Monasteries in United Kingdom

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131 by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow. was the first Cistercian foundation in Wales, and only the second in Britain. The present-day remains of Tintern are a mixture of building works covering a 400-year period between 1131 and 1536. Very little of the first buildings still survives today; a few sections of walling are incorporated into later buildings and the two recessed cupboards for b ...
Founded: 1131 | Location: Chepstow, United Kingdom

Llanthony Priory

Llanthony Priory s a partly ruined former Augustinian priory. The priory dates back to around the year 1100, when Norman nobleman Walter de Lacy reputedly came upon a ruined chapel of St. David in this location, and was inspired to devote himself to solitary prayer and study. A church was built on the site, dedicated to St John the Baptist, and consecrated in 1108. By 1118, a group of around 40 monks from England founded ...
Founded: 1118 | Location: Crucorney, United Kingdom

Neath Abbey

Neath Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, located near the present-day town of Neath. It was once the largest abbey in Wales. Substantial ruins can still be seen, and are in the care of Cadw. Neath Abbey was established in 1129 AD when Richard I de Grenville, one of the Twelve Knights of Glamorgan, gave (3,200 ha of his estate in Glamorgan, Wales, to Savigniac monks from western Normandy. The first monks arrived in 1130. F ...
Founded: 1129 | Location: Neath, United Kingdom

Margam Abbey

Margam Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, located in the village of Margam, a suburb of modern Port Talbot. It was founded in 1147 as a daughter house of Clairvaux by Robert, Earl of Gloucester. Early Christian crosses found in the close vicinity and conserved in the nearby Margam Stones Museum suggest the existence of an earlier Celtic monastic community. The founding abbot was William of Clairvaux. The third abbot, Conan ...
Founded: 1147 | Location: Port Talbot, United Kingdom

St Dogmaels Abbey

St Dogmael"s Abbey is named after Dogmael, a 6th-century saint said to have been the son of Ithel ap Ceredig ap Cunedda Wledig, and also reputedly the cousin of Saint David. The abbey was built on or very close to the site of the pre-Norman conquest clas church of Llandudoch. It was founded between 1113 and 1115 for a prior and twelve monks of the Tironensian Order. In 1120 Abbot William of Tiron consented to fitz M ...
Founded: 1113 | Location: St Dogmaels, United Kingdom

Clonard Monastery

Clonard Monastery was developed by the Catholic Redemptorists religious order. Members of this religious order came to Belfast originally in 1896. They initially built a small tin church in the grounds of Clonard House in 1897. In 1890 a monastery was opened in these grounds and in 1911 the Church of the Holy Redeemer opened in the grounds and replaced the tin church. Clonard is also used as a music venue for many ...
Founded: 1890 | Location: Belfast, United Kingdom

Talley Abbey

Talley Abbey is a ruined former monastery of the Premonstratensians in the village of Talley in Carmarthenshire, Wales, six miles (10 km) north of the market town of Llandeilo. It lies in the River Cothi valley. Access to the site of the abbey is free, and the site is maintained by Cadw. The monastery was founded by Rhys ap Gruffydd in or about 1185. In common with Strata Florida Abbey, it was once claimed to be the site ...
Founded: 1185 | Location: Llandeilo, United Kingdom

Glenarm Friary

In the early fifteenth century, Franciscan Third Order Regular communities began to be established in Ireland. In 1445 the archdeacon of Connor was sent a mandate by Pope Eugenius VI, authorising him to establish a Franciscan Third Order Regular friary in his diocese. A 1580 map of the County Antrim coastline shows the friary at ‘Glanarme’ on the other side of the river from the castle. It was probably closed by the ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Glenarm, United Kingdom

Caldey Abbey

Caldey Abbey is a Trappist abbey situated on Caldey Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire. Caldey Island has been known as one of the centres of Cistercian activity since Celtic times and thrived during medieval Europe. However, the current abbey was built in 1910 by Anglican Benedictine monks. The abbey passed to the Trappist order in 1929. The Abbey came under scrutiny in 2017 when some historic instances of child abuse ...
Founded: 1910 | Location: Tenby, United Kingdom

Grey Abbey

Grey Abbey is a ruined Cistercian priory in the village of Greyabbey. It was founded in 1193, by John de Courcy"s wife, Affreca (daughter of Godred Olafsson, King of the Isles), as a daughter house of Holmcultram Abbey in Cumbria. It had declined by the late Middle Ages and was dissolved in 1541. It was burnt out by Brian O"Neill in 1572. It was granted to Sir Hugh Montgomery who re-roofed the ...
Founded: 1193 | Location: Greyabbey, United Kingdom

