On Monday evening (August 19th) the Friends of Hyde Abbey Garden held their annual summer party in the Garden. It was well attended by members who enjoyed a sunny evening and were very pleased to welcome the Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Eleanor Bell and Alex, her husband and escort, as their guests.
Hyde Abbey Garden was constructed on the site of Hyde Abbey, following excavations which revealed the high altar and three graves thought to be those of King Alfred, his wife and son, a Lady Chapel and two side chapels. At a public meeting it was decided to create a community garden on the site and in 2003 the Garden was officially opened as Winchester City’s Jubilee project by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire. Several organisations provided funding, including Hampshire County Council, the Hampshire Gardens Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Winchester City Council in addition to businesses and individuals.
The entrance to the Garden from King Alfred Place is marked by a beautiful glass panel depicting the interior of the east end of the church as it might have looked in 1110, the work of well-known glass engraver, Tracey Sheppard, Fellow of the Guild of Glass Engravers, who lives nearby.
The Garden is maintained by the Friends, who helped to raise part of the original finance and who now hold gardening working parties and fund-raising events to purchase essential equipment.
The Friends are looking for new members including any willing to join five or six friendly garden workshops each year – but non gardeners are equally welcome. The £8.00 annual subscription gives the opportunity to join in social events such as the summer party and an indoor winter party. There is also an interesting talk by a specialist speaker at the AGM. There is the satisfaction too of helping to preserve the burial place of one of England’s greatest kings!