Neath Abbey, Wales.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member veritas vita
N 51° 39.659 W 003° 49.565
30U E 442862 N 5723655
Quick Description: Neath Abbey founded in 1130 AD. by the Norman Baron, Richard de Granville and described as the 'Fairest Abbey in all Wales' by Tudor Historian John Leland.
Location: South Wales, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/18/2012 12:44:41 PM
Waymark Code: WMDHNC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member BarbershopDru
Views: 2

Long Description:
The Abbey enjoyed varying fortunes, even serving as an early copper works after the dissolution. Although situated near an industrial area, the Abbey's location, on the banks of the Tennant Canal, makes it a tranquil and memorable site for the visitor.

"A small group of monks from Savigny in western Normandy arrived at Neath in 1130 to colonise a new monastery of the Savigniac Order. The construction of a stone church commenced immediately and, by the time Cistercian rule had absorbed the Savigniac monks in 1147, the first building had probably been completed. Certainly there are architectural remains dating back to the 12th century to suggest that a substantial part of the west range was also finished within the first 50 years.

Neath Abbey today is an extraordinary complex of monastic medieval ruins, the substantial remains of a grand Tudor residence, and fragments of 18th century industrial furnaces. Such a busy, ever-changing post-Dissolution period almost belies the quiet existence that the Cistercian monks must have enjoyed for over 400 years in this part of Wales. During medieval times, the most common source of income for many abbeys was from farming and, with generous land endowments from Richard de Granville, Neath Abbey became one of the wealthiest monasteries in Wales by the end of the 13th century.

Throughout the 13th and 14th centuries a significant programme of rebuilding took place. Many of the claustral buildings were renewed, and a huge, new Gothic church replaced the original, simple structure. The west front has survived to some degree, although missing its great window, and gives a clear indication of the original scale and splendour of this Decorated church. Along the length of the nave, the walls have remained standing to a good height. The bases of two chapel altars are still visible in the north transept, a rare stone handrail set above the remains of the monks' night stairs can be seen on the west wall of the south transept, and in the south choir aisle some lovely examples of medieval floor tiles have survived.

Only fragmented remains of the cloister and domestic ranges can be found among the ruins of the Tudor mansion, but there is one remarkable chamber of the Cistercian monastery that has survived almost intact. Originally the monks' day room, this splendid rib-vaulted undercroft was probably used as the servants' hall when the Tudor house was created. By the end of the 17th century the mansion was no longer occupied, its structure later utilised to provide basic housing for the men working the copper-smelting furnaces on site. By the end of this era, Neath Abbey must have been virtually unrecognisable.

In the early 1920s a massive clearance operation began, before the site was excavated to reveal the extensive remains. Some 4,000 tons of debris were removed from the abbey with the help of Glen Arthur Taylor, leader of the Neath Abbey Research Party, and it is due to his efforts that this magnificent monastery was not lost forever among industrial waste, and the encroaching modern docks complex of Swansea."

Source :- (visit link)
Type: Ruin

Fee: Free Admission

Daily 10.00 am to 16.00 pm

Related URL: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
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veritas vita visited Neath Abbey, Wales. 4/10/2012 veritas vita visited it
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