Keys to the Past

Hexham Abbey (Hexham)

St Andrew's Church, Hexham. Photo Northumberland County Council, 1971.
St Andrew's Church, Hexham. Photo Northumberland County Council, 1971.

The church at Hexham was built in AD674-8 by St Wilfrid, the Bishop of York. It was dedicated to St Andrew and became a cathedral in 681. The stone chair in which the bishop would have sat can still be seen in the chancel. After 821 the bishop moved to Lindisfarne and the church became the centre of a monastery. However, in 875 many of the buildings were destroyed by Viking raids. Little remains of this Anglo-Saxon church, though the crypt built by St Wilfrid is still visible. In 1113 the monastery was refounded by Augustinian monks. A strong gatehouse was built in the mid-12th century and a new church begun in 1189. The church was sacked by Scottish raiders in 1296. The monastery was abolished in 1536 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, when it became the parish church of Hexham. The nave of the present church was built in the late 19th century. There are a number of Roman carved stones in the abbey as well as a fine Roman tombstone. This is a Grade I Listed Building and parts are a Scheduled Monument protected by law.

Reference number:N8722
Historical period: Roman (43 to 410)
Early Medieval (410 to 1066)
Early 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
Medieval (1066 to 1540)
Legal status:Conservation area
Listed Building
Scheduled Ancient Monument
Event(s):FIELD SURVEY, Archaeological Survey of Hexham 1988; ARCHAEOLOGICAL UNIT FOR NORTH EAST ENGLAND
TEST PIT, Hexham Abbey evaluation 1991; The Archaeological Practice
WATCHING BRIEF, Hexham Abbey floorscaping 1993; P RYDER
DESK BASED ASSESSMENT, Hexham Abbey proposed visitor/interpretation centre 1997; The Archaeological Practice
WATCHING BRIEF, Hexham Abbey Grounds, Hexham, Northumberland. An archaeological watching brief 2001; TYNE AND WEAR MUSEUMS
WATCHING BRIEF, Hexham Abbey. Watching brief during installation of floodlights 2003; Alan Williams Archaeology
WATCHING BRIEF, Hexham Abbey 2007; Tyne and Wear Museums
TEST PIT, Test pitting within the Prior's Court, Hexham Abbey 2015; The Archaeological Practice
WATCHING BRIEF, Watching brief during improvements works at Hexham Abbey 2017; AD Archaeology Ltd

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See also:
Source of Reference
Local History of Hexham


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Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.