Tintern, viewed from the south
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Tintern (Welsh : Tyndyrn) is a village in the community of Wye Valley, on the west bank of the River Wye in Monmouthshire, Wales, close to the border with England, about 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Chepstow. It is popular with tourists, in particular for the scenery and the ruined Tintern Abbey. Modern Tintern has been formed through the coalescence of two historic villages; Tintern Parva, forming the northern end of the village, and Chapel Hill, which forms the southern end. The village is designated as a Conservation Area.
In 2022 the community was renamed from "Tintern" to "Wye Valley" and had boundary changes.
A ford across the navigable and tidal River Wye was in use in Roman times, close to the site of the abbey. After the Romans withdrew from Wales, the kingdom of Gwent emerged, and, according to tradition, in the 6th century one of their kings, Tewdrig, came out of retirement as a Tintern hermit to defeat the invading Saxons in battle, perhaps at a site known today as Pont y Saison (Bridge of the Saxons) in the Angiddy Valley.The name Tintern may derive from the Welsh din + d/teyrn, meaning "rocks of the king".
Tintern Abbey was founded beside the river by Walter de Clare on 9 May 1131, during the reign of King Henry I. It was the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and its monks came from a daughter house of Cîteaux in France.
The present-day remains at Tintern are a mixture of building works covering several centuries. Between 1270 and 1301 the abbey was rebuilt, and when it was completed around four hundred monks lived in the complex. The abbey's land was divided into agricultural units or granges, and local people provided farm labour and served the abbey and its many visitors. For 400 years, it dominated the economy of its surrounding area. During some of this period the area was contested between the Welsh and English, the closest battle being won in 1404 by Owain Glyndŵr, at Craig y Dorth near Monmouth. The area also had to contend with the Black Death, and it is suspected that the neighbouring village of Penterry disappeared at that time. The abbey remained in operation until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536.
Though it has been suggested that the monks or lay brethren of Tintern Abbey exploited the woodlands and river power for operating iron forges, evidence of this is lacking. Industrial activity began in 1568 when the newly established Company of Mineral and Battery Works built a wireworks. It is possible that brass was made,but the works mainly made iron wire. This was used for a wide variety of industries with essential goods: cards for the woollen industry, nails, pins, knitting needles and fish hooks. The site was convenient, because the Wye offered transportation, the Angiddy stream provided water power, trees in nearby woods were used for charcoal fuel, and the locality provided a ready supply of minerals. The company began letting their works. Farmers of the works in the 17th century included Sir Basil Brooke, Thomas Foley, the important ironmaster and his son Thomas Foley. A blast furnace and forges were built in the valley in the 17th century and operated with the wireworks until the end of the 19th century.
For 300 years, the numerous works and forges along the Angidy Valley dominated the village and surrounding communities. A branch from the Wye Valley Railway to the Lower Wireworks by way of a bridge (the 'Wireworks Bridge') was completed in 1875, but too late to stop them going out of business. In 1878 a new company leased the site to manufacture tinplate although by 1895 it was reported as closed and only some ruins, associated ponds, leats and culverts are now visible.The bridge was used in the early 20th century as a horse-drawn tramway and now carries a tourist footpath to the opposite bank. In March 2021, discovery of an underground structure paralleling Angiddy Brook was initially thought to be a "secret medieval tunnel system". Subsequent investigation identified the structure as an original leat system for one of the "missing" mills associated with Tintern Abbey.
By the late 18th century, tourism had started in the Wye Valley, with many visitors travelling on the river to see the abbey and other "picturesque" sites in the area. William Wordsworth stayed in the village in 1798 and wrote Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey.The completion of the turnpike road (now the A466) in the valley in 1829, and the arrival of the Wye Valley Railway in the 1870s, greatly increased the number of visitors, and tourism became the mainstay of Tintern's economy and remains so today. The Royal George Hotel is one of several hotels, inns, and guest-houses located beside the main road.
