In the Vale of Ewyas and surrounded by gangs of hills you’ll find the haunting ruins of medieval man’s devotion to God and spirituality - Llanthony Priory.

Now is a state of slow decay and but a withered shadow of its former glory, the stone remains still stands as an evocative and beautiful reminder of what once was.

The story begins in the early 12th century when a rich nobleman called William de Lacy was out hunting. A sudden and fierce downpour brought a premature end to that day’s bloodsport and he was forced to take shelter from the storm in the broken-down remains of the Celtic chapel of St David.

Whilst ruminating on missed opportunities and the transitory nature of time our hero of the hour was suddenly gripped by an overwhelming religious devotion and decided then and there to establish a priory on that exact spot.

Being a man of means this was no pipe dream for William and by 1108 there was a small church and a community of Augustinian monks flourishing on the site.

Llanthony Priory
(Tindle News)

The monks who were mainly English, aggravated the natives somewhat, and repeated attacks on the religious community led to them fleeing to the safety of Hereford and Gloucester as their home was destroyed and the land reclaimed.

Fast forward to the 13th Century and the Prior was re-established and rebuilt in a grandiose fashion. The imposing archways and elegant windows you see today all date from this period.

Yet the Priory’s existence triggered further turbulence when Prince Owain Glyndwr attacked in the 15th century.

It was ultimately King Henry VIII who did what the great Prince could not. The Priory was reduced to ruins and left to crumble under the Dissolution of the Monasteries Act.

After decades of decay, the land was purchased by the poet Walter Savage Landor in 1807. Savage wanted to establish a magnificent and memorable estate. He failed in his task and moved to Spain instead.

Cadw now owns the site and the Llanthony Priory Hotel is nestled amongst the ruins of a building well worth a visit.

Llanthony Priory
(Tindle News)