Hailes Church, Hailes

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This charming country chapel contains some magnificent 13th-century wall paintings of saints, heraldry, mythical beasts, and hunting scenes.

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Hailes Church

Hailes, England
51.969806° N, 1.928047° W
Date Published
October 8, 2013
Last Updated
April 11, 2015


William de Tancarville Gives Hailes Church to French Monastery

William de Tancarville is recorded as giving Hailes Church to the monastery of St. Georges-de-Boscherville near Rouen, France. The Tancarvilles were Chamberlains of Normandy and had their castle on the Seine upriver from Le Havre. They also seem to have been Chamberlains of England and to have owned the manor of Hailes.

Winchcombe Abbey records construction of Hailes Church

The records of nearby Winchcombe Abbey provide details about a church built at Hailes between 1139 and 1151. They say that Ralph de Worcester had taken over almost the whole district and fortified a castle and built a church at Hailes, summoning the Bishop of Worcester to dedicate it. The monks of Winchcombe Abbey were alarmed at this because it might threaten their parochial rights (which had to do with charging burial dues) at Hailes and tried to prevent him.

Hailes Church Disputes with Winchcombe Abbey

A priest of Hailes Church named Simon refuses to pay burial fees to Winchcombe Abbey any longer and enters into a dispute with the abbey.

Hailes' Payments to Winchcombe Abbey End

The annual fee of seven shillings a year paid by Hailes Church to Winchcombe Abbey ends with an exchange for some lands and tithes.


Hailes Church comes under the jurisdiction of Hailes Abbey (founded 1246). The settlement at Hailes is moved to nearby Didbrook, but Hailes Church remains in use as the place of worship for visitors, pilgrims and abbey workmen, since the public is not allowed to use the grand church of Hailes Abbey. A monk from the abbey probably leads the services at Hailes Church.

Hailes Church Expanded

Many architectural changes are made to Hailes Church in the mid-13th century to reflect its new association with Hailes Abbey. The eastern wall of the chancel is reconstructed with a Curvilinear window, the Norman windows in the front are partly blocked, and Early English windows are added to the chancel and nave...

The Reformation Comes to Hailes

The new emphasis on preaching at the Reformation is reflected at Hailes Church with the addition of a new pulpit with sounding board. A box pew for distinguished members of the congregation is also added. The stone altar is smashed and replaced by a communion table placed in the middle of the chancel...

Hailes Church Repaired

After falling into disrepair, Hailes Church is repaired for the sum of £150.

Restoration of Hailes Church by Hugh Andrewes

In the early 20th century, Hailes Abbey is excavated and Hailes Church is restored by Hugh Andrewes, owner of the estate. This includes the installation of the east window from Hailes Abbey, and unfortunately also the addition of wax and varnish over the wall paintings. This treatment is intended to protect them but in fact causes much harm by trapping moisture...

Restoration of Hailes Church by Eve Baker

A thorough restoration by Mrs. Eve Baker removes the damaging wax and varnish added to the wall paintings in an earlier restoration, and uncovers more wall paintings.

May 5, 2007