Hyde Abbey – The Lost Minster of King Alfred The Great group

2017 The series of events and activities to expand understanding of HYDE ABBEY.

Project Space 2017 – Visual Arts

datePosted on 10:02, March 3rd, 2017 by Website Admin


Hyde900 Project Space 2017

Artists – apply for bursaries now!

Each year since 2010, Hyde900 has worked with visual artists to produce a range of exhibitions and events. Extending this tradition, Project Space 2017 forms the visual arts element of Hyde900’s broader, Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Hyde Abbey – the Lost Minster of King Alfred the Great’ project and for the first time, is offering bursaries to artists.

Project Space will run over the summer with artists working publicly in the Hyde Abbey precinct, responding to its rich cultural heritage and the site as it is today. The artists’ process of research and development as well as the resulting finished work may be seen and engaged with by visitors. The aim is to produce visually interpretative and conceptually rigorous explorations of the Hyde Abbey story while considering its lasting significance. At the same time, contemporary artists’ working practice
will unfold. Documentation of the project will appear on the newly launching website in October as a long-term legacy.

Call to Artists

Hyde900 seeks high-calibre, research-led artists to submit proposals for 6 x £300 bursaries to research and respond to the narrative and site of ‘Hyde Abbey: Lost Minster of King Alfred the Great’ as part of the broader programme of events, walks and talks taking place in the abbey precinct in 2017.


Specifically, artists are asked to: 

  • choose either the first (26 Apr–26 Jul)
    or second (26 Jul–26 Oct) stage,
  • conduct visual research in the abbey precinct’s public spaces for an equivalent of 18 hours of their choosing over
    the stage,
  • *produce final display/ an installation/ intervention for exhibition at the end of
    their stage,
  • conceive and conduct a 2-hour
    public engagement activity, ideally during exhibition phase,
  • insure themselves and their work,
  • provide a risk assessment if necessary,
  • liaise with site stakeholders directly and seek permissions where required
  • provide a brief artist’s statement/journal and photographs to document progress, provide content for promotional activity to
    ultimately form an online legacy.

*Please note, the scale of artist’s projects should be commensurate with the overall 20-hour engagement and bursary, so while we seek proposals that are site-specific, challenging and ambitious in concept, we do not expect highly finished or high budget finished artworks for final exhibition, rather we expect works to be ephemeral, low tech and materially simple. Similarly, well-developed working stages would also be acceptable at final exhibition if they demonstrate in-depth research for a yet unrealised, larger scale work.

Artists may wish to collaborate with others,
e.g. writers or musicians. Artists are encouraged to engage with other Hyde900 activities, such as the community archaeological dig in late April or various talks and walks over the summer (see the website).

Artists might utilise one or more heritage aspects, such as: 

  • the Winchester School or style of illuminated manuscripts e.g. Benedictional of St Aethelwold (British Library), which was held at Hyde Abbey
  • Cnut and Emma’s cross – now lost
  • Abbot Aston’s crozier (V&A)
  • The Hyde capitals (St Bartholomew’s church/ Winchester Museum)
  • The Hyde Abbey seals and documents (Winchester College, Records office London etc)
  • Re-use of stones, timbers, glass and tiles (Hyde900/ Winchester Museum)
  • Anglo-Saxon pilgrimage and relics
  • Hyde Abbey monastic life
  • Archaeological processes – loss, recovery and re-imagining in Hyde
  • King Alfred the Great and family
  • Hyde900/BBC’s ‘Unmarked Grave and
    the Search for Alfred’ story

–    Secular life around the Abbey precinct

In order to explore broader themes, for example:

  • memory
  • cultural heritage
  • mortality
  • loss and remembrance
  • re-imagining
  • kingship/leadership
  • mortality
  • community
  • religious/secular relationship

How to apply?

