Llanthony Priory s a partly ruined former Augustinian priory. The priory dates back to around the year 1100, when Norman nobleman Walter de Lacy reputedly came upon a ruined chapel of St. David in this location, and was inspired to devote himself to solitary prayer and study. A church was built on the site, dedicated to St John the Baptist, and consecrated in 1108. By 1118, a group of around 40 monks from England founded there a priory of Canons Regular, the first in Wales.
In 1135, after persistent attacks from the local Welsh population, the monks retreated to Gloucester where they founded a secondary cell, Llanthony Secunda. However, around 1186 another member of the de Lacy family, Hugh, the fifth baron, endowed the estate with funds from his Irish estates to rebuild the priory church, and this work was completed by 1217.
The Priory became one of the great medieval buildings in Wales, in a mixture of Norman and Gothic architectural styles. Renewed building took place around 1325, with a new gatehouse.
Following Owain Glyndŵr's rebellion in the early 15th century, the Priory seems to have been barely functioning. In 1481 it was formally merged with its daughter cell in Gloucester, and after 1538 both houses were suppressed by Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries.
The buildings at Llanthony gradually decayed after the Dissolution to a ruin, although in the early 18th century the medieval infirmary was converted to the Church of St David. In 1799 the estate was bought by Colonel Sir Mark Wood, the owner of Piercefield House near Chepstow, who converted some of the buildings into a domestic house and shooting box.
The ruins have attracted artists over the years, including J. M. W. Turner who painted them from the opposite hillside. Wood's house later became the Abbey Hotel. The remaining ruins are protected by Cadw and entrance to the ruins is free.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.