I belong to a couple of steampunk groups – one in Chepstow and one in Bristol. We quite often combine days out, and our friend Katja suggested a trip to Tintern Abbey in the Wye Valley combined with a picnic.
Luckily for my partner and I, Tintern is just approx 20 mins to drive , so there was no excuse not to go.
We were extremely lucky with the weather, it was a perfect autumn day of 18 degrees celsius with minimum breeze, blue skies and sun.
Unusually we arrived early, so got i asked my chap to take a pic of me in my outfit.
I decided to go with autumnal vibes by wearing a rust coloured over skirt and a first time out for my beautiful hat made by my friend Beryl of Thimblebee Millinery. I added the fake pheasant though! Also my lovely teacup (and saucer) holster is strung round my waist.
This was the first time I have visited the Abbey itself . I’ve been to Tintern countless times over the years , just never inside the Abbey itself.
Brief history lesson….Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131 by Walter fitz Richard of Clare, the Anglo Norman lord of Chepstow. Walter of Clare wanted to bring Cistercians Monks from France and it was the first Cisterican Abbey in Wales.
Like most abbeys, it was dissolved by Henry The 8th. and went to ruin. It was used by locals -some even built make shift homes in the ruins. It was 200 years later, in the 1700s, when it started to become a place of historical interest. It became popular with tourists, especially after the 4th Duke of Beaufort Charles Somerset took interest in the ruin and initiated steps to tidy it up.
It truly is a stunning building. One of the first things you see on entry are huge chunks of decorative stone under a tent, these were originally part the Pulpitium, which was in the main Church , and was sadly removed in the 1800s so tourists could have an interrupted view!
The next interesting part of the Abbey is the Warming House. This was on the only place in the monastery, apart from the kitchen and infirmary where a fire was permitted. This fine vaulted room was where the monks could come to warm their tired and cold bones
Below is what remains of the cloisters/ garden
The Chapter House in the below pictures was really quite cool. It would have been a very important and splendid chamber where the monks assembled each morning for a meeting about the various business of the monastery.
The most famous part of the Abbey is the ‘New’ Church. It measured 72m in overall in length. It really is quite stunning and the brick work is beautiful, apparently a mix of Cistercian austerity and sumptuous cathedral splendour. The surrounding lush green countryside gives the whole place a feeling of serenity.
After our walk around the building we found some benches and sat down to have our picnic and have a proper catch up.
So if you’re ever in South Wales, then Tintern Abbey/ Abaty Tyndyrn has to be in your top 10 places to visit. An absolute iconic place and the village itself is also really stunning, set along the River Wye.
I will leave you with this “Tintern Abbey in a bend of the Wye”, a painting by William Havell dated 1804; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford