Friday, October 24, 2008

Second Milennium in Monmouthshire/Gwent

I have been very busy recently and am off to Cornwall on Sunday and will be visiting various site in Cornwall and will be posting from there. There has been an enormous calamity with my camera, which has not produced very good pictures of late and have now upgraded to a very god one, which is great and I hope to have some good pictures next week.

Same with the podcasting. I work most days and have not the time for frequent podcasting as we are shortly anyway to move into the second Milennium of the Church's Sory in Monmouthshire. Also I am compiling a list of posts which are to be placed in order on a post. If you are interested, can I ask you to cut and paste it into a word document so you can see the huge amount of information on first Milennium Gwent and know what is available.

Our Next Group of posts will look at the various religious foundations in Gwent , which were priories of French Monasteries

Augustinian Foundations)

Llanthony Priory (Near St David's Cell
Austin Friars of Newport

Benedictine Priories

Chepstow Priory
Monmouth Priory
Abergavenny Priory
Goldcliff Priory
Bassaleg Priory
Usk Priory (Benedictine Nunnery)

Then the Cistercian Abbeys

Abbey Dore

Franciscans (Followers of Francis of Assissi

Franciscans were mendicant friars. They landed in England and formed a base at Oxford.Their tenedency was to minister to the poor and a house was established in Cardiff, but they tended to move around and records are scanty. It may also have been that houses were established and then the brothers perhaps died of the plague.
There are two places with a strong tradition of Greyfriars.

Greyfriars near Llangattock Vibon Afel in North Gwent (South west of Monmouth.
Greyfriars at Usk (where a house was traditionally called Grey Friars

The Usk house became the prison by the bridge and here the house became the town prison, when it ceased to be used as a religious house, and it was here that the 62 year old 'Father of the Poor', blessed Saint David Lewis spent his last days before being martyred in the town.


This house in Usk was described in detail by Fred Hando and again there are no documents, except the House was called 'Whitefriars', traditionally the name for Carmelites. There are no official papers that assert this, but the place name (as the name llan)seems to confirm their presence as do the various religious artefacts found in the house. Again all the records for these religious foundations were held at Raglan Castle (Castell Rhaglen) and when General Fayrfax ruined and burned the castle, the records were burned- a grate shame.

The story of these foundations says a great deal about our county's faith. The Benedictines tended to be French at the start of the Norman period. St Woolos, Gwynlliw's shrine (not originally being near a castle-Newport castle was a new one build in the thirteenth century)was given into the care of St Peter's Abbey in Gloucester (now Gloucester Cathedral.

I still have a few more Old Welsh institutions to visit and report on so these will appear from time to time.

I am not primarily a historian but have read some of the great historians of our time, like Madeleine Grey and David Williams and will also work on subjects of popular devotion like the 'Five Wounds' devotion, popular in the Middle Ages. One of the interesting things is that Catholic worship has not altered very much in the past thousand years, except for the Latin Language and the Tridentine Rite of Council of Trent in the Late Mediaeval times. While the 1962 Rite was identical, vatican II also introduced an English version and since last year , the Tridentine Rite has been reestablished as an alternative.

Nevertheless, a fist century Catholic , a fifteenth century Catholic and modern Catholic still attend the same Mass with the same vision of the Revelation. Mass is still the name for our Mission. Monmouthshire people still go on Pilgrimage and may old Pilgrimaes are being reestablished. I have an upcoming podcast about one such group of pilgrims from Pontypool.

So I will spend more time here from now on, but am first off to Cornwall with some more of the immensely popular saints of the first milennium. So see you there!


There is a Mary in Monmouth group on Facebook. If you are on this-do join and post what you would like me to put in. Also I am asking for anyone living in SKENFRITH to get me some photos of the Priests Well in Skenfrith. I am not sure if it is the same as St Bridget's Well. I went up there but could not find it!

you can all reach me and post information and photos (I would love this site to be a resource!) at One of the very lovely things about doing this is how many people from Monmouthshire and Wales throughout the world, Canada, Australia and USA 'drop in' to see familiar places and read up on the history.

The other wonderful thing is to bring out all the Christian history there all around, which many have forgotten about. Also children can see how very ancient the Faith of OUr Fathers is in Gwent.

If you can log on to


and join the Friends. Friends of this project to resetablish the Pilgrimages to Tintern by construction of a Pilgrim Centre for all Christians at the Abbey -a new and exciting project.Annual membership is £15 per annum and will bring great fruits spiritually.

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