Hexham Abbey Short Guide

Click on one of the circled numbers

Plan of Hexham Abbey 1
  1. As you enter, on your right, you will see St Etheldreda’s Chapel. We use it today as a focus for prayers for current concerns.
  2. Next to St Etheldreda’s Chapel is St Acca’s Cross-Shaft. Acca was one of the early Bishops of Hexham. Here is the congregational area and you will find notices, information and photos of events in the life of this church.
  3. Turn right and around the corner you will find in the wall a replica of an old Anglo-Saxon Chalice. The Monastic Workshop now houses a new display including the original chalice; this would have been used to take the sacrament of the eucharist to local communities. The clergy of the Abbey continue this tradition today by taking the eucharist to the ill and house-bound.
  4. The Effigies are thought to represent Thomas of Tyndale and nearer the east end, Baron Gilbert de Umfraville. Tyndale, an early 14th Century knight, has three sheaves on his shield and his legs rest on a lion. Umfraville (1245-1307) was a member of the Anglo-Norman family which built the 12th Century Prudhoe Castle in the Tyne Valley not far from Hexham.
  5. Take the three steps up into Sir Robert Ogle’s Chantry Chapel to read about its fascinating history.
  6. In the High Altar area the painted screens to the left give us a fascinating insight into the spirituality of medieval times. Note the ‘Dance of Death’. You are welcome to make use of the votive candle stand and prayer board for your personal prayers and concerns.
  7. The Frith Stool has the old carved Choir Stalls on either side. Originally this seat was the bishop’s throne which gave sanctuary to fugitives in medieval times. We use the choir stalls for services with smaller congregations, including mid-week Morning and Evening Prayer and Choral Evensong. The rhythm of daily prayers from the time of the monks is still alive today!
  8. Note the lively faces and figures carved into the north side of the Prior Leschman Chantry Chapel.
  9. St Wilfrid’s Chapel, set aside for quiet prayer, is at the east end beyond the candle stand.
  10. The North Transept is a wonderful space used for varied forms of worship, exhibitions, concerts etc. The Lady Chapel altar was made in 2004 with wooden panels from the pulpit of Lowgate Church, a former Mission Chapel of the Abbey.
  11. Our main services take place with the congregation sitting in the Nave. For communion we use a round altar in the crossing below the bell tower.
  12. Recessed into the more recent 20th century wall are stones found in the Abbey at various stages of rebuilding.
  13. Here, at the font, we celebrate baptism, the beginning of life in faith. The font also reminds all those who have been baptised of their baptism. The stone bowl may be of Roman origin while the striking wooden canopy incorporates wood from the 15th century cover.
  14. You will find the entrance to St Wilfrid’s famous 7th century Crypt half-way down the nave. Please check the website/noticeboard for tour times.
  15. Hanging prominently near the east end of the nave is the Millennium Banner, produced by Hexham Embroiderers’ Guild to celebrate the third Christian millennium.
  16. The Organ was built in 1974 by Laurence Phelps and Associates of Pennsylvania, USA. It comprises 34 stops distributed over two manuals and pedals. During practices, lessons and services, organ music can often be heard in the Abbey, and CDs are available in the Abbey Shop.
  17. The well-worn Night Stair to your left was trodden by the canons on their way to worship from their sleeping quarters. This rare surviving staircase has been in use ever since. Now it is the route for the choir coming down from their Song School to sing in services. At the foot of the Stair you see Flavinus, a Roman standard bearer. He is a reminder of the many Roman stones used to build the original Abbey.
  18. The Abbey Shop stocks a wide range of locally produced and quality branded gifts for all the family. From Steiff Bears and Border Fine Arts Collectables to Beatrix Potter toys and gifts, books, Bibles and Hexham Abbey souvenirs and postcards.
  19. Monastic Workshop. Part of the new Visitor Centre which opened in October 2014, housing “The Big Story” exhibition and the new Refectory café where we serve home-made teas and light refreshments. Please check the noticeboard/website for opening times.
  20. Please support the life of Hexham Abbey by joining us for a service and by assisting us financially to maintain this great building.

    It costs £10,000 a week to run the Abbey. There is a donation chest near the entrance and your generous donations are much appreciated. If you are a UK tax payer, please use Gift Aid envelopes.

    A full-colour souvenir guide book and postcards are available in the Abbey Shop or from the Verger and Stewards.