St Dogmaels Abbey

St Dogmaels, United Kingdom

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 Martin's request that the priory become an abbey. It remained a daughter house of Tiron, probably until its dissolution. However, in 1138, the village and abbey of St Dogmaels were sacked by Gruffudd ap Cynan's sons.

The earliest surviving remains date from the first half of the twelfth century. It seems that sufficient of the church was built to satisfy the immediate requirements of the monastery, but that the western part for the use of the laity, was not finished. The nave was completed in the thirteenth century, although without the intended aisles. Unusually the church lacks a west doorway, possibly because of the slope of the ground becomes steeper. The square-ended sanctuary was built over a vaulted crypt, possibly a repository for relics of St Dogmael. About the middle of the thirteenth century, the cloister was enlarged northwards; the cloister arcades were rebuilt in stone about the same time. The domestic quarters were extensively rebuilt at the end of the thirteenth or beginning of the fourteenth century. A new infirmary was built, followed by a chapter house. In the fourteenth or fifteenth century, much of the west range was altered to provide improved accommodation for the abbot. A new wing was added for the abbot's guests. The last alteration to the church was the rebuilding of the north transept, with its elaborate fan vaulted roof. This happened in the early sixteenth century, not long before the suppression of the monastery. The lavish design indicates it may have been an individually distinct chapel, possibly built as a memorial to the founder's family, the lords of Cemais.

The abbey was dissolved in 1536, along with hundreds of other houses. By this time, there were only eight monks and the abbot. The majority of the abbey's possessions were leased to John Bradshaw of Presteigne in Radnorshire. He built a mansion, probably within the abbey precinct.

Substantial parts of the church survive, including the western end wall, the north wall, northern transept. The crypt, beneath the former eastern two bays of the presbytery is preserved to the springing of the vault. Fifteenth century floor tiles remain in large areas of the nave.

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Founded: 1113
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Raif & Vy (3 months ago)
The St Dogmaels Abbey ruins are all that's left behind. Nice place for a walk while admiring the history. It's a nice place if you're in the area to visit. About 80% plus of the ruins have been destroyed overtime. Free parking, There is a small cafe, A place you can visit for free.
David Nurse (3 months ago)
Historic site of abbey and St. Thomas church. Well worth a visit is in the area. Visiting is very easy. A487 and then B4546 to the Abbey There is limited parking at the site. (52.08084819413824, -4.679396371342211) and this is not always available especially on Tuesdays when it is the venue for the local market. but a better bet is at the town parking (52.08178485298606, -4.677090769613847) and it is just a short 200 m walk to the Abbey. There is a great cafe and also museum at the site.
Iain Wooding (8 months ago)
Free parking and entry to the old ruined Abbey site. Information boards dotted around but some unreadable through water damage. The Abbey gives up some good photos if the light is good
Francesca Cane (9 months ago)
Free to go in. Atmospheric Abbey with plenty of info boards around to let you understand what the remains are. Nice open space to explore or sit and relax in. Lovely cafe and gift shop too. Weekly local produce market on a Tuesday in the grounds. Only about 10 stalls but all very nice and you can buy flour from the little house just round the corner too.
Dawn Orbell (11 months ago)
These ruins were fascinating if you like this sort of thing it's worth a visit. We went to the farmers market on the sight not a big market but the stall holders were very friendly and had some good produce. No entrance fee
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