Ewenny Priory

Ewenny Priory was a monastery of the Benedictine order, founded in the 12th century. The priory was unusual in having military-style defences and is widely regarded as one of the finest fortified religious buildings in Britain. Over the centuries the priory has sustained some damage, and following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, was, like many of its kind, converted into a private house, Ewenny Priory House, which is ...
Founded: 1141 | Location: Bridgend, United Kingdom

Newtownards Priory

Newtownards Priory was a medieval Dominican priory founded by the Savage family around 1244. Only the lower parts of the nave and two blocked doors in the south wall leading to a demolished cloister, survive from the period of the priory"s foundation. The upper parts of the nave date from a 14th-century rebuilding and the western extension and the north aisle arcade were undertaken by the de Burgh family. The pr ...
Founded: 1244 | Location: Newtownards, United Kingdom

Bonamargy Friary

Bonamargy Friary is a late Franciscan foundation established in 1485 by Rory MacQuillan. It is said that the first battle between the warring MacDonnell and MacQuillan clans was fought on nearby land. At the main entrance to the friary is a small, two storey gatehouse which opens into a store and workroom. Well worn steps lead directly to the dormitory above. Traces of an altar can still be found in the adjoining chu ...
Founded: 1485 | Location: Ballycastle, United Kingdom

Nendrum Monastery

Nendrum Monastery may have been founded in the 5th century, but this is uncertain. The monastery came to an end at some time between 974 and 1178, but its church served a parish until the site was abandoned in the 15th century. Some remains of the monastery can still be seen. Dendrochronology has dated a tide mill on the island to the year 619, making this the oldest excavated tide mill anywhere in the world. The mona ...
Founded: 7th century AD | Location: Comber, United Kingdom

Rushen Abbey

Originally home for monks of the Savignac order, Rushen Abbey soon came under Cistercian control and remained so until its dissolution. The abbey is located two miles from Castle Rushen, the politically most important site on the island in medieval times. The abbey was founded in 1134, under Óláfr Guðrøðarson's control. He granted the land to Savignac monks from Furness Abbey. In 1147 the abbey came under ...
Founded: 1134 | Location: Ballasalla, United Kingdom

Caldey Priory

Caldey Priory is on Caldey Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales, some 300 metres south of the modern Caldey Abbey. Sir Robert fitz Martin was granted the island in 1113 and his mother Geva founded the priory as a daughter house of the Tironensian St. Dogmaels Abbey in the 12th century. It was probably built on a preexisting Celtic Christian site, and lasted to the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, although t ...
Founded: 1113 | Location: Tenby, United Kingdom

Devenish Monastic Site

Devenish Island contains one of the finest monastic sites in Northern Ireland. A round tower thought to date from the twelfth century is situated on the island, as are the walls of the Oratory of Saint Molaise who established the monastery in the 6th century, on a pilgrim route to Croagh Patrick in County Mayo. It became a centre of scholarship and although raided by Vikings in 837 and burned in 1157, it late ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Devenish, United Kingdom

Bangor Abbey Church

Bangor Abbey was established by Saint Comgall in 558 and was famous for its learning and austere rule. Bangor Abbey is regarded as one of the most important of the early Northern Irish monastic sites, second only to Armagh. Within the extensive rampart which encircled its monastic buildings, students studied scripture, theology, logic, geometry, arithmetic, music, and the classics. Bangor was a major center of learni ...
Founded: 558 AD | Location: Bangor, United Kingdom

Haverfordwest Priory

Haverfordwest Priory was a house of Augustinian Canons Regular on the banks of the Western Cleddau. The priory was first mentioned around 1200. At the time of Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536–1541), it was acquired by Roger and Thomas Barlow, brothers of William Barlow, bishop of St David"s. From 1983 to 1996, the site (now under control of Cadw) was excavated and the outlines of the buildings ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

Inch Abbey

Inch Abbey is a large, ruined monastic site north-west of Downpatrick. The site was originally on an island in the Quoile Marshes. The pre-Norman Celtic monastic settlement here was in existence by the year 800. In 1002 it was plundered by the Vikings. The Vikings plundered the settlement again in 1149. Its large earthwork enclosure has been traced from aerial photographs. On the ground, the early bank and ditch ca ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.