Sunday, 17 July 2011

A bit of history.....

Last Sunday, before the rainy season hit the UK ; Andy and I took a trip to Tintern, (just over the Severn Bridge and into Wales) and spent a wonderful couple of hours at Tintern Abbey (Welsh - Abaty Tyndyrn). The Abbey was founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow on 9 May 1131.

The Abbey is on on the Welsh bank of the River Wye in Monmouthshire. It was only the second Cistercian monastery in Britain. Cistercian monks ( or White Monks) followed the Rule of St Benedict. The Carta Caritatis (Charter of Love) laid out their basic principles, of obedience, poverty, chastity, silence, prayer, and work. The monastery existed until the early 15th century, when it was destroyed by the Welsh rebels.

However, in the mid eighteenth century it has a 'rebirth', when it became fashionable to visit 'wilder' parts of Britain. The Reverend William Gilpin, one of the originators of the idea of the 'picturesque', wrote a book called Observations on the River Wye. Suddenly, well to do tourists began to visit the site in droves. The Wye Valley became well known for its romantic qualities and the ivy clad Abbey was a huge draw.

Wordsworth wrote the poem, 'Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey'; Tennyson wrote 'Tears, Idle Tears'; and it was the muse for more than one painting by JMW Turner! It's now in the care of CADW, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, and continues to attract many visitors.

It's easy to imagine the monks at prayer in the remains of the abbey church.

Engraved on an old tile, I guess an early Christian in symbol? Although I've never seen three fishes together before.

Now only the swallows live here in Summer, busy feeding their youngsters. The nests were just a little to high to get a photo!
Although I've lived so close for many years I've never been inside before, and it was amazing. The grey clouds gave a real air of mystery to the place, and it was so quiet and peaceful, with only one or two other visitors in the late afternoon. Hope you enjoyed the tour. x


  1. I felt like I could actually hear monks chanting as I viewed these amazing pictures you have taken of Tintern Abbey. I love it when you post mysterious places, castles, churches and ruins from Wales. Thanks so much Jules.

  2. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures.

  3. My Dream Trip to go to the "British Isles" and see the ruins of EVERY castle and abbey, etc! I love ruins as much as I love sewing :)

  4. oh, I loved seeing all of your photos, gorgeous captures and amazing history and architecture!

  5. I loved the tour, I hope to get back to England in the future to see much of what I didn't get to see last time. Wales is one of the places I missed although, I was just across the border in Chester. Thanks for sharing. Carline


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