by  • February 7, 2013 • Abbey, Medieval, Modern, Pembrokeshire, Period, Post-Medieval, Site Type, St. Dogmaels • 0 Comments


    1113 – Robert fitz Martin, Lord of Cemais, founded a Priory “…near the ancient cell of St. Dogmael…” He brought thirteen monks from Tiron in Normandy for that purpose. The reformed Benedictine Order of Tiron was founded that year by St. Bernard of Abbeville.

    1118 – Robert fitz Martin brought another thirteen monks from Tiron, with permission to raise the Priory to Abbey status.

    B&W illustration of the oval Medieval seal of the Abbey of St. Dogmaels, showing the Virgin and Holy Child

    Medieval Seal of the Abbey of St. Dogmaels (author’s collection)

    1121 – Formal establishment took place on 10th September, when Fulchard was installed as the first Abbot. Extensive estates in Cemais and elsewhere were granted by Robert fitz Martin, including Caldey Island.

    1138 – A fleet of fifteen ships carrying Danish mercenaries attacked the abbey, having failed to capture Cardigan Castle. They carried away much booty. One Hubert was then the Abbot.

    1148 – By this date Bernard, Bishop of St. David’s, had granted to the Abbey Hugh de Fossar’s donation of Lisprant.

    1150 – A major building programme was underway at the Abbey from 1150-53, probably due to the raid of 1138.

    1161 – Abbot Richard was in charge.

    1165 – Abbot Walter presided.

    1188 – Abbot Andrew entertained Gerald de Barri (Geraldus Cambrensis) and Archbishop Baldwin here when they visited, recruiting for the Third Crusade.

    1198 – In September Walter, the illiterate Abbot, was nominated as a candidate for Bishop of St. David’s.

    1199 – Abbot Walter was elected Bishop of St. David’s in December.

    1201 – On 23rd June Abbot Walter was ordered to hand over “…the houses and lands belonging to the bishopric…” On 27th July Reginal Foliot, proctor of St. Dogmaels, was almost excommunicated for misleading the Church regarding the abilities of the Abbot. Later in the year, Walter had to account for himself.

    1202 – On 10th April King John gave his written support to Abbot Walter’s candidacy as Bishop.

    1203 – The Pope rejected Abbot Walter as a candidate to be Bishop of St. David’s.

    1242 – Attempted encroachments upon the Abbey lands by Cardigan burgesses were repulsed by the monks.

    1246 – The King gave a gift of twenty marks to the Abbot and convent “…for the fabric of their church…”

    1253 – The monks were assigned the Parish Church of St. Thomas at St. Dogmaels, following the death of the Rector. On 18th January Richard, Bishop of St. David’s, visited the Abbey.

    1280 – Abbot Hubert was in charge.

    1290 – The Abbey grants and charter were confirmed.

    1291 – The abbey was valued at £58. 11s. 4d.

    1292 – The Abbey donated £28 towards the Crusades.

    1296 – The Abbot petitioned the King for permission, in view of damages sustained during Edward I ‘s local Welsh campaign, to receive a gift of 11s. worth of rent annually from a Cardigan property belonging to Elena, wife of Henry Brazon. Permission was granted.

    1302 – Abbot John was in charge.

    1317 – The Abbot complained about the levying of excessive taxes, which he was unable to pay the following year.

    1320 – The Abbot accepted a grant of Llandeilo, Llangolman and Maenclochog churches without first seeking Royal consent. Fortunately for him, the King granted the gift.

    1325 – The Abbey held a Knight’s Fee called “Cassia” and half of the Knight’s Fee of “Keven Chymwyrth“.

    1328 – Abbot John le Rede died before 1st May.

    The remains of the rubble stone infirmary chapel of the early 14th Century

    The remains of the 14th Century Infirmary Chapel (c) Glen K Johnson

    1345 – Cwm Cerwyn in the Preseli Hills was referred to as part of the Abbey estate.

    1354 – In February Abbot David was in charge.

