Valle Crucis Abbey [Valley of the Cross]
The ruins of the Abbey lie in green fields beneath Llangollen’s mountains. The Abbey is more formerly known as “The Abbey Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Valle Crucis.” It is known in Welsh as “Abaty Glyn Y Groes.”
Religious life at Valle Crucis began in 1201, when the prince of Northern Powys invited Cistercian Monks to found the Abbey. It ended 336 years later, with Henry VIII’s suppression of the monasteries in 1537.
In medieval times, this was a remote spot, ideal for austere Cistercian monks, who deliberately sought out wild and lonely places.
The Abbey has had a turbulent history. It suffered badly both during Edward I’s Welsh wars and Owain Glyndwr’s revolt. There were also two serious fires.
The building is now in ruins, though large parts of the original structure still survive, including the glorious west front complete with an elaborate, richly carved doorway, beautiful rose window and 14th century inscription ‘Abbot Adams carried out this work; may he rest in peace. Amen’.
The history of the Abbey is explained with interactive videos and an animatronic monk.
The entrance fee is £2.80, although it is free out of season.
There is a little shop selling souvenirs and guide books, and a tea room for drinks and snacks.
Valle Crucis Abbey is atmospheric, calm and peaceful.
All in all, it is a wonderful piece of Welsh history, and well worth a visit.