Many of the floors of the abbey were covered with encaustic tiles, glazed and fired tiles with either an incised or an inlaid pattern. Dale had its own kiln, and exported tiles to other parts of the country. Reputedly the kiln was rediscovered in the nineteenth century but both the kiln and its contents, including unfired tiles, were broken up and used for road fill.

The tiles in the Site museum come from two sources, the abbey proper - Hope records that he removed the tiles from the Lady Chapel for safe keeping - and from the floor of the refectory. The latter were unearthed during an excavation of the area which is now beneath the garage of Abbey House. Sadly, over the years many of Hope’s tiles have been removed as ‘keep-sakes’ so that the remnants are generally in poor condition (and kept behind steel grilles). Tiles and fragments still turn up if the ground is disturbed.

For more about Dale’s tiles, see ‘History’.