The dig returned to a garden where the 2020 excavations uncovered the remains of a two-storey building with a major find of 5 kilos of medieval window glass adjacent to the inner side of the wall foundations (currently being evaluated by Historic England). The garden also yielded 20 kilos of oyster shells and other crustaceans on the outer side of the wall. The garden was unusual compared with other gardens dug by Hyde900, in that it yielded significant quantities of medieval brick. Two trenches were put in to investigate the strong GPR responses.

Courtesy of John Tippet-Cooper
Supervisor Mike Brace, Manni Kirchner


The 2018 dig included the garden of the adjacent property, 10 King Alfred Terrace. This dig revealed a major chalk clunch feature abutting the remained wall of a cloister building. The purpose of this limited exploration of 9 King Alfred Terrace was to establish a clearer picture of any continuation of the wall and the phasing of any redevelopment of this area of the abbey cloister.

Plan 6 9 King Alfred Terrace showing GPR and probe responses.


Please note that this website report has been compiled without the benefit of reports from subject matter experts which are still in preparation. In the event of any queries or for further information please contact the author, David Spurling via [email protected]


  1. Excavations at Hyde Abbey Winchester 1972 – 1999 Ed Patrick Ottaway Hampshire Cultural Trust 2021
  2. Interim report on the 2022 Hyde900 Community Digs Hyde900 2024 (in prep)
  3. Crook J 1984 Winchester’s Cleansing Streams, Part I: Ethelwold and the Conduits’, Winchester Cathedral Record 53, pp. 26-34
  4. Crook J 1985 Winchester’s Cleansing Streams, Part II: the Lockburn’, Winchester Cathedral Record 54, pp. 14-24.1985
  5. Crook J Notes on a medieval culvert discovered at Hyde Abbey, August 2022 (In prep