About Llanthony Priory (Cadw)
If there’s a better religious site ‘truly suited to the monastic life… in a wilderness far removed from the bustle of mankind’ we’d like to know. Those were the words of Giraldus Cambrensis, Gerald of Wales, the 12th-century traveller and chronicler. Remote Llanthony, locked away in a dramatic location in the Vale of Ewyas beneath the brooding borderland Black Mountains that rise abruptly from this evocative ruin, still radiates that spirit of isolation and contemplation.
Norman knight William de Lacy founded a hermitage here when he – untypical of the times – abandoned war and embraced religion. By 1118 Llanthony had become a monastery of Augustinian canons, which continued until it was suppressed in 1539.
Although now a 900-year-old ruin, it’s easy to see from these extensive remains that Llanthony was one of Wales’s great medieval buildings. In particular, its former magnificence lives on in the surviving richly decorated red stonework and superb row of pointed archways, which frame a scene that has changed little since de Lacy’s times.