Hailes Parish Church, Gloucestershire
A church with no name…well at least a church that isn’t attributed to a Saint, just simply Hailes Parish Church.
It may well be a small isolated 12th century country church built around 1114 but its ‘religious ownership’ was a matter of dispute for many years. The Norman Knight Ralph de Worcester as was the way of many Norman Knights wanted the land and took what he could. In return he built a Castle and Hailes Church. He offered the church to Worcester Abbey but nearby Winchcombe Abbey disputed that decision and for years it was unresolved till eventually Winchcombe won out.
The interior is simple in layout, stone flagged nave, wooden pews and a simply carved wooden Rood Screen. The stained glass window is original and amazingly intact.
Of great interest to visitors are the Wall Paintings, Saints, Angels and country Hunting scenes…you can just see traces on the plain plaster walls above.
Most visitors to Hailes Church find it very much by accident. It is the ruins of nearby Hailes Abbey that they come to see. Indeed these ruins are well worth the visit..
A Cistercian Abbey founded in 1246 by Richard de Cornwall. They say that the size of the Abbey is much overstated as until its disillusionment in 1539, it never housed that many monks. Though it was very much on the Pilgrims Trail with Pilgrims travelling to see “The Holy Blood of Hailes” a so called phial of Christ’s Blood
It may well be small in comparison to the Abbey ruins but the Golden Cotswold Stone make Hailes Church a very striking building and hard to miss…and even more enticing to explore
(C) David Oakes 2016