New museum at Hailes Abbey

English Heritage’s new museum telling the captivating and dramatic story of the Cotswold abbey that was once one of England’s most important pilgrim destinations. The new museum provides fascinating new insights into the history of the abbey and the lives of the monks who worshipped and lived at Hailes for nearly three centuries.

The new museum vividly brings to life 300 years of piety, culture and tradition at Hailes. Visitors will be greeted by an imposing 13th-century stone sculpture of Old Testament figure Sampson fighting a lion. Symbolising Christ’s defeat of death, the sculpture was once a boss in the ceiling in the abbey’s chapter house.

Among the other treasures inside the museum, visitors will find an exceptionally rare fragment of 14th-century monk’s spectacles, lost for centuries on the site of the monks’ choir-stalls.

Coinciding with the reopening of the museum,  the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway reopened the abbey’s station, Hayles Abbey Halt, which now allows members of the public to visit the site by heritage railway for the first time since 1960. The new museum at Hailes Abbey is open daily until 31 October.

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