Gloucestershire Places of Worship

We have 3 Images Hailes Abbey (Ruins), Hailes (1) Hailes Abbey (Ruins), Hailes (2) Hailes Abbey (Ruins), Hailes (3) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie
Hailes Abbey (Ruins), Hailes
Hailes Abbey (Ruins),
Hailes, Gloucestershire.


This Church had a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in 1246, but we understand it was closed after 1538.

Hailes Abbey was founded in 1246 by Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, second son of King John and Isabella of Angouleme. He was created Earl of Cornwall by his brother Henry III as a 16th birthday present, and the revenues from his Cornish Estates led to him becoming very wealthy. While still in his teens he commanded English fighting forces in France, and in 1240, he led a Crusade to the Holy Land, where his powers of diplomacy secured a peace treaty with the Sultan of Egypt for release of prisoners, and of the bodies of Crusaders slain in a battle at Gaza in 1239. On his way home, he was almost shipwrecked, and he vowed to build an abbey if his life was spared. He kept his promise, and a group of Cistercian monks from Beaulieu Abbey formed the core of its settlement.

In 1257, Richard was elected "King of the Romans" (Holy Roman Emperor), a post which he held for fourteen years. In 1271 he had a stroke, and he died the following year, at Berkhampstead in Hertfordshire. He was survived by his fourth wife, who arranged for his heart to be buried in the Church of the Friars Minor in Oxford (where his third wife had been buried), and for his body to be brought to Hailes, to be buried with his second wife, Sanchia of Provence. Sanchia's had been the Abbey's first burial.

Though Hailes Abbey was never home to many monks, its buildings were extensive, and elaborate. The Abbey's original dedication ceremony is said to have been attended by Henry III and his Queen, with 300 knights; and by 13 bishops, who consecrated 13 altars. It became famous on the pilgrim's trail for its relic - the 'Blood of Hailes' - supposedly a phial of the blood of Christ. This was brought to Hailes about 20 years after its foundation, and the east end of the abbey was extended to build a shrine to house it.

After the Dissolution in 1539 the estate was granted to Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth wife. Some of the monastic buildings were turned into living accomodation, but the abbey church itself was demolished, and now only a section of 17 cloister arches, a portion of the south wall and some foundations remain. Such artefacts that survive are housed in a small museum, founded by Sir James Kingston Fowler, whilst some floor tiles, and stained glass from the Abbey may be found inside Hailes Old Church. [Sources: The King's England - Arthur Mee's Gloucestershire, and the Wikipedia article on Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall]

There may be more information available by by selecting one or more of the accompanying images on the right.


Now or formerly Cistercian.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.


This Church was located at OS grid reference SP0502330011. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for Hailes, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.

Information last updated on 3 Dec 2018 at 15:51.

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This Report was created 7 Jul 2022 - 14:19:22 BST from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 13 Oct 2021 at 14:13.

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