Hyde900 Festival of Archaeology 2024

datePosted on 20:03, May 13th, 2024 by Website Admin

July 19th  – 21st   The City Museum, Winchester, SO23 9ES

Representatives from Hyde900 will be on hand to explain the activities of this community group.  They will be delighted to answer questions about the results of our research into the history and architecture of Hyde Abbey.

The key finds from the 2016 to 2023 community digs will be exhibited to illustrate the history of the area of Hyde once occupied by Hyde Abbey, the final burial place of Alfred the Great. Finds range from flint scraper blades from the neolithic period through to Roman remains and the build – and destruction – of the Abbey in medieval times. Following the Dissolution the site was unoccupied until the build of the county Bridewell (prison) in the 18th century. The prison was demolished mid19th century after which the site was used for the build of the residential housing that exists today.

Experts will be present to discuss specialist areas of pottery, ceramics, geophysical surveying, medieval glass, stonemasonry, and monastic architecture. Children, as well as adults,  are also catered for, with the ever-popular medieval tile making, when they will be able to make their own replicas of tiles found on the site of the Abbey. On Saturday there will be the opportunity to learn calligraphy skills under the guidance of a Cathedral scribe.

Dr John Crook will be giving a presentation at St Bartholomew’s church Hyde at 7.30pm  on Saturday 20th July entitled “There’s a monk at the bottom of my garden!”

He will talk about how the Hyde900 community project has revealed the plan of Hyde Abbey and how we now understand so much more about the architecture of the buildings.

Dr John Crook in the 12th century culvert discovered in the 2022 Hyde900 community dig

Website report on the Hyde900 2023 Community dig

datePosted on 07:27, February 14th, 2024 by Website Admin


Hyde900 2023 Community dig involved three back gardens and a total of five trenches, with over 200 people of all ages taking part. The dig took place over the August Bank Holiday weekend 26th to 29th August with over 150 volunteers taking part. All three sites yielded some amazing finds and added considerably to our understanding of the layout of the inner court of the abbey.

The excavations took place in gardens of both King Alfred Place (no 19) and King Alfred Terrace (Nos 8 and 14). We are indebted to the householders for allowing us to dig their gardens.

Once again our advisory team consisted of Dr David Ashby of the University of Winchester (Archaeology), Dr Dave Stewart (Geology and Cartography) and Dr John Crook (Architecture).

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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.

This trench found a continuation of the wall, most probably from the refectory building, found in the adjacent garden. A probable second phase consisting of a later, chalk block and flint wall core, with a cut resulting from the robbing of facing stone, was found above the foundations of the original 12th century wall. Adjacent was a thin layer of burnt material most probably the remains of the destruction of the abbey during the war between Stephen and Matilda in 1141. Below this was a firm clay base, either natural or that reported as being bought into the site for the original build of the abbey. A wealth of finds included dressed flint and non local stone chunks, some with masons tooling marks, window glass, oyster shell, some animal bone, decorated and some large thick plain tile fragments.

Photo 15 Trench 39 looking North

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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.

The Excavations

Trench 37

Trench 37 was put in as a result of the strong GPR response during a geophys survey of the garden carried out earlier in the year. The trench revealed a huge hearth possibly associated with a kitchen, or to provide warmth to the building. Also found was the possible medieval stone wall which abutted the fire place. This may have been a continuation of the wall in trench 38. Finds included a fragment of glazed medieval roof tile and a complete medieval brick.

Trench 38

This trench revealed an east to west running medieval wall, with two in situ facing stones showing traces of plaster on the south facing side. The function of an interesting square masonry feature at the base on the south side of the wall has yet to be established. Finds included significant quantities of medieval glass and a worked neolithic flint blade.

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Community Dig 26 to 29 August 2022

datePosted on 22:06, February 13th, 2024 by Website Admin

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 Excavations

Trench 33

Guided by the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) response a small group of volunteers dug a 3 X 1.5M trench positioned to the north of the 2020 trenches of the previously assumed line of the wall. The trench encountered a layer of demolition material from the 18th century county Bridewell (built over the site of the church and cloisters) followed by abbey demolition deposits. These deposits included a beakhead ornament (Photo 1) now in Winchester City Museum) of exceptional quality, exhibiting a reddish hue probably attributable to exposure to fire. It is likely to have been part of a voussoir from the arch of the west door to the church.
The foundations of the abbey were found approximately 1.2 metres below current ground level. The wall core and adjacent mortar foundation layer for the nave floor was cut by a trench associated with the construction of the Bridewell (prison). The northern area of the trench revealed in situ worked facing stonework (Photo 2), the first so far to be found in the inner court. Adjoining this to the north side of the wall core was the remains of an adjacent buttress.
The results show that the location and orientation of the north wall of the nave has now been established, enabling a revised outline of the church to be produced (Plan 1). Despite this the position of the west end is still uncertain. However we hope to carry out an additional GPR survey which will indicate if the abbey church extends further west, or whether this excavation has revealed the location of the elusive west end.

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