On the Welsh bank of the River Wye and adjacent to the village of Tintern in Monmouthshire, Wales, sits the stunning Tintern Abbey, a former home to Cistercian monks that was founded in the year 1131.
Tintern Abbey, founded in 1131, was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain and the first in Wales. For 400 years, the Cisterian monks who lived at Tintern followed principles such as obedience, poverty, chastity, silence, prayer, and work. They lived quiet and isolated lives in the abbey, committing themselves to their faith.
Tintern Abbey was abandoned and fell into ruin during the 16th century, after King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, as part of his creation of the Church of England.
For two centuries after, the abbey lay in ruins, with little to no interest shown in its splendor. However, starting in the mid-18th century, it became fashionable to visit “wilder” parts of the country, and such the remains were celebrated in poetry and often painted by visitors from the 18th century onward.
In 1984, Cadw, a Welsh group that protects historic buildings and structures, took control of the site. Their efforts have helped with preserving the abbey and conservation work is still ongoing.
Present Day Tintern
Present day Tintern is truly a remarkable site, with a mixture of structures covering the 400-year period between 1131 and 1536. Vast windows as well as decorative details on the walls, doorways, and archways amaze visitors. The Wye Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty, make for an impressive backdrop to the ruins.
Guidebooks are available for purchase on various languages onsite; I relied on the each building’s plaque to learn more information while there (written in English and Welsh).
Have you been to Tintern Abbey? Would you want to go?
- Location: Tintern Abbey, Tintern, Wales NP16 6SE
- Hours: Hours vary dependent on time of year. Find Tintern Abbey hours here.
- Entry: Adult – £6.50; Senior citizens, students and children under 16 – £4.20, Children under 5 – Free. Family packages are also available.
- Getting there: If driving, Tintern Abbey has a paid car park onsite. To arrive via public transport, Chepstow is the nearest train station. A short walk from the Chepstow train station is the Chepstow bus station where a 15 minute ride on bus 69 will drop you off right in front of Tintern Abbey.