Hyde Abbey Capitals

Finally, we knew they did come from the abbey cloisters!

The capitals in St Bartholomew’s church in Hyde, on the outskirts of Winchester, have been described as some of the best examples of Romanesque carving (dating from the 12th century) in England.

No less than five are displayed in the church, and they were reputed to have come from the cloisters of the abbey which was situated beside the church. Their presence in the church was a mystery, and no reference to them could be found in the church records kept in Hampshire Record Office. It was only when researching the site as part of the preparations for a community dig on the site of the abbey was the mystery solved. Deep in the archaeological archives of the Hampshire Cultural Trust there were press cuttings from the City of Winchester archaeologist, Sidney Ward Evans, at the time. One described the capitals being found in 1929 in the garden of a street which was on the site of the abbey church.

The abbey site was the subject to many excavations in the last 300 years, but none on the site of the cloisters. This was to change with a series of three community digs, organised by local community group , Hyde900, in 2016-18. These revealeded many more pieces of the cloister arches – all found to be matching the capitals (and a so-called springer stone) in the local church.

If you want to research the history of your area of Hampshire you can learn how these Hampshire archives can help you:

City of Winchester Trust

City of Winchester

Winchester College

Local History Groups

Hampshire Record Office

Southampton Archives

Portsmouth History Centre and Records Office