Llanthony Priory in the Vale of Ewyas – Wales.

Llanthony Priory in the Vale of Ewyas, within the Black Mountains area of the Brecon Beacons National Park south east Wales.

An Augustinian Priory until the dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII.

As can be seen from the J.M.W Turner picture below, between 1794 & 2019 the site has reduced in size considerably.

(From Tate Images & Google)
The artist J.M.W Turner’s 1794 painting of Llanthony Priory

In the early 1100s a Norman nobleman, Walter de Lacy, took shelter from a rainstorm in a ruined chapel. Inspired by its remoteness and serenity, he decided to build a church. Others were soon drawn there, finding it a place for solitary prayer, and by 1118 a group of monks from England converted it to Llanthony Priory.

Llanthony’s isolation placed the Priory in a vulnerable position, not helped by the local inhabitants resenting the English monks occupying Welsh land. They repeatedly attacked the building; it was also targeted by thieves, so by 1135 the monks were forced to retreat over the border to Gloucester where they founded Llanthony Secunda. Between 1186 and 1217, again probably around 1325 building work took place allowing the Priory to become fully functional again and on Palm Sunday, April 4, 1327, Edward II visited. Its regained status was not to last, in the early 15th century it was attacked yet again, this time by the Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr as part of his campaign to recapture Welsh land from the English. This started a period of decline and the Priory finally closed in 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII.

5 thoughts on “Llanthony Priory in the Vale of Ewyas – Wales.

  1. thank you for the history of this priory which is fascinating and these photographs that delight me
    A person from my family in the distant past owned the ruins of an abbey, but at the time of his death, the heirs being far too numerous, the state disinherited them and appropriated the abbey
    The person of my family who (at the distant time) had bought his ruins wanted to rebuild this Abbey to hear again the monks singing there
    That’s why I am attracted by the beautiful ruins and their history

    1. Thank you for an interesting insight into the ownership of some of these types of ruin.
      It would seem quite a common problem; families keen on maintaining/preserving an historical site and government agencies thwarting that desire.

      1. Since the state has become “purchaser” (we will say it like that) the ruins are visited
        I remember that little I went with my brother and my parents to see them. So I had “this chance there”
        But the wish of my illustrious ancestor could unfortunately not be enhanced

  2. Though reduced in size, there’s something undeniably beautiful about the remains of the monastery. I appreciate the historical information too.

    I wonder, is there still a rivalry between England and Wales? Or is that mostly a thing of the past?

    1. Josh, yes there is still rivalry, some of it quite hostile, especially from the northern part of Wales. Then again North does not get on with the South either, they even speak a slightly different dialect of Welsh.
      As for the Priory, they are quite magnificent, even as ruins; we have several scattered around the country and they all have an interesting history.

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