The Bishop of York, Wilfred, was granted a land in Hexham by Queen Etheldreda on the year 674AD and on it he built a Benedictine abbey and it became one of the most famous abbeys in the North of England by time.
It was later substituted by an Augustinian priory church during the 11th Century particularly built from 1170 – 1250 which is the building present now in Hexham. The priory was ended by King Henry VIII, but the church itself endured and became the parish church of Hexham.
Most of the abbey’s structure is Early English in style and that’s most prominent in the cloisters, south and north transepts and the choir. This structure style is mostly prominent in the night stairs, a 35 steps rising above the west door to a broad gallery. Which previously was a dormitory for the priory’s canons which was accessed for the night services.
Beneath the floor of the nave lays the crypt of Wilfrid, a Saxon styled Crypt, which is still intact. Most of the crypt’s stones came from the Corbridge Roman fort, which lies 3 miles away. The crypt is dimly lit and precipitous stairs lead to it as it was during the days of Wilfrid’s life. At the north passage of the crypt’s ceiling there are two carved roman stones along with a roman altar stone.
A remains of a beautifully carved Saxon cross can be found at the southern transept, it’s called Acca’s cross which was an abbot of Hexam in the 8th Century.
He was originally buried near the eastern end of the church but later in the 11th century when his tomb was discovered, it was moved near the high altar.
But to this day, it’s not sure whether the cross was on the original tomb or not.
Flavinus Stone – Near the night stairs base is a colossal piece of sandstone, which stands nine feet high, on which is cut a figure of a Roman warrior on horseback. The engraving lets us know that this is Flavinus, a first century standard-carrier in the Roman armed force positioned at Corbridge. It is not clear when – or why – the stone was conveyed from Corbridge to Hexham Abbey, yet we realize that the eleventh century Augustinian standards laid it face up in the houses. It was found there in 1881 and moved to its present area.
The Frith Stool – One of the prizes of Hexham is the frith, or frid stool, a strong square of sandstone cut fit as a fiddle of a low seat. The stool may date to the seventh century, and may, in reality, have been made by Wilfrid himself. The stone may originate from the Roman fort at Corbridge, where Wilfrid acquired a considerable lot of his building materials.
The stool may have served as an early cathedra, or religious administrator’s seat. Frith stools were utilized as a position of asylum; any individual who figured out how to achieve the frith, for example, a criminal escaping equity, couldn’t be touched until they were conceded certification of equity and reasonable treatment. Haven was utilized habitually, especially amid the untamed time of the Border wars, until it was at last prohibited in the Tudor period.
Isolating the nave and choir is a sublimely cut and painted screen, or pulpitum. This dates from the late fourteenth or mid fifteenth century and was request to be made by Thomas Smythson, former from 1491 to 1524.
Another Saxon relic is a little copper and gold goblet, or container, found in a stone pine box amid remodels in 1860. The goblet was most likely utilized by Saxon ministers to observe Holy Communion. It is in plain view in a defensive glass case, yet you can get a nearby view at the superb workmanship.