Cistercian Abbey of Tintern
The Cistercian Abbey of Tintern is one of the great deserted monasteries of Wales. The second Cistorian building built in Great Britain, and the earliest Welsh, it was founded 5 months in 1131 by a lord named Walter de Clare, of the settlement of Chepstow. The site prospered thanks to land grants in Gwent and Gloucestershire, and buildings were added and updated in each century until its collapse in 1536. However, it was never large or important, and its history was relatively quiet.
The Cistercian Abbey of Tintern has always been closely associated with the Lords of Chepstow, who were often generous benefactors. The most generous was Roger Bigod III, grandson of the Marshal's daughter Maude. His main action was the restoration of the church at the end of the 13th century. As a sign of gratitude, the Cistercian Abbey of Tintern placed his coat of arms on the glass of the east window. Today this is where the largest number of ruins of Roger's Church exist. The remains of the building are a mixture of several stages of construction over 400 years.
Tintern is a great church, built in 1269-1301, it has retained its original appearance except for the absence of a roof, window glass and internal partitions. The Cistercian Abbey of Tintern has a simple cruciform plan, with a nave and aisles, transepts with two chapels each, and an altar. Aesthetically, today's simplicity may seem more pleasing than the original development, which was the motivation for the Victorian removal of the main cross wall or pulpit.
Aggressive policy of the king
In the 1500s, monastic life in England and Wales was abruptly ended by the political actions of King Henry VIII. The dissolution of the monasteries was part of the king's policy of establishing complete control over the church in his kingdom. But apart from severing ties with Rome, their suppression was a significant source of wealth for the crown. The Cistercian Abbey of Tintern was surrendered to royal visitors on 3 September 1536. In addition to Abbot Wich, there were twelve choir monks and about 35 monastic servants.
The value of the Cistercian Abbey of Tintern
At the end of the 18th century people were increasingly visiting remote places in Britain, and the Wye Valley began to attract more visitors due to its picturesque landscapes. The Cistercian Abbey of Tintern, then shrouded in ivy, has been rediscovered as an architectural landmark by many seekers of historic and abandoned landscapes. The most famous of them are the artist George Turner and the poet William Wordsworth. In the early 20th century every effort was made to preserve one of the finest and most complete abbey churches in Wales.