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Historic England Research Records

Hailes Abbey

Hob Uid: 328158
Location :
Gloucestershire
Tewkesbury
Stanway
Grid Ref : SP0504929948
Summary : The Cistercian abbey of Hailes was founded in 1245 by Richard, Earl of Cornwall in thanksgiving for deliverance from shipwreck. The abbey church was built by 1277. The ruined remains are divided between its inner precinct and outer court which are separated by a boundary that has not survived later landscaping. The abbey had extensive and elaborate buildings, financed by pilgrims visiting its renowned relic, 'the Holy Blood of Hailes' - allegedly a phial of Christ's own blood. Following its dissolution in 1539 by Henry VIII, the abbey was sold to a dealer in monastic properties, soon after which the church was demolished. In the 17th century much of the west range and the abbot's lodging became the home of the Tracy family. The Tracy's moved on in 1729 and the buildings were converted into two farms. The inner precinct contains the claustral buildings. Of these, the walls of the cloister survive mostly at foundation level, although at the south end of the west range three bays survive to full height. The remains of the abbey church are to the north of the cloister. These were revealed during excavations in the 20th century. A geophysical survey undertaken in 1978 also revealed the infirmary and another building beyond the east range. The outer court contains the site of a gatehouse chapel, believed to be in the vicinity of the parish church, four fishponds, the sites of two mills and earthworks representing internal boundaries and water management features, most of which are visible on aerial photographs. Of the ponds, three survive unaltered, while the fourth was landscaped in the 17th century. The mills survive as earthwork platforms. On the west side of the monument, in the grounds of Hailes House, is a barn thought to be contemporary with the abbey. A further abbey barn has been revealed by aerial photographs to the north of the parish church. The monument was donated to the National Trust, and is now in the Care of the Secretary of State.
More information : (SP 05043004) Remains of (NAT) St Mary's Abbey (NR)(Cistercian. Founded AD 1246) (SP 05092986) Fish Pond (NR). (1)

Please see the abbey guidebook for more information. (2)

As described. The Monks' Frater is at present being excavated and consolidated. The fish pond at SP 05082988 has been partially filled. The ditch leading to it from the NE is probably part of the garden shown in Kip's view (a) (See DOE guide). The pond itself may also have been altered at this time, although as it feeds the stone drain which runs beneath the Abbey, it was probably an original feature. Two other fish ponds are at SP 05012991. Published survey (25") revised. (3)

I Hailes Abbey Cistercian Abbey. 1246. Destroyed 1539. Only part of C.13 cloisters are left. National Trust. (4)

Most prominent at Hailes Abbey today is the elaborate ambulatory with radiating chapels built in 1270 to accommodate pilgrims who came to see the relic, a phial of Holy blood, that was brought to Hailes by the Earl of Edmund (d 1300). It was his father Richard (d1272) Earl of Cornwall, who founded the Abbey in 1246. The Abbey was dissolved in 1539 and the splendid buildings looted and largely destroyed except for parts of the cloister which were retained as a dwelling. In the 17th century this was the home of the Tracey family who bought it from the crown, but after 1680 it was occupied by tenants and there after divided up into farm houses. In 1937 the site (much of which had been excavated in the late 19th century) was handed over to the National Trust, which in 1948 placed it in the care of English Heritage (formerly HBMC).
During the more recent excavations at Hailes floor tiles were discovered in the Presbytery. These tiles carried heraldic devices of the earls of Cornwall and their relatives. (5-6)

More of these tiles were found in an unusual locality as part of the building rubble at an early 19th century house in Cheltenham. Mr W Hodgin found the lead glazed tiles in 1984 and donated them to Cheltenham Museum. (7)

A variety of pottery has been found at Hailes dating from the 13th century to post Medieval times. Surrey White Ware, south Netherlands 'Altar Vases' and Raeren stone ware have all been found at Hailes Abbey and they date to the 15th-16th century (8)

Alembics, which are used in the distilling process, were found at Hailes Abbey. A complete type 2 alembic was found when the site was being cleared. The pot dates to 1550-1650. (9)

A Musty re-excavated areas formerly dug by Wilborne St Clair Baddeley between 1906-1909. (10)

Drainage operations north of the transept confirmed that a cemetery was in the area. (11)

