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Talley Abbey;Abbey of The Blessed Virgin and St John The Baptist, Talley

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Map ReferenceSN63SW
Grid ReferenceSN6328132772
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCarmarthenshire
Old CountyCarmarthenshire
Type Of SiteABBEY

Talley Abbey, Talley, half of a shattered 26m high tower and the footings of the church mark the site of the former Premonstratensian abbey. The tower rises above the southern end of the Talley Lakes, clearly visible from the castle set on the isthmus between them (NPRN 303898). The Abbey was founded for Premonstrtaensian or White Cannons in 1184-9. After a chequered early history the Abbey achieved a quiet prosperity before being disolved in 1536. The Abbey was initially endowed with much of the wealth of the ancient monastery of Llandeilo Fawr and derived much of its income from the cannons' spiritualities. The abbey had a number of associated chapels, one of which is thought to have been Dol Hywel (NPRN 417756), whose site now lies beneath the Usk Reservoir (NPRN 413312). The chapelry of Llanwrda and its neighbouring benifice containing the chapel of St Sadwrn's (now a parish church), Llansadwrn (NPRN 101882) were conferred upon the abbey by Rhys ap Gruffudd (the Lord Rhys) in 1176. St Teilo's Church, Llandeilo Fawr, Llandeilo (NPRN 100867) was appropriated by the abbey around 1215, but the grant was disputed and the abbot and convent ordered to pay 10 marks a year for the churches of Llandeilo Fawr and Llanegwad.

The abbey church was conceived as a magnificent building with an eight bay aisled nave, crossing and presbytery, however, straitened circumstances reduced the nave to a relatively modest size when the church was completed, probably in the earlier thirteenth century. The choir and presbystery were retained to serve as a parish church after 1536 and were not completely forsaken until 1772-3 when the present church of St Michael was built (NPRN 101870). The ruins are shown as partially cleared on the OS County series 2nd edition (Carmarthen. XXV.8 1906) and further clearance and consolidation followed from 1933 when the remains were taken into state care.The excavations recovered painted plaster fragments. A panel painting of Elijah, now in St David’s Cathedral, is allegedly from Talley Abbey.

Sources include:
Cadw, Guide to Strata Florida Abbey: Talley Abbey, revised 3rd edition (2007)
Richard Suggett, Painted Temples: Wallpaintings and Rood-screens in Welsh Churches, 1200–1800, (RCAHMW 2021)


application/pdfCPAT - Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust ReportsClwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust Report No 1340 entitled: 'The Monastic Granges of East Wales: A Scheduling Enhancement Project' prepared by R. J. Silvester and R. Hankinson 2015.
application/pdfDAT - Dyfed Archaeological Trust ReportsDigital report on 'Later Medieval and Early Post-Medieval Threat Related Assessment Work 2012: Monasteries'. Compiled by DAT for Cadw. Report No: 2012/12. Project Record No: 102639.