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

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mike Beranek (2 years ago)
Secluded isle with a strong spiritual feel with lots of beautiful views back towards Tenby and of the holy island
Ceri Phillips Gaming and films (2 years ago)
I love going here. Such a relaxing, spiritual place
Frederick Francis (3 years ago)
Fantastic place I loved this place can't wait to go back there
Greg John Watchman (3 years ago)
Peaceful, cut off from modern distractions and if you fancy some chocolate there is a factory you can purchase from. There is only a handful of places to see here, me and my partner visited recently. It was good to see but not somewhere to bring easily bored parties because there is nothing else apart from peace and quiet. The boat ride is nice and takes twenty minutes.
Ray James (4 years ago)
Accessible only by boat and they run from May to September. Wonderful if there aren't any holiday makers.
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Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.