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Neath Abbey

Visited July 2023

Location Neath, Glamorgan
Entrance Fee No 
Railway Station Nearby Skewen- 2.5miles
Parking Yes
Facilities None
Map

 

One of the most important abbeys at Wales at the time, Neath Abbey was founded in 1130 by Richard Granville, who was also responsible for rebuilding Neath Castle in stone. The two sites can be visited very easily on the same day.

 


 

 


Review

 

The site is free and unmanned, and has audio guides sited around the ruins, which tell the history of the abbey as you move around the different parts.

 

The abbey housed about fifty monks in its heyday, and also an amount of lay brothers who lived on site and helped with the agricultural and manual work but did not take holy orders. The abbey grew rich and owned much land, which put it into dispute with nearby Margam Abbey. So much for setting an example for a peaceful monastic life!

 

 


 

 


 

The abbey became so popular it had to be enlarged, and this was done in the 13th and 14th centuries. The undercroft (which still remains but was closed the day we were there) dates from around this time, and the abbey church was also remodelled as part of this rebuild. The remains of the church are still extensive today so the scale of it is easy to make out.

 

After the abbey was dissolved it was turned into a residential home by the new owner Sir Richard Williams. The buildings still have the window frames which are clearly secular in comparison to the religious buildings they were blended together with.

 

During the 17th century the site started to be used for industrial purposes like copper smelting, and buildings associated with this were added. The area around it also became industrialised, and remains so to this day, which is a bit of a shame as although the abbey site was cleared of the smelting works in the 20th century, the modern day visitor still has to travel into the heart of an industrial estate to view the ruins.

 


 

 


 

There are no facilities here at all but a large Tesco with cafe and toilets is not far away. There is also precious little shelter from the rain on site, so take an umbrella just in case. The unpredictable British weather meant we saw the site in both glorious sunshine and pouring rain on the same visit!

 


 

 


 

More info:  CADW Neath Abbey

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