The appeal of this exceptional Cistercian abbey remains as enduring as ever. An area of outstanding beauty complemented by this outstanding beauty in stone. If only the walls could talk! The chants of countless monks echo through the masonry here. Despite the shell of this grand structure being open to the skies, it remains the best-preserved medieval abbey in Wales. Although the abbey church was rebuilt under the patronage of Roger Bigod, lord of nearby Chepstow Castle, in the late 13th century, the monastery retains its original design.
Tintern was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales. The present-day remains are a mixture of building works covering a 400-year period between 1131 and 1536. Very little remains of the first buildings but you will marvel at the vast windows and later decorative details displayed in the walls, doorways and soaring archways.
The lands of the abbey were divided into agricultural units or granges, worked on by lay brothers. On September 3, 1536 Abbot Wyche surrendered Tintern Abbey to King Henry VIII’s officials and ended a way of life which had lasted 400 years.
There’s a lot still going on at Tintern Abbey 500 years on! A major two-year programme of conservation work has been completed on the iconic 13th-century west front – one of the great glories of Gothic architecture in Britain. The statue of Our Lady of Tintern is installed in the south aisle of the abbey for all to see.