Tintern Abbey was founded on 9 May 1131 by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow. It was the first Cistercian foundation in Wales, and only the second in Britain (after Waverley Abbey).
The abbey fell into ruin after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century. Its remains have been celebrated in poetry and painting from the 18th century onwards. In 1984, Cadw took over responsibility for managing the site. Tintern Abbey is visited by approximately 70,000 people every year.
The ruins of St. Mary's Church can also be seen on a hill to the west of the abbey. Medieval in origin, the church was virtually rebuilt in 1866-68 by John Prichard.While much of the church is still clearly visible today, a fire in 1977 left the building in ruins. The churchyard is now maintained by volunteers.
A disused water-driven mill lies in the Abbey Mill area northwest of the abbey.Visitor information and shops can be found close by.
The village also boasts an award-winning vineyard.
The former public house, The Moon and Sixpence, was originally known as the Mason's Arms, but changed its name in 1948 following a visit by Somerset Maugham, author of the 1919 novel of the same name.It has been converted into a group of three private houses.
The church of St Michael, Tintern Parva dates back to mediaeval times (a church on the site was recorded circa 1348). It was substantially rebuilt in 1846 (although pictorial records suggest it was relatively similar in appearance before and after the rebuilding) and has remained largely unchanged since. The south porch may date to the fifteenth century. The churchyard includes a variety of nineteenth century memorials, including one for John Loraine Baldwin, former warden of the abbey.
Tintern railway station was on the former Wye Valley Railway. From the north, approaching Tintern, immediately after Tintern Station the railway crossed the Wye to bypass the village on the other bank. Closed to passengers in 1959, the station, a mile's walk above Tintern, functions as a tourist centre.
Tintern is home to an extensive network of local footpaths, linking with two long-distance paths: On the Welsh side, the Wye Valley Walk passes nearby, and on the English side, the Offa's Dyke path is also near. The former wireworks railway bridge north of the abbey crosses the River Wye, and is open to the public. It leads - on the English side of the river - to several clearly marked walking paths, most notably a path to the "Devil's Pulpit", and other paths which also lead to Offa's Dyke.[ citation needed ]
The Wye Valley Walk is a long distance footpath in Wales and England following the course of the River Wye.
The River Wye is the fourth-longest river in the UK, stretching some 250 kilometres from its source on Plynlimon in mid Wales to the Severn estuary. For much of its length the river forms part of the border between England and Wales. The Wye Valley is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Wye is important for nature conservation and recreation, but is affected by pollution.
Tintern Abbey was founded on 9 May 1131 by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow. It is situated adjacent to the village of Tintern in Monmouthshire, on the Welsh bank of the River Wye, which at this location forms the border between Monmouthshire in Wales and Gloucestershire in England. It was the first Cistercian foundation in Wales, and only the second in Britain.
Chepstow is a town and community in Monmouthshire, Wales, adjoining the border with Gloucestershire, England. It is located on the tidal River Wye, about 2 miles (3 km) above its confluence with the River Severn, and adjoining the western end of the Severn Bridge. It is the easternmost settlement in Wales, situated 16 miles (26 km) east of Newport, 28 miles (45 km) east-northeast of Cardiff, 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Bristol and 110 miles (180 km) west of London.
Monmouthshire is a county in the south east of Wales. It borders Powys to the north; the English counties of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to the north and east; the Severn Estuary to the south, and Torfaen, Newport and Blaenau Gwent to the west. The largest town is Abergavenny, and the administrative centre is Usk.
Tidenham is a village and civil parish in the Forest of Dean of west Gloucestershire, England, adjoining the Welsh border. Tidenham is bounded by the River Wye to the west and the River Severn to the south. Offa's Dyke runs through the western part of the parish, terminating at Sedbury cliff above the River Severn.
The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an internationally important protected landscape straddling the border between England and Wales.
