Hyde Abbey Garden
Hyde Abbey in Winchester, fell victim to Henry VIII at the dissolution of the monasteries (1539-41), and by the last century nothing was left to see of the huge church in which Alfred the Great had been reburied in 1110. A Community dig led by Winchester City’s archaeologists in 1997-1999 succeeded in finding the foundations of the east end of the church, together with the presumed sites of the graves of Alfred, his wife and his son.
Hampshire Gardens Trust felt that the site should not once again disappear, and suggested that a garden should mark the spot. A group of Friends was formed under the Trust’s guidance and the City Council agreed to make it their millennium project and gave a substantial grant. Funds were also provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Hampshire County Council and many local organisations and individuals. Internationally known landscape architect Kim Wilkie, a Hampshire resident, was chosen to design the garden and work began in 2003. He has created a mound on the site of the east end of the old Abbey church, surrounded by columns of holly and stone benches, inside which are three ledger stones to mark the royal graves. At the entrance to the garden a glass panel engraved by local resident Tracey Sheppard was set up to show how the Abbey church looked from that viewpoint. At the western end of the garden a new bridge over the stream leads to North Walls Recreation Ground. The completion of the Garden was celebrated on 22 October 2007 when its specially designed lighting was switched on by Alan Titchmarsh.
Sadly,Tracey Sheppard’s panel was destroyed in July 2010.However, when Tracey Sheppard confirmed that she was prepared to create a replacement the Friends resolved to raise the necessary funds. Thanks to generous donations from many individuals and local organisations, a new panel was commissioned in 2011 and was installed in July 2012.
Click on the links below for further information on Hyde Abbey Garden:
Article by Barbara Hall from Issue 3 of the HGT Magazine.
Further information on Tracey Sheppard.
Further information on Kim Wilkie.