Website report on the Hyde900 2023 Community dig


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).

Volunteers at the briefing by Dr Dave Stewart the 2023 dig

The gardens and trenches were based upon knowledge that has been gained to date of the archaeology and architecture of the inner court of the abbey, together with ground penetrating radar results and the outcome of probing exercises carried out in residents’ gardens.

The plan below (Plan 1) shows the currently assumed curtilage of the church and cloisters together with key features and elevations. It has been developed using:

  • the background information to the archaeology of the abbey which has been published recently (1)
  • data from the Hyde900 community digs 2016 to 2022.
  • The location of the water culvert and walls discovered in the 2022 dig (2)

A fuller report on the 2023 dig will be available shortly.

PLEASE NOTE that this report has been compiled without the benefit of any specialist reports on finds, so should be treated as a draft pending receipt and analysis of the finds.

Plan 1 Currently assumed curtilage of the church and cloisters showing the dig sites and reoriented following the results of the 2023 dig.
Plan 2 Location of 2023 community dig gardens

19 King Alfred Place SO23 (Hyde2023 19 KAP)

Courtesy of Jenny and Martin Masters

Supervisor De David Ashby


The garden is an area which is shown on plans to be outside of the abbey cloisters but likely to be part of the site of the western end of the county Bridewell (opened in 1788 and closed 1845).  An adjoining garden (no 19 ) was one of the sites of the 2021 Hyde900 Community Dig  The trench there revealed the remains of a major foundation feature, cut by a curved robber trench. It was located in an area which was to the southwest of the conjectural location of the west entrance to the abbey church. Due to the depth of the trench the foundation was not fully excavated, but extends to at least one metre below the top surface of the feature, itself

 As there is considerable uncertainty as to the position of the western end of the abbey church .there are several interpretations of the function of this feature. They include

  •  The foundation of a major two storey wall of the building found in 1 and 3 King Alfred Terrace
  • The foundation of a tower located at the south western corner of the abbey church
  • The foundation of the western wall of the nave

The Excavations


Plan 3  Plan showing the assumed outline of the county Bridewell on a contour map with trench locations (red)  and GPR results with the abbey outline in brown.

Two trenches were dug to explore a possible continuation to the north of the major find of a massive foundation structure discovered in the adjacent garden. The site was located to the find any extension to this foundation and confirm the location of the west end of the county Bridewell.

8 King Alfred Terrace (Hyde2023 8 KAT)

Courtesy of Ruth Pelling and Richard Osgood

Supervisor: Briony Lalor


The trench in 8 KAT was to be dug in the location of a substantial shed that had been demolished in preparation for the dig. The shed was still standing when the GPR was run, therefore only one GPR transect could be run alongside the shed which revealed some significant GPR anomalies. There were weak indications that the wall seen in 9 KAT is present in the eastern part of 8 KAT.  There was a stronger east – west linear feature between 0.6 and 0.7m below the surface some 2m further north that suggests a wall (Plan 4)

Plan 4 Plan showing the GPR response at the north end prior to removal of shed.

14 King Alfred Terrace (Hyde2023 14 KAT)

Courtesy of Chris and Anne Prior

Supervisor Mike Brace


A single “L” shaped  trench was located between 8 and 10 metres to the south of the major N-S wall the foundations of which included the 12th century cloister arch pieces (voussoirs) reused in the reconstruction of the cloisters partially destroyed in 1141.

The purpose of the northern most area was to establish whether there were significant structures to the south of the major cloister wall seen during garden work in the ‘90’s and excavated in the Hyde900 2017 dig (trench 6)

 The purpose of the southern most area was to investigate the position of the culvert servicing the cloister facilities believed to run parallel with the south range of the cloisters (the western end found during the Hye2022 dig – trench 34)    


These notes have been written without the benefit of analysis of finds apart from those identified as exhibit quality finds during the excavations or initial processing (ie washing where appropriate)


  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)