    1364 – By June until at least August 1376 Abbot John presided at St. Dogmaels.

    1388 – On 4th May the Archbishop of Canterbury was scheduled to visit.

    1399 – In October until at least 1415 Philip Fader was the Abbot.

    1402 – On 14th January Guy, Bishop of St. David’s wrote to the Abbot regarding his visitations to the Abbey on 7th and 10th January. The letter noted that only three monks were resident, “…consuming the sustenance of a very large number, to the manifest withdrawal of divine worship…” He ordered the Abbot to increase their numbers to at least nine. He criticised the drunkenness of the monks, particularly brother Howel Lange. Women suspected of illicit liaisons with the monks were ordered to be removed from the village. Brother David Lloyd, who had left the Abbey altogether, was to be persuaded to return to his calling.

    1404 – Rice ap Gwilym became the Proctor of St. Dogmaels Abbey.

    1405 – On the 14th April Brother John Llanglofan became a subdeacon and brother John Lampeter was ordained a priest – both were monks here.

    1406 – On 22nd June the King demanded 6s. 8d. from Abbot Philip.

    1408 – On 18th January at a ceremony held at the Abbey in the presence of Abbot Philip, the Bishop made Roger de Botall Archdeacon of Cardigan, and Robert Hoper, Vicar Choral of the Abbey, was made his Proctor.

    1409 – Brother Philip Nicholle, monk, became a Deacon, and was granted letters dismissary by the Bishop.

    1417 – Royal letters pardoned the Abbot and monks of any former transgressions and confirmed their privileges.

    1418 – John Tor was the Abbot.

    1429 – Abbot Walter presided over the Abbey.

    1438 – Patrick Occurryn, monk, was dispatched here.

    1457 – By January until at least June 1463, Abbot John was in charge.

    1469 – Abbot Philip presided.

    1472 – Abbot Philip presented St. Thomas’ Church, St. Dogmaels, to John Davy, Vicar.

    1486 – Hugh ap Thomas ap Henry became a Deacon and David ap Thomas Lloyd became a Subdeacon – both were monks here.

    1487 – David Luce was the Prior, and brother David Lloyd was ordained a priest. On 5th April, following the death of Abbot Hugh ap Owen, Lewis David, one of the monks, was elected to take his place. Master Thomas ap Howell read a certificate on the occasion.

    1488 – On 31st May Roderic ap David, monk, became a Deacon.

    1489 – On 13th October David Luce (Prior in 1487) was granted a dispensation for having been born the son of a religious man and a single woman, as was Nicholas William. Thomas David became a Deacon, John Phillips became a Subdeacon and Roderic ap David, a priest. All of these were monks of the Abbey.

    1490 – William Gutter became a Priest, and Maurice ap Adam and Philip Mendoss became Subdeacons. All were monks here.

    1491 – John ap Renold, an illegitimate child recently granted dispensation, became a Priest, as did Maurice ap Adam, Griffin ap Ris and Phillip Mendos. Maurice ap Griffith became a Deacon. All of these were monks of the Abbey.

    1492 – David ap Howell, monk, became a Subdeacon.

    1493 – Geoffrey ap John, Philip ap Gwilym, Richard ap John, David ap Howell and John Vechan, all monks of the Abbey, were ordained priests.

    1496 – Philip ap Gruffydd ap Ieuan ap Meryck, William May, David Philip, Thomas Harres and William Griffith, all monks of the Abbey, became Subdeacons.

    1497 – Thomas Johannys, monk, became a Subdeacon

    1498 – John Griffith, monk of St. Dogmaels, became a Subdeacon.

    The North Transept of ca.1500 survives to almost full height with a large arched-headed window to each outer wall, and large external corner buttresses

    The North Transept was rebuilt ca.1500.

    1502 – John ap Res and Lewis Robert became Deacons, David John and John David became Subdeacons and Geoffrey ap David, Owin ap William Watkyn and Philip ap Res became Priests – all of these men were monks of St. Dogmaels Abbey.

