Friday, August 05, 2011

Hailes Abbey

Arches into the cloisters.
"Richard, Earl of Cornwall, was in grave danger at sea in October 1242.  He vowed that if he lived he would found a religious house.  In 1245 his brother, King Henry III, gave him the manor of Hailes so that he could keep his pledge."   JG Coad  MA, FSA   Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings
The way the meeting room looks now.

And, then.
Hailes Abbey was built for the Cistercian order.  It was quite a large building being completed in the mid 1250's.  The treasure of the abbey was a vial containing the blood of Christ, making it a magnet for pilgrims.  There is little left standing but a few walls.  Archaeologists working over many years have been able to reconstruct the foundation lines, as well as save several architectural elements that are now in the museum.  There have also been drawings made over the centuries showing the Abbey from a new place, to ruins in 1794.
A carved figure on one of the arches.

The Abbey was active until Dissolvement by Henry VII.  The last Abbot and 21 monks surrendered the property on Christmas Eve, 1539.  The Crown sold the abbey in 1542 to a dealer who demolished the church, selling off the building stones and such.  The cloisters, barns and other buildings became the home of the Tracy family until 1729 when they were demolished and the building materials used elsewhere.  The site now belongs to the National Trust.  One very interesting thing I learned in all this, the Abbot, priests, nuns, were not just thrown out to fend for themselves, they were all given pensions according to their positions in the church.  All this time, I thought they were 'done in'.  Guess I'm not through learning yet!

Ribs from the ceiling, now in the museum.

A Fleur des Lis, the lily flower.
A parish church was built shortly after the abbey and is still being used by the locals.  There was a sign on the door asking who had left something at the wedding on the past weekend.  The inside has remains of painted figures and several burial stones.
Painting from when the church was new.

The current Church of England at Hailes Abbey.
As we were leaving the Abbey, a sign caught our attention.  Supernatural Ice Cream!  Now who could possibly pass that by?  Not us!  We both had chocolate, with chocolate chuncks.  Yum!  It even came with it's own little spoon attached to the inside of the lid.
Spot Loggins Organic Ice Cream.

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