Hailes Abbey

 

6 April 2002

 

 

Our last visit of the school holiday took us to Hailes Abbey, only a couple of miles from Toddington, and just across the road from Hailes Parish Church, which we saw last year.

 

 

Hailes Abbey was an important Cistercian monastery until its closure by Henry the Eighth.It fell into disrepair, and for a long time the ruins were substantially obscured by a country mansion built on the site.Since the middle of the last century, the site has been cleared and excavated.It is now maintained by English Heritage, and there is a small museum alongside the remains of the Abbey, presenting an overview of monastic life and architecture.

 

 

On arrival, we declined the audio guides on offer, and preferred to follow the series of information boards around the site

 

 

 

 

This one includes an artistís impression of part of the building

 

 

 

 

Very little of the fabric still stands, the most notable features being a number of cloister arches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoy posing in these, Jay in balletic mood, while Roger affects a monastic air

 

 

 

 

Parts of the walls remain, though some are unstable

 

 

Teresa and Jay explore

 

 

 

 

The mark of one of the stonemasons can still be seen on one of the walls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mark is above the plaque reading

 

MASONíS

PRIVATE

MARK

 

 

 

 

Another part of the wall retains evidence of the basic washing and bathing facilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remains of the domestic quarters of the abbey Ė the monks entered the church itself through the archway on the right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very little remains of the abbey church

 

 

 

Jay standing on the base of one of the pillars in the nave

 

 

 

Part of the museum is an open air courtyard exhibiting some of the masonry and stone carving recovered on the site

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits of being a monk, according to St Bernard

 

 

 

 

Ö which we translate as

 

Itís good to be here, where life is purer,

falls rarer,

recovery faster,

progress safer,

repose securer,

death happier,

redemption quicker,

and the reward greater

 

 

Suitably chastened, we went on our unmonkish way

 

 

Home

 

Diary 2002

 

More about Hailes Abbey