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

Leila P (43 days ago)
Lovely little place to stop at if your in the area. Spent a nice little hour there and this could be extended if you enjoy a picnic on a sunny day. Free parking out the front too. Informative information boards to tell you the history of the Abbey
Robert Davies (6 months ago)
Staff very friendly exceptionally good local food based locally or in premises all local produce.
Adrian Ince (6 months ago)
This mill, adjacent to the abbey ruins, sells their own range of milled products. Waterwheel has lovely cast iron spokes.
Terry Warren (7 months ago)
Interesting information about Abbey life. Unfortunately the mill was closed. The cafe nearby was great for lunch friendly service and a tasty ham hock call.
Rachel Souter (9 months ago)
The most beautiful ruined abbey in a stunning setting. So peaceful and relaxing to sit and just enjoy your surroundings. The Mill and duck pond opposite are fab and the little café and museum are lovely when they are open.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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