Hailes Parish Church
This tiny country church stands on the edge of one field and surrounded by many others. This building was constructed in 1135 and as is often the case it is suspected to be on a much earlier religious site. However because of disputes over land ownership and gifting, together with Church bickering, Hailes Church was not consecrated till the early 1200’s.
The interior is stone flagged, simple in style, a carved wood rood screen and basic furnishings. It is also home to some wonderful wall paintings. Many church were decorated with such paintings, most were painted over as religious custom and threats occurred over the centuries…but some like these at Hailes are still there, in part, to see.
Churches that I have visited usually have a ‘Saint,’ as well as a location link, in the name, but I have failed to find any such name.
Now, if you visit you may puzzle as to where the community, the Parish of Hailes is. The Church stands, as I described in fields – no houses.
The answer to that question can be found less than a quarter of a mile away at Hailes Abbey.
Hailes Abbey is like many of our Abbeys, in a state of ruin. It is though younger than Hailes Church. It was a Cistercian Monastery. The Cistercian Order usually sought isolate rural locations with land around. So Hailes Church was more than a little inconveniently close. There solution was not to knock down the Church…. but to move the village further down the valley, nearer to the Gloucestershire and Cotswold Market Town of Winchcombe.
These magnificent ruins are surprisingly expansive and great to explore. Enough of the architecture and stonemasonry still remains to illustrate the wealth and skills of the period….
Hailes Abbey was part funded by Richard, Earl of Cornwall and founded in 1246. Richard was brother to King Henry III who’s blessing for the project he had received. It is rather ironic that it was another King Henry…this time King Henry VIII who ordered its closure and ultimate destruction in the Dissolution Act of 1536.
It is also rather ironic, that the church that is much older, the church that had its Parish moved to make way for the Abbey, should remain in the 21st Century, standing proud and very much intact still serving the community….
So there you have your bargain for this Sunday.. Two for the price of One!
Please Remember ….
Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other
(C) David Oakes 2020