Monday, 25 February 2008

Terrific Tintern

Tintern Abbey today is a ruin,
in the beautiful Wye valley in south east Wales,
close to the English border...

It once was a place of worship
and a living 'village' full of monks.

It was built on a grand scale,
but fell into disrepair following the
dissolution of monasteries by Henry VIII in 1536.

Today is is a tourist attraction, partly because of its grandeur,
partly because of it's location in a magnificent setting.

Some of the stonework is being replaced.
The renewed stone gives you much more of an idea of

how beautiful it must have looked when it was built.

The stone used for the carved areas is much softer
(and easier to carve) than the stone used for walls,
but this means it weathers and loses the detail
eventually wears thin enough
in places to lose
it's strength.

A carved piece which probably formed part of a vaulted ceiling.
There were similar pieces nearby,
with different designs.

Near the gift shop there is a display of many
pieces of carved stone
which all originally came
from a screened carved 'wall' within the Abbey.

Maybe one day they will put all the pieces together
and renew the missing parts.

The main doors leading into the Abbey. A smaller door has been cut into the large door on the left, as the large doors were too big and heavy to open on an everyday basis.

The same doors from the inside

Tintern Abbey is absolutely enormous.
If you click on the image above,
you will see a human wearing a blue coat.

She will give you an idea of the
scale of the remains of the Abbey.

JMW Turner thought it beautiful enough to paint it in the late 1700s:

and around the same time,
William Wordsworth found it inspiring and wrote a poem:

This window is massive, and stunning.
Imagine how beautiful it must have been,
with stained glass panels, and the light streaming through,
it must have made the interior space dance with colour.

Ye olde serving hatch!

This is where the monks
washed (left) and stored (right) the dishes.

A view through some unrenovated windows

Oh, I just had to take another picture through a window.
I find them fascinating.
It must be symbolic of something,
but I don't know what it means!!!!

Friday, 22 February 2008

I'm honoured!

My friend Carol Sweeney:

has nominated this blog for an excellence award.

I feel honoured, and I am glad Carol
enjoys visiting enough to have nominated me!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Montgomery Castle/Castell Trefaldwyn

Montgomery castle was built in the 1200s, was pretty much a ruin in the 1300s, and was refurbished in the 1500s. A grand house was built on the site in the early 1600s, and it was siezed after a big battle in the civil war in the 1600s, and then ordered demolished in 1649.

The ruins were excavated in the 1960s, and what you see today is what remains of the castle:

The 'grand entrance', with the remains of the two towers
that would have dominated and protected the entrance.

A panoramic view of the main castle remains

The castle remains from the ditch below

A misty winter view of Montgomery town from the castle

There is an aerial view of the castle and surrounding area here:

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Strata Florida Abbey, Wales

Strata Florida Abbey/Abaty Ystrad Fflur
is in the wilds of Ceredigion,
near Pontrhydfendigaid
(try saying that without spitting your fal
se teeth out!!!)

The abbey, built by Cistercian monks,
was visited by Gerald of Wales in 1188

This is a very splendidly carved arch - but
all the carving is on the exterior face,
the interior face is quite plain.

Little remains of the Abbey,
but there is a collection of beautiful floor tiles
housed in this structure,
which gives them some protection from the weather.

Some of the tiles,
made almost 1000 years ago,
are shown below.

Monday, 18 February 2008

White Castle, Monmouthshire, Wales

Not such a beautiful day to take photographs -
and the dull skies make the castle look a little grim!
This castle is along a country lane
about 7 or 8 miles from Abergavenny,
and is perched on a hilltop (like many other castles).
The views must be stunning on a clear day.

Here is the entrance - two large defensive towers
and a nice archway,
accessed over a modern bridge over the moat - there
once would have been a drawbridge, of course.

An arrowloop - good for shooting arrows out of,
hard to shoot arrows into,
and therefore protecting the archer.

A view of the curtain wall (the outside wall) of the castle,
where you can see two of the towers.

There's not much left of the insides of the castle.

The views from the top of the tower
are stunning - but not very clear on this glum day.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Skenfrith, Wales

Skenfrith is a beautiful small village between Abergavenny & Monmouth. In addition to a ruined castle and wonderful church, there are some interesting old houses, and 'The Bell at Skenfrith' - a fabulous pub restaurant in which to eat superb food!

Here are some pictures of parts the castle:

I have no idea what this feature once was!

The remains of an old fireplace.

A window, with some of the original
13th century ironwork still in place.

The watergate, in the plain high walls,
leading to the nearby river
(viewed from the river side).

Inside the tower - you can clearly see the square holes in the walls, where big wooden beams once rested, supporting the wooden floor of a room.

The tower itself.
Not much of the castle remains,
other than the tower and the external walls.

Below are some pictures of old gravestones in Skenfrith churchyard - they may have fallen over as the years have passed, and now they are positioned against the churchyard wall:

This is an interesting window,
in a wooden 'lean to' extension or garage
on the side of one of the houses

A beautiful original door in one of the village's old houses

One of the church windows

The beautiful church tower.

If you want to know more about Skenfrith castle, look here:

and more about the Bell at Skenfrith:

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Grosmont Castle

Grosmont Castle is near Abergavenny, Wales.

Once upon a time it must have been a spectacular sight.

If you want to know more about the castle
and it's history, here is a link:

The walls remain quite high,
but it is not easy to work out what was where.

It was a very misty winter's day today,
but the setting is quite beautiful.

This is what's left of a 700 year old
chimney - and it's still pretty impressive!