Proposals must be lodged by midnight Thursday 20th April
Please see the Submission Guide in the
Visual Arts section of the website at www.hyde900.org.uk


Key dates

Thursday 20th April – submissions close at midnight

20th-25th April – selection committee will decide the 6 artists

26th  April – successful applicants will be contacted by email

26th April – 26th July – first 3 artists’ stage

27th-30th April – Community dig in Hyde

26th July – exhibition around this date and change over for artists

26th July – 26th October – second 3 artists’ stage

20th October – Hyde900 King Alfred Weekend, launch of ‘Hyde Abbey: Lost Minster of King Alfred the Great’ website including augmented reality, and final stage Project Space exhibition

26th October – project concludes


Further enquiries

Please email the project curator, Sophie Cunningham Dawe – [email protected]


Submission guide for artists

Please read the Call to Artists document for details of what is sought and note key dates.

Any queries please email the project curator, Sophie Cunningham Dawe – [email protected]


Proposals should include:


  1. Name
  2. Email address
  3. Which stage you are applying for :
    Stage 1:  26 April – 26 July
    Stage 2:  26 July – 26 October
  4. Describe your proposal (up to 500 words) indicating:
  5. which themes, activities and/or heritage aspects you wish to engage with;
  6. what outputs you envisage exhibiting for a two week show at the end of your stage;
  7. where these might be displayed e.g. Hyde Gate Chamber, the Darch Room in Hyde Parish Hall, St Bartholomew’s Church or grounds, other site/s in the precinct (subject to approval);
  8. idea for a public engagement activity.
  9. Please attach up to 4 low resolution images of recent or relevant work and/or link to online images or website.

To submit, please email your proposal to the project curator, Sophie Cunningham Dawe – [email protected] by midnight Thursday 20th April 2017


Key dates

8th April – optional briefing session

9th-20th April – submissions accepted, please see Hyde900 website

Thursday 20th April – submissions close at midnight

20th-25th April – selection committee will decide the 6 artists

26th  April – successful applicants will be contacted by email

26th April – 26th July – first 3 artists’ stage

27th-30th April – Community dig in Hyde

(please email the curator if you wish to be involved in this)

26th July – 2 week exhibition around this date and change over for artists

26th July – 26th October – second 3 artists’ stage

20th October – Hyde900 King Alfred Weekend, launch of ‘Hyde Abbey: Lost Minster of King Alfred the Great’ website including augmented reality, and final stage Project Space exhibition (2 week duration)

26th October – project concludes

Introductory resources

– Hyde900 website – www.hyde900.org.uk

– ‘Treasures of Hyde Abbey’ – http://hyde900.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/CUS0184-0334-treasures-of-hyde-abbey-web.pdf
– Hyde Abbey – http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hants/vol5/pp20-21 and http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hants/vol2/pp116-122

– Winchester School or Style – https://www.britannica.com/art/Winchester-school

– ‘The Search for Alfred the Great’ – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03sbp73

– Abbey precinct overlay onto contemporary map – https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1J7bZi1CSKF7NgW-ecXtNnDSkRfQ&ll=51.06825551923861%2C-1.313171499999953&z=18

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Touring the Precincts

datePosted on 09:56, March 3rd, 2017 by Website Admin


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datePosted on 09:53, March 3rd, 2017 by Website Admin

Medieval Abbot Makes Re-appearance in Hyde Abbey, Winchester with help of local MP Steve Brine

HALMAG LogoNewly commissioned life-sized sculpture embodies story of abbey where King Alfred the Great lies buried St. Bartholomew’s Church, Winchester was packed on Friday evening [3rd March] for the unveiling by the Revd. Canon Cliff Banister assisted by local MP Steve Brine and the Deputy Mayor of Winchester David Mclean of a life sized sculpture in wood of 13th Century Abbot Walter de Aston.

The carving had been commissioned from the well-known St.Cross-based wood carver, Alex Jones by local heritage group Hyde900 as a way of embodying the story of Hyde Abbey (and its predecessor New Minster) where King Alfred the Great was buried.

“Abbot Aston presided over the abbey 1222-1248 about mid-way through the lifespan of New Minster/Hyde Abbey,” explained Hyde900 Chair, Steve Marper. “It was a very large, very affluent abbey but it is now almost entirely disappeared apart from St. Bartholomew’s which was its lay chapel. By commissioning this statue of Abbot Aston we are giving a human dimension to the story of the abbey. Our intention is that it should complement the Hammo Thornycroft figure of King Alfred in the Broadway so as to sum up the two dimensions of the abbey story – a royal burial place for Alfred and an important ecclesiastical establishment for Aston.”

