Hexham Abbey Revealed
Edited by Chris Tolan-Smith and Peter Richmond, Hexham Abbey Revealed: The Hexham Abbey Project 2009 – 2017.
The need for improved facilities at Hexham Abbey had been acknowledged for most of the 20th century but it was not until 2009 that a plan was finally embarked upon that led to the major project that is celebrated in this volume. The decision by the Ministry of Justice to close the Magistrates’ Court on 1st April 2011 was unpopular, but it did provide an opportunity for a much greater part of the former priory to be reunited with the Abbey church after an interval of nearly 500 years. For most of the past decade work has been undertaken to both expand our understanding of the Abbey and its treasures and to enhance the fulfilment of its mission. Much of what has been achieved is summarized in the following chapters.
We begin with a summary of the gestation and implementation of the project (Chapter 1). This is followed by a review of previous schemes that came to nothing (Chapter 2) and an account of the recent refurbishment of the priory buildings (Chapter 3). This work had to be preceded by a careful study of the archaeology and history of the buildings in question (Chapter 4). In addition to studying the buildings and developing their facilities, an important aspect of the project has been to pay attention to the Abbey’s many treasures including architectural stone work (Chapter 5), liturgical fittings (Chapter 6), historic prayer books (Chapter 7), and church vestments (Chapter 8). Lastly, a team from the Centre for the Study of Christianity & Culture at the University of York has shown how an innovative use of digital mapping technology can be deployed as both a research tool and a way of enhancing our experience of a major historic site (Chapter 9).
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