    1503 – Hugh Lewis and David John became Deacons, William ap Thomas Lloyd and William Philip became Subdeacons and John Davy and Lewis Robert were ordained Priests. All of these were monks of the Abbey.

    1504 – On 16th July the Bishop of St. David’s visited, and found an Abbot and six monks resident. The Chancel and North Transept had recently been elaborately restored. “…All of the brethren were of good and honest conversation and obedient at their free will…” Lewis Baron was the Abbot, the other monks being Philip, Thomas Jevan, William Griffith, Thomas Baron, David and “…John Howell, precentor of the Cathedral Church of St. Dogmells…”

    1513 – The Abbot collected the King’s tithes, from which the abbey was exempt.

    1517 – The Abbot acted as a collector of the King’s Tenths, from which the Abbey was exempt, due to “…the excessive poverty and ruinous state of the said monastery…”

    1520 – William Hire became the Abbot until 1537, replacing the late John Wogan.

    1534 – On 30th July the monks signed the Act of Supremacy, accepting Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church in England. William Hire was the Abbot, the other monks were Hugh Eynon, Robert Thomas, Philip Griffith, John David, William Bonne, David William, Lewis Lawrence and David. The document carried the seal of the Abbey. Valuations of the estates were conducted.

    1536 – At the beginning of the year, eight monks and an Abbot, with six servants were resident, the Abbey valued at £200 per annum.

    1537 – For the period 29th September 1536 to 24th February 1537 there were four monks resident, earning total wages of £3.13s.4d. . Six yeomen and one hind were the servants, wages for the yeomen totalling £3, and 6s.8d. for the hind. Total expenditure was £18.5s. Yearly value was £87. The last Abbot, William Hire, was pensioned off for twenty marks (£13.6s.8d.) at the Dissolution. In 1537 the Abbey was valued at £87.8s.6d. Rentals and tithes were valued at £140. 8s. 8 ½ d. The Abbey closed and was sold with its’ estates to John Bradshaw of Presteign for £512.

    1538 – John Bradshaw pulled down much of the Abbey, and built himself a mansion there, completed circa 1543, where he and his descendants lived for over a century.

    1543 – Until 1567 John Bradshaw lived here.

    1544 – Henry VIII granted John Bradshaw a charter, confirming possession for himself and his heirs.

    1567 – On 23rd July Queen Elizabeth I confirmed possession of the Abbey and parts of the estates to John Bradshaw. Upon his death in September the estate passed to his sons, William and James Bradshaw.

    1570 – James a.k.a. John Bradshaw was the Sheriff of Pembrokeshire.

    1579 – On 16th December Queen Elizabeth confirmed possession to William and James Bradshaw.

    Broken memorial stone dated 1588 comemorating James Bradshaw of the Abbey.

    Memorial stone to James Bradshaw (c) Glen K Johnson, 2011

    1588 – On 31st May James Bradshaw died aged 59, and was buried in the Abbey burial ground, although his memorial stone was discovered set into the floor of St. Thomas’ Church. His widow later married Edmund Winstanley, Sheriff of Pembrokeshire in 1591.

    1592 – In July the estate was re-granted to William & Elizabeth Bradshaw and their son, Edmund.

    1604 – In March William Bradshaw became M P for the Borough of Cardigan.

    1613 – On 13th April 1613 William Bradshaw became a Justice of the Peace for Pembrokeshire.

    1614 – Alban Owen of Henllys married Joan Bradshaw. They had a house in the parish.

    1643 – John and Edward Bradshaw, both Captains in the army, were captured at Pill, thus ending their family’s connections to the Abbey.

    1646 – David Parry of Noyadd Trefawr, Llandygwydd, bought the estate. It is possible that the Abbey mansion was not reoccupied.

    1648 – Following David Parry’s death, the Abbey passed to his son.

    1670 – Thomas Parry was assessed at 6 hearths for the hearth tax – this may have been for the Bradshaw mansion.

    1695 – William Gambold wrote to Edward Lhuyd describing the Sagranus Stone, which then stood amongst the ruins of the Abbey.

