4.1 Archaeology of the Abbey site


The Hyde Abbey site is located to the east of Hyde Street, and largely to the east of the Roman road which followed a similar route to the modern road. The area has been subject to numerous archaeological explorations from 1788 to the current day. The area is now covered by largely Victorian or later buildings, mainly residential in nature. This required several service trenches which have to some extent added to the understanding of the area. The locations and extent of these interventions have been superimposed on a satellite image of the area. (Fig 4.1a Pre 1285 HA precinct)

The archaeology being considered is that bounded by the outer curtilage of the Hyde Abbey at the time of the Dissolution in 1539. The abbey prior to 1285 was confined to the area of the inner and outer courts (Fig 4.1b Post 1285 HA precinct). After acquisition of additional land around St Bartolomews church it was extended to include the outer court. The archaeology that remains today (2017) has been severely affected by the fact that the area is now largely covered by high density housing built in the period 1863 to date.(Fig 4.1c Modern development of Hyde Abbey site).

One of the major excavations of the abbey site was the 1995-99 Community dig  exploring areas adjacent to the abbey church. The trenches included those in the vicinity of the abbey gatehouse, the abbey mill and the abbey guesthouse. However the major excavations were located at the east end of the abbey church. The results of these are shortly to be published by the Hampshire Cultural Trust through a grant from Historic England.

A local resident, Barbara Hall, took a series of photographs of these digs, together with a set which recorded the design and construction of a garden, designed by renowned garden designer Kim Wilkie, which reflected the design of the east end of the church as revealed in the community digs. Through her generosity, and courtesy of a grant from Hampshire Archives Trust (www.hampshirearchivestrust.co.uk) the photographs have now been digitised by Hampsire Record Office (https://www.hants.gov.uk/librariesandarchives/archives) They can be accessed via the 1995-99 Hyde Abbey Community Excavations and Hyde Abbey Gardens links.

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