Perfect timing…

Wood carver Alex Jones has an established reputation especially for producing extraordinary renditions of insects in wood often on a giant scale. His work is in a number of private and public collections and he is now in the process of creating a new body of work for his next exhibition. This will include life-sized human figures so he was delighted when he was approached by Hyde900 to undertake Aston. “It was perfect timing for me in term of how my work has been developing and wood is one of the best possible materials for carving people in,” he said. “In fact the walnut I’m using comes from a tree which also provided me with wood 25 years ago when I was doing a carving of a young boy. So there is a kind of continuity there.”

There are no known images of Aston so there was a creative challenge in deciding how he would be presented.

“Although Aston is a historical figure separated from us by 800 years I felt that he should also come across as someone who would be recognisable to us today because of the basic humanity which we all share,” said Jones. “I undertook a lot of research into what abbot Aston would have worn and also into the crozier which is holding which is modelled on a 13th century crozier from Hyde now in the Victoria & Albert Museum and which was quite possibly his. But I didn’t want it to be too stuck in the past – I also wanted to give it a contemporary spin.”

Abbot Aston is believed to have grown up locally in Hampshire – possibly in the Longparish area– but had to make his way up from the bottom. By being elected Abbot in 1222 he joined an elite group of ‘mitred’ abbots and the records show that he took part in great events of national significance.

Abbot Aston’s life and times were celebrated in St. Bartholomew’s during the Unveiling service through a series of performances and presentations. These included music by Index Cantorum, a reflection on the English language in the 13th century by Professor Christopher Mulvey of the English Project and poetry by local Hyde poets. Also featured was a two-hander short play, ‘Unforgettable’ by Jonathan Edgington which took a sideways look at Walter de Aston from a modern perspective.


The surprise element in the evening was the appearance of Aston himself as played by actor Nigel Bradshaw who also served as the model for Alex Jones’ Aston figure. “Aston would have been a big personality, I’m sure, and the fact that Nigel is such a huge character in his own right helped me enormously in carving him – gruelling though he found it at times,” said Alex Jones.

Nigel Bradshaw says that modelling Abbot Aston and embodying a little known, but highly prominent character in medieval Winchester, who signed the re-issue of Magna Carta in 1225, who met kings, bishops and many significant players in the politics and fabric of 13thC England was an inspirational experience. “Through those ‘significant’ others, a picture of Walter emerges, illuminating with wonder the time in which he lived, here in Hyde, almost a thousand years ago,” says Bradshaw.

Serving as the model was not always easy especially as it involved enduring the application of a full face mask. “It was suffocating, illuminating and humbling,” he said. “To be ‘under wraps’, face incarcerated in plaster, waiting for the mound to set, as my grimace lines entombed themselves to eternity and panic spread – would the tiny straws set in my nose collapse? This was surely suffocation indeed! Humbling to realize, as Alex carved away at dear Walter, I  would remain, as his likeness, when shadows will no longer find me.”
Funding for the commissioning of Aston came from a variety of undertakings by Hyde900 over the past ten years including its involvement in the BBC2 programme ‘The Search for Alfred the Great’.

“We’ve been immensely fortunate in the way people have responded to our ideas and proposals,” commented Edward Fennell, the Hyde900 Founder.”The very large turn-out this evening including Steve Brine MP and Deputy Mayor David Mclean shows how interested people are in the Hyde Abbey King Alfred Story. The unveiling of Abbot Aston marks the opening of a new chapter for us with a whole series of projects planned for this year with the support of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It’s going to be a great year!”

Abbot Aston will be on display in St. Bartholomew’s for the near future but the intention is that it will move in due course to a secure location elsewhere in the Hyde Abbey precincts. “We’re very happy to give Abbot Aston temporary accommodation,” said the Revd Cannon Cliff Bannister. “He’s a valuable link to the medieval monastic community in Hyde to which the members of our congregation at St. Bartholomew’s are the successors.”

For more information on Hyde900’s programme for 2017 including a lecture series on the story of the abbey click HERE
For more on Alex Jones go to www.alexjones.co.uk
Media enquiries to Edward Fennell on 01962 868581, [email protected]