    1716 – On 8th May a house “…attached to the Cloyster…” was leased by Stephen Parry of Noyadd Trefawr to William Davies of Parcypratt.

    1719 – On 23rd November Stephen Parry granted to William Davies a piece of land called Isingrug, a slang called Ardd Vaiene and a plot – the whole called Cloyster. Reference was also made to the building of a new house there.

    1720 –On 5th April reference was made in a lease to “…the late dissolved abbey in St. Dogmells, its site with house thereon…” The lease referred to the property called ‘Cloyster’.

    1740 – The Buck brothers produced an engraving of the ruins, which appears fairly accurate.

    1768 – Reference was made to “…all that Messuage or Tenement, with the Appurtenances, situate, lying and being near the Isungrig, and Garden on the other Side of the Common Pound, and a Vault under the Abby, with the Appurtenances; then or then late in the Tenure or Occupation of Thomas Davis, who married Eleanor JamesAlso all that other Messuage or Tenement on the Isungrig, with the Appurtenances, commonly called or known by the Name of the Cloyster, (but then converted into many Dwelling Houses, with a Stable, divers Gardens, and Slang, Piece or Parcel of Land or Ground, known by the Name of Yr Ardd Vaiene, all of which said premises were held in Fee Farm, granted by Stephen Parry to William Davies, and were formerly in the Tenure or Occupation of Margaret Davies, Widow, but then or then late of Thomas Morris…”

    1779 – On 12th October “…The Abby, Vaults, Cottage, and Garden thereunto belonging, in the Possession of Anne Lewis…” were sold by auction as part of the former Plas Newydd estate, being sold off by the Noyadd Trefawr estate.

    1787 – David Evan Lewis lived at the Abbey with his wife.

    1793 – Sir Richard Colt-Hoare visited the ruins and made a painting of them. The same year H P Wyndham described “…the dirty village of St. Dogmael wherin most of the abbey buildings had been converted to private use…”

    Pretty colour engraving showing the North Transept of the Abbey abd a portion of the parish church.

    Colour engraving of the N Transept of St. Dogmaels Abbey by Henry Gastineau, ca. 1797

    1804 – Anne John and the widow of David Evan Lewis lived at the Abbey.

    1812 – Until 1833 David Lewis lived at “Rabby” – presumably here.

    1815 – The infirmary was in use as a barn.

    1818 – On November 20th Margaret Lewis of the Abbey was buried at St Dogmaels having died aged 20.

    1819 – On February 2nd William Hughes of the Abbey was buried at St Dogmaels having died aged 24. On March 20th Frances Davies of the Abbey was buried at St Dogmaels having died aged 2. Thomas Williams of the Abbey, mason, died aged 33.

    1820 – On November 9th 1820 John Lewis, illegitimate son of John Lewis, mariner of the Abbey and Ruth George of Singrug, widow, was baptized by the Vicar of St Dogmaels.

    1821 – On October 24th Elizabeth Herbert of the Abbey was buried at St Dogmaels having died aged 36.

    1823 – On December 7th William Hugh of the Abbey was buried at St Dogmaels having died aged 72.

    1830 – On 14th December 1830 George, son of William & Mary Lewis of the Abbey, was baptized by the Vicar of St Dogmaels.

    1831 – Samuel Leigh, in his ‘Guide to South Wales & Monmouthshire’, states “…There are but few remains of the building and these have been converted into barns and sheds and into a chapel for the accommodation of the neighbourhood…”

    1832 – On 20th January John Griffith of the Abbey was buried at St Dogmaels having died aged 63. On 2nd May Margaret Jenkin of the Abbey was buried at St Dogmaels having died aged 7.

    1833 – On February 17th David, son of William & Mary Lewis of the Abbey, was baptised by the Vicar of St Dogmaels. Rev. Henry James Vincent purchased the ruins from the Noyadd Trefawr estate.

