Monasteries in Wales

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

Strata Florida Abbey

Strata Florida Abbey was founded in 1164 by the Cambro-Norman Knight Robert FitzStephen. In the 12th century, Cistercian monks from Whitland Abbey, Narbeth, Carmarthenshire started to construct a religious settlement on the banks of the Afon Fflur (from which the present Abbey takes its name), a short distance from the present site. This was at a time of fast expansion of the Cistercian order. The church was consecrated ...
Founded: 1164 | Location: Tregaron, 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

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

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

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

Pill Priory

Pill Priory is a Tironian house founded near Milford Haven in the late 12th century. It was founded as a daughter house of St Dogmaels Abbey near Cardigan, itself a priory of the Tironensian order of reformed Benedictine monks. The community may always have been small; it was recorded as five monks in 1534 and four in 1536. In 1536 St Dogmaels Abbey and its daughters at Pill and Caldey were dissolved in the suppression o ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Milford Haven, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.