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Rumoured to be the Tomb of Llywelynthe the last Welsh Prince
The Abbey Ruins
The Abbey Ruins
The Abbey Ruins

The Abbey was built by Cistercian monks (often called the White Monks because of their white habit) and its proximity to the Clywedog Brook enabled the monks to construct fisheries, run mills and obtain water for their dwellings.  Although it is possible that the Abbey was never finished, its 242 ft (74.5m) long nave has been surpassed by only two other churches in Britain, the cathedrals of Durham and Winchester. 

The Abbey enjoyed mixed fortunes between its foundation in 1176 and its dissolution under Henry VIII in 1535 when the monks quietly dispersed.  Depending on the ruling monarch (both Welsh and English), the Abbey either suffered oppression and retribution or  basked in their patronage.  When Queen Elizabeth I granted a licence for the transfer of the Abbey lands in 1539 to William Fowler, he used the stones of the Abbey to build himself a new mansion house in 1650 after the storming and destruction of the Abbey in 1644. 

The last remains were cleared down to floor level in 1827 by Thomas Wilson, during which human bones, painted glass, coins and other finds were made.  A stone 13th century coffin lid was discovered in the nave bearing an inscription which, when roughly translated, means ‘Here lies Mabli to whom God be merciful’.   Nobody knows who Mabli was and the stone is now in the west end of the nave of the Parish church. 

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Cistercian monk