    1835 – On June 6th David Lewis of the Abbey was buried at St Dogmaels having died aged 84. On 4th October David, son of William & Mary Lewis of the Abbey, was baptised by the Vicar of St Dogmaels.

    1838 – The Tithe Map shows a row of cottages linking the infirmary with the North Transept – the property known as ‘Cloyster’. The infirmary, formerly called ‘the refectory’, was still in use as a barn.

    1845 – On May 30th 1845 Ann Evan of the Abbey was buried at St Dogmaels having died aged 84.

    1846 – On April 2nd 1846 Frances Griffiths of the Abbey was buried at St Dogmaels, having died aged 80.

    1853 – Reference was made to “…some of the old tomb-stones recently dug out of the ruins of St. Dogmaels Abbey formed of this stone [green porphyritic], which, although very hard, is capable of being sawn, and takes a good polish. It is almost as fine as the foreign verd-antique, but the ground is not quite so green…”

    1859 – The Cambrian Archaeological Association visited on 19th August and described the ruins, which were then well maintained, and the various stones and monuments there.

    1865 – Rev. Henry James Vincent died.

    1866 – Stone was quarried from the Abbey ruins for building a new Vicarage and Coach-house.

    1872 – On 13th May John Vincent sold the new buildings and the Abbey ruins to the Church for £2400.

    1886 – The Vicar dismantled part of an old building at the Abbey, in the centre of the vicarage orchard, which measured c.45ft by 30ft. The walls were about 25 ft high, except for the north wall, which was missing. Also standing nearby before this date, were two pillars of wall, c.10-12ft long and 25 ft high – part of another building, plus a low wall linking this with the aforementioned building. The Vicar sold the stone for building Abbey Forge and Cardigan’s “Ship & Bonded Stores”.

    1887 – Supposedly to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, the Vicar built himself a new retaining wall at the Vicarage, decorated with carved stones, all of which he had quarried from the Abbey ruins.

    1888 – On 23rd November the Vicar was accused of destroying an archway and other features near the crypt, in order to obtain stone to sell for cash, for his own profit. He denied the accusations, and referred to a subterranean passage there which was blocked in 1866 or 1867.

    1892 – On 5th August John Edwards of Church Street offered £25 to anybody who could show him a flight of steps and portion of a building here, which had been plainly visible before the Vicar quarried them.

    1901 – By 18th January Rev. J Myfenydd Morgan, Vicar of the parish, had located some 12th Century documents relating to the Abbey.

    1906 – An early Christian incised stone found at Manian in 1904, was moved here for safety.

    1908 – Emily Pritchard’s “The History of St. Dogmaels Abbey” was published.

    1915 – On 12th November more pre-Norman inscribed stones were found in the Vicarage grounds.

    1917 – Herbert Millingchamp Vaughan wrote an article about the Abbey.

    1934 – On 23rd March H M Office of Works was considering restoring the Abbey ruins. The Representative Body of the Church in Wales had placed the ruins into the hands of the Commission of Works earlier in the year.

    1947 – In October consolidation and excavation commenced.

    1959 – By 2nd October an old oven had been unearthed during excavations.

    1986 – The first ‘Shakespeare in the Abbey’ production was staged.

    1989 – Some repairs were conducted.

    1992 – A geophysical survey was conducted within the present perimeter. It concluded that “…a complex of walls and/or stone capped drains has been identified to the south of the abbey, together with possible evidence of a former boundary to the ecclesiastic remains. The results from the east of the abbey are more difficult to interpret, but a few features of possible archaeological interest have been located…

    St. Dogmaels Abbey seen from Ffordd y Cwm

    General view of the Abbey site in June 2003 (c) Glen K Johnson

    2006 – On 3rd July H R H Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited the site.

    2008 – The conversion of the former Coach House into a visitor’s centre, which opened in June (Official Opening by M. P. Rhodri Morgan on 11th September) had a major impact on the monument’s visitors.

    2011 – In May a medieval carved stone head, possibly originally from the Abbey, was returned from Clynfiew, Boncath.

    © Glen K Johnson 2012


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