Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Talley Abbey and Progress "Front of House"

We had to take the car in for its MoT yesterday (I'm relieved to say it passed) and on the way home we stopped at Talley Abbey for a stroll around. It was home to the "White Canons" - the Premonstratensians - an Order started in 1120 and spreading rapidly,and by the mid-1400s there were some 1100 monasteries for men and 400 for women. This particular Abbey was formed by Rhys ap Gruffydd around 1185. He was, of course, associated with Dinefwr Castle 6 miles away at Llandeilo. Llandeilo had been the focus of the religious community prior to the foundation of Talley.

From the Wikipedia entry: As with many village communities, it was well populated in the Victorian period, as described by Lewis:

TALLEY, otherwise TÀL-Y-LLYCHAU, a parish, in the union of LLANDILO-VAWR, lower division of the hundred of CAYO, county of CARMARTHEN, SOUTH WALES, 7 1/2 miles (N.) from Llandilo-Vawr: containing 1068 inhabitants, of whom 418 are in the Lower, and 650 in the Upper, division. This place, of which the name, signifying "the head of the lakes," is derived from two large pools, near the church, of about fifty acres in extent, was originally of much greater importance than at present, and the seat of one of the most extensive and venerable ecclesiastical establishments in this part of the principality. The parish . . . comprises by admeasurement 7167 a. 2 r. 19 p., of which the arable proportion may consist of about two-thirds in relation to the pasture, and nearly 200 acres are woodland, and 290 a. 8 p. a common. The surface displays a continued succession of hill and dale, sideland and mountain top, and is rather woody . . . The seat, Edwinsford, stands in the north-west on the confines of the parish, of about half of which the owner of the house is the landed proprietor . . . The church, dedicated to St. Michael, having fallen into decay, was rebuilt in the Grecian style, in 1773 . . . principally from the ruins of the ancient abbey . . . There are places of worship for Baptists and Calvinistic Methodists . . . In the parish are two day schools . . . There are also three Sunday schools . . . [From A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (S. Lewis, 1844).]

All that remains of the once-great Abbey.

Stone commemorating the members of Edwinsford, the local Big House.

I noticed a "Bonsai" Yew tree growing from the ruined wall.

Looking across the churchyard.

Such a peaceful final resting place.

The pretty church is surrounded, like many churches, by a circle of Yew trees.

Looking across the beautiful lake, which of course would have provided fish for the White Canons.

If we'd had more time we would have walked right around the lake.

There were two Alpacas (?) in a field nearby. How could I not notice I had taken a photo of a weeing Camalid?!!!

The road home - I was trying to capture the light on this hillside, silvery from dew, but it didn't show up.

Above - the other side of the driveway has been tidied up and planted with Primulas and Dwarf Irises, and I will add some Aquilegieas shortly. It all looks a bit bare yet, but it should look better by mid-Summer.

Yesterday I got the new fence out front painted, and it looks NEW (if you ignore the bits that Fahly, my Arab horse, chomped! He was partial to a bit of wood . . .) Now I can start planting it up a bit more - so far it has 3 x Foxgloves, 3 x rambler rose - probably "Seagull" - and a well-grown Honeysuckle. WHEN we have finally tracked down the bucket with the fencing pliars in it, we can remove the loop of barbed wire currently half-buried in the ground, and then I can clear around the mound of shale beneath it and plant something there too.


  1. Oh your front sounds like mine, old fenc collapsed and grown over with ivy, old angle iron to be dug up and concrete removed, before we can get any plants in.
    Yours is coming on well, it's sure to be a lovely natural show when its all in flower.

  2. Spring looks to be coming to your part of the world too. I love these old abbeys - we have a few round here and you feel you are walking in old footsteps.

  3. A stunning photo of the abbey, still standing proudly after so many centuries. That looks a very interesting place to walk and explore.