Please refer to these sources for detailed information on the abbey. (12-15)
Two fishponds and other earthworks situated immediately south and east of the abbey are visible on aerial photographs. The earthworks extend over an area that measures up to 210m long by 100m wide and is orientated roughly south-west / north-east. They comprise: rectilinear fishponds centred at SP 0507 2991 and SP 0501 2991 that are connected by a leat; a group of irregular mounds and scarps centred at SP 0510 2996 that may represent spoil from 19th and 20th century excavations and / or the site of the infirmary, and parts of a water management system connected to the fishponds and probably the mills. The later includes an embanked leat that extends between SP 0511 2988 and SP 0520 3001, curvilinear platforms to the north of which could represent the site of a mill. Alternatively, this leat and a parallel terrace situated circa 30m to its west may be the result of 17th century landscaping, as shown in Kip's engraving. (16-17)

The Cistercian abbey of Hailes was founded in 1246 by Richard of Cornwall, in thanksgiving for deliverance from shipwreck, and dissolved on Christmas Eve 1539. Though never housing large numbers of monks, it had extensive and elaborate buildings, financed by pilgrims visiting its renowned relic, 'the Holy Blood of Hailes' - allegedly a phial of Christ's own blood. Sculptures, stonework and other site finds are displayed in the museum. (18)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1955
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Source Number : 2
Source : Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire
Source details :
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Source Number : 10
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 189
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 18 (1974)
Source Number : 11
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 177
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Vol(s) : 20 (1976)
Source Number : 12
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Tewkesbury 07-SEP-1987
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Source Number : 13
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 18-Sep-98
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Source Number : 14
Source : The English Heritage visitors' handbook 1998-99
Source details :
Page(s) : 76
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Source Number : 15
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 120
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Source Number : 16
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SP 0529/7 (21618/19) 08-APR-2002
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Source Number : 17
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : "Hailes Abbey: above and below the turf" report held at Hailes Abbey Museum
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Vol(s) : 2003
Source Number : 18
Source : English Heritage Members' and Visitors' handbook 2008/9
Source details :
Page(s) : 101
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 DJC 18-APR-73
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Source Number : 3a
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Mr A Musty, Archaeologist in charge, Hailes Abbey
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Source Number : 4
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Cheltenham Rural District June 1948
Page(s) : 32
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Source Number : 5
Source : Medieval Britain from the air
Source details :
Page(s) : 83-85
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Apted MR. 1985. English Heritage Guide to Hailes Abbey
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Source Number : 7
Source : Glevensis : Gloucestershire and District Archaeological Research Group review
Source details :
Page(s) : 45-6
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Vol(s) : 18 (1984)
Source Number : 8
Source : Archaeology in Gloucestershire from the earliest hunters to the industrial age : essays dedicated to Helen O'Neil and the late Elsie Clifford
Source details :
Page(s) : 265-7
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Source Number : 9
Source : Medieval archaeology : journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 109 116
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Vol(s) : 16

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Built by 1277
Monument End Date : 1277
Monument Start Date : 1245
Monument Type : Abbey, Church
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1245 to 1539
Monument End Date : 1539
Monument Start Date : 1245
Monument Type : Chapel, Gatehouse, Infirmary, Abbey, Barn, Cloister, Mill, Fishpond, Cistercian Monastery, Cross, Cemetery
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Ruined Building, Earthwork, Structure, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Added 1270
Monument End Date : 1270
Monument Start Date : 1270
Monument Type : Shrine, Chapel
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Converted C17
Monument End Date : 1699
Monument Start Date : 1600
Monument Type : Country House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : From 1729
Monument End Date : 1729
Monument Start Date : 1729
Monument Type : Farm
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 21st Century
Display Date : 2008 museum on site
Monument End Date : 2008
Monument Start Date : 2008
Monument Type : Museum
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Gloucestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 66
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : GC 74
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 95050
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 28850
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 265
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 134897
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : HAW 9388/9
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : J950135
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 03 SE 11
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 328152
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 328242
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 327768
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : CITY OF HEREFORD ARCHAEOLOGY UNIT
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date :
End Date :
Associated Activities : HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1899-01-01
End Date : 1900-12-31
Associated Activities : HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1970-01-01
End Date : 1977-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 03 SE 11
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1973-04-18
End Date : 1973-04-18
Associated Activities : HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1978-01-01
End Date : 1978-12-31
Associated Activities : HAILES ABBEY, STANWAY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND ADJACENT TO HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : ENVIRONMENTAL SAMPLING
Start Date : 2001-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE: GLOUCESTERSHIRE NMP (NORTH COTSWOLDS AND FOREST OF DEAN)
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2006-12-31
Associated Activities : HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2003-01-01
End Date : 2003-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE: HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2006-01-01
End Date : 2006-12-31
Associated Activities : HAILES ABBEY CULVERT
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2006-01-01
End Date : 2006-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT HAILES ABBEY COTTAGE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : WORMINGTON TO SAPPERTON GAS PIPELINE: HAILES
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT HAILES ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31