The A466, also known as the Wye Valley Road, is a road from Hereford, England to Chepstow, Wales via Monmouth, Tintern and the Wye Valley.
Devauden is a village and community in Monmouthshire, southeast Wales. It is located between Chepstow and Monmouth near the top of the Trellech ridge on the B4293 road. The community covers an area of 3,790 hectares (14.6 sq mi). The community includes the villages of Itton and Wolvesnewton, Llanfihangel-tor-y-mynydd and Newchurch.
St. Arvans is a village and community in Monmouthshire, south-east Wales. It is located two miles north west of Chepstow, close to Chepstow Racecourse, Piercefield House and the Wye Valley AONB. It is connected by a segregated bicycle path to the edge of Chepstow.
Whitebrook is a small village in Monmouthshire, south-east Wales, United Kingdom. It is located four miles south east of Monmouth in the Wye Valley.
Trelleck Grange is a small hamlet in a rural area of Monmouthshire, south east Wales, United Kingdom, about seven miles south of Monmouth.
Brockweir is a village in Hewelsfield and Brockweir civil parish, in the Forest of Dean District of Gloucestershire, England. The civil parish also includes the separate village of Hewelsfield.
Redbrook is a village in Gloucestershire, England, adjoining the border with Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located on the River Wye and is within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Wye Valley Railway was a standard gauge railway that ran for nearly 15 miles (24 km) along the Lower Wye Valley between the towns of Chepstow and Monmouth, crossing several times between Wales and England. Opened on 1 November 1876, it was leased to, and worked by, the Great Western Railway (GWR), before being fully absorbed by the GWR in 1905.
Penterry is a small rural parish of 479 acres (1.94 km2) in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located between the villages of St. Arvans and Tintern, about 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Chepstow, within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and about 2 miles (3.2 km) from the border with England. It now contains an isolated parish church adjoining the site of a deserted village, and a few farms.
The Tintern Wireworks Branch was a short branch line on the Wye Valley Railway, crossing the River Wye between Monmouthshire, Wales, and Gloucestershire, England. It was completed in 1874 and opened on 1 November 1876; the reason for the delay was that the Wye Valley Railway, into which the branch line fed, was not completed until the latter date. It closed in 1935 when the rails buckled in the heat of the summer.
Lancaut is a deserted village and former civil parish, now in the parish of Tidenham, in the Forest of Dean district, in Gloucestershire, England, located alongside the River Wye, around two miles north of Chepstow. It occupies a narrow-necked promontory formed by a curve of the river, which acts as the border between England and Wales. Little remains of the village today, except for the roofless church of St. James.
Monmouthshire is a county and principal area of Wales. It borders Torfaen and Newport to the west; Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to the east; and Powys to the north. The largest town is Abergavenny, with the other major towns being Chepstow, Monmouth, and Usk. The county is 850 km2 in extent, with a population of 95,200 as of 2020. The present county was formed under the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994, which came into effect in 1996, and comprises some sixty percent of the historic county. Between 1974 and 1996, the county was known by the ancient title of Gwent, recalling the medieval Welsh kingdom. In his essay on local government in the fifth and final volume of the Gwent County History, Robert McCloy suggests that the governance of "no county in the United Kingdom in the twentieth century was so transformed as that of Monmouthshire".
The Wyndcliff or Wynd Cliff is a steep limestone cliff rising above the western bank of the River Wye in Monmouthshire, Wales, some 1 mile (1.6 km) north-east of the village of St Arvans, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) south of Tintern, and 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north of the town of Chepstow, within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The cliff rises to 771 feet (235 m) at its summit, the highest point on the Monmouthshire bank of the Wye. The area is traversed by the Wye Valley Walk, and is also a popular venue for rock climbing. Access is provided by the A466 road which passes along the valley immediately below the cliff face.
None of the structures described, except for the Scheduled Monument, Tintern Furnace Site, are open to public access and all excavated structures to date have been recorded and backfilled for preservation.