The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological
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Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 00713g Trust : Glamorgan Gwent Community : Tintern Unitary authority : Monmouthshire NGR : SO53300003 Site Type (preferred type first) : Medieval Abbey Status : Scheduled Monument , listed building I
Summary : The abbey was founded in 1131 for Cistercian monks and dedicated to St Mary, on land given by Walter Fitz, Lord of Chepstow. Before this date Tintern has no known history.
Description : This PRN relates to the whole of the abbey complex.
The abbey was founded in 1131 for Cistercian monks and dedicated to St Mary, on land given by Walter Fitz, Lord of Chepstow. Before this date Tintern has no known history. (01 Evans)
The ruined remains of the Cistercian Abbey of St Mary at Tintern (PRN 00713g and 00718g, LB24037; SAM MM102) founded on 9th May 1131 by Walter fitz Richard of Clare, Lord of Chepstow. It forms a guardianship site under the management of Cadw. None of the twelfth century structure of the Abbey now survives above ground; the majority of the standing remains belong to the second major phase of the abbey's construction carried out during the later thirteenth century. The Abbey and its associated buildings are the result of several phases of construction lasting over four hundred years, the ground plan initially following the standard form for Cistercian abbeys, which consisted of the three main elements of the church, the cloister and its functional buildings. The surrounding area has numerous minor relict features relating to the Abbey, including drains (PRNs 00719g, 03271.0g; and 03597.0g), and the medieval 'Cold Well' (PRN 00783g). The abbey grew in wealth to be the fifth richest house in Wales, and specifically influenced the development of the landscape of the Lower Wye Valley through its holdings here. These included a number of granges, created through assart, and in the main used as sheep farms, although the Secular Firmary Grange may have functioned as a monastic hospital for laypeople. Although the Abbey became a 'romantic ruin following the Dissolution of 1536, it remains a dominant feature in the landscape today. The Crown purchased the remains in 1901 for the sum of 15,000. An extensive programme of restoration and recording at the Abbey, including the removal of all the ivy and the rebuilding of the south nave arcade was undertaken (Roberts, Gerrard and Graham 2009).
A full description of this extensive site can be found in Robinson 2002, and Robinson 2006, 277-287. The inner precinct of Tintern Abbey contains the Abbey Church, and the principal monastic buildings, including the guest house/guest hall area of the inner court excavated 1979-81 (Courtney 1989, 99-141). These sites, c. 3.2ha in area, are together guardianship sites and scheduled ancient monuments (SAM ref. MM102). The gate to the inner precinct, the Inner Gatehouse, had its own chapel, St Anne's, now converted into a dwelling (Grade II listed, ref 2051). The outer precinct encompasses the inner precinct and retains the remains of a Watergate, separately scheduled (SAM ref. MM265), a further gatehouse in the outer precinct wall may have been located just W of the Guest House area, off the route known as the Stony Way (PRN 03174.0g). Various stretches of the outer precinct wall also survive and are protected (SAM ref. MM157) (Bowden and Roberts 2012).