Caldey Priory

Tenby, United Kingdom

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 the number of monks resident there ranged from one in the late 12th century, four in 1402 and six in 1504. The buildings were significantly upgraded in the 16th century after the priory was secularized, but there is no evidence that they were used by either of the owning families of the time.

Several centuries later they were used as a farm house, centered on the priory's church. Around 1800 they became the farm buildings for a new house built for Thomas Kynaston, owner of the island from 1798. Restoration of the buildings may have begun as early as the mid-1890s, but the Rev. W. D. Bushell began the restoration after he bought the priory in 1897. He sold the property in 1906 to the Anglican Benedictine community that built the current abbey, but rented the house and the priory until he died in 1917. The house was subsequently demolished in the 1970s.

The priory buildings are built from rubble stone, with slate roofs, and are grouped around a small courtyard. Over the centuries they have been altered many times and have a very complex history. On the north side was a domestic range that has not survived. The gatehouse is on the western side and there is a two-storey dormitory with a tower on the eastern. The church stands on the south side, and consists of nave, chancel and west tower with a spire.



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Founded: 1113
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Helidan (7 months ago)
It would seem that chocolate and fudge production on Caldey Island has ceased. The chocolate factory was all closed up when we visited recently and even the sign was gone. Not sure what has happened but very disappointing.
Wendy Corbin (8 months ago)
What a beautiful island. Arrived in the rain and then the sun came out. Lost in time, we walked the walks outlined on the island leaflet. The most beautiful golden sands beach. Take a picnic and enjoy an old fashioned day out.
Richard Thomas (9 months ago)
Cracking place. Great couples of hours wandering around, seeing the sights and learning the history. If you're in Tenby it's well worth the short boat trip. Tickets can be bought at a kiosk in the harbour
Matt Owen (3 years ago)
Really beautiful, a very fun afternoon, great for a good walk and lovely views of the ocean and looking back at Tenby. We saw red squirrels right by the tea rooms. I hight recommend both the the forest walk and the cliff walk. The chocolate factory is limited due to Covid but still very interesting chat with the staff explaining the process. The chocolate is delicious. The boat trip took about 20 mins and ran very frequently. Last boat back at 5.30pm.
Mike Beranek (5 years ago)
Secluded isle with a strong spiritual feel with lots of beautiful views back towards Tenby and of the holy island
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