VALLE CRUCIS

Grid Ref: SJ 208 442
Date:11 July 2013 (pictures taken late morning)

 

Valle Crucis
From the South East, the Presbytery between the N transept far right and the south transept on the left


spacer Valle Crucis
West end from the cloister   East end of the south transept on the right and sacristry
Valle Crucis   Valle Crucis
The West End   Sacristry with gable and to the left the chapter house and reredorter

Valle Crucis Abbey (Valley of the Cross) is a Cistercian abbey located in Llantysilio in Denbighshire. The abbey was built in 1201 by Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor, Prince of Powys Fadog. It was built on the site of a temporary wooden church and was the last Cistercian monastery to be built in Wales. It was originally established with 12 monks as a colony or daughter house of Strata Marcella (Ystrad Marchell) an abbey located near Welshpool. The completed abbey is believed to have housed up to about sixty brethren with 20 choir monks and 40 lay-members.

Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor, was Prince of Powys Fadog 1191-1236 in north-east Wales. He was elder son of Gruffydd Maelor and his wife, Angharad, a daughter of Owain Gwynedd. He succeeded his father jointly with his brother, Owen in 1191 and on Owen's death in 1197 became the sole ruler of Powys north of the River Rhaeadr and the Afon Tanat.

Madog was buried in the then-completed abbey upon his death in 1236. Not long after Madog's death, it is believed that a serious fire badly damaged the abbey, with archaeological evidence that the church and south range were affected. The abbey was dissolved in 1537 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the building was given to Sir William Puckering on a 21-year lease by Henry VIII. The lease was renewed under the reign of Henry's son Edward VI in 1551, but after Sir William's death in 1574, the property was passed to his daughter, Hestor. In 1575 Hestor married Edward Wotton, 1st Baron Wotton. It remained in the Wotton family and by the late 16th century the eastern range was converted into a manor house. Hestor Wotton, the third daughter of the 2nd Baron Wotton, married Baptist Noel, 3rd Viscount Campden and the abbey entered the family's ownership, before being sold shortly afterwards when the estate was sequestered by Parliament in 1651 at the end of the Civil War. By the late 18th century the building that remained were re-roofed and the site was used as a farm, before excavations were undertaken in the later half of the 19th century.

In Llangollen parish church they have an oak roof, carved with animals, birds, flowers, angels and trumpeters said to have been brought from Valle Crucis Abbey. Iolo Goch, the bard of Owain Glyndŵr, is said to be buried at the abbey.

In design it follows a fairly standard pattern with the Abbey Church to the north with two transepts. South of the nave was the cloister with the West Range while East of the Cloister and just south of the South Transept lay the Sacristry and Chapter House and Reredorter. The west wall of the nave is almost complete as shown above. The presbytery and south transept also survive to a considerable height. There was considerable rebuilding in the middle to the 13th century following the fire. Valle Crucis Abbey is now under the care of Cadw.

Sources

The Buildings of Wales, Clwyd, by Edward Hubbard, Penguin Books, first published in 1986, ISBN0 14 071052 3
The County Books Series. Wales Volume II, the Country by Maxwell Fraser, published Robert Hale, London, 1952
Cadwr site for Valle Crucis
Wikipedia on Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor
Wikipedia on Valle Crucis

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