News

Digging for Bodies at Abbeycwmhir

 

From next Monday 19th August Professional Archaeologists will be digging behind Home Farm to see if the East-West marks seen from the air as parch marks during the drought of last year are indeed graves. They could be monks graves, burials from the Black Death or some other serial killer.

They were discovered last year when Tony Driver circled around Cwmhir Abbey taking photographs in a FlyWales 4-seater Cessna aircraft having taken off from Haverfordwest Airport.(https://rcahmw.gov.uk/wales-wide-drought-reveals-further-lost-archaeological-monuments).

Do pop in and see Nigel Jones, Chief Archaeologists at the Clwd Powys Archaeological Trust who looks after the Abbey Ruins.

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DRONE SURVEY RESULTS - Get ready to dig!

The Drone Photogrammetry done in February has produced some interesting results including an indication of a large building at the East End of The Abbey nave. One of the many mysteries of Cwmhir is why only the nave was built first when naves are usually built after the chancel in the East End. The very clear indications of a building at the East End may provide an answer if it is an earlier church or chancel. As it is not exactly lined up with the nave it means it is not the missing East End but if it was an earlier church or choir the monks could have been using that while the nave was being built.

The Mystery will not be solved if it turns out to be a later building such as an Abbots House. Of course it could be a much later house of the Fowlers of Abbeycwmhir, a defensive Roundhead castle from the Civil War or just an agricultural building.

The Abbeycwmhir Trust is working towards organising an Archaeologial Dig next year to investigate. There will be a community meeting in November.

Thousands of colour pictures were taken by the drone's camera and then pasted together by a powerful computer. Then advanced computer programmes analysed the terrain down to one inch picking up minute changes in height. The results are in black & white.

© Crown copyright: RCAHMW

 

In the picture of the village and most of the Abbey Precinct (Grounds) you can see medieval and later ploughed field strips and towards the top left the possibly defensive double ditch protecting the Precinct.

Picture © Crown copyright: RCAHMW                                         _____________________________________

A marvellous drive in Mid May along the little known high roads of mid-wales to one of our biggest farms or Granges at Gwernygo - and beyond to Montgomery town (for lunch and castle) and various churches where examples of the same stone used at Cwmhir Abbey may be seen - including a font made from a capital from our sister abbey Strata Florida. See events page and leaflet for full details. START: 11am at the Abbey Exhibition Room, Home Farm, Abbeycwmhir LD1 6PH. (Self Drive and lift share).

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In March 2019 the Committee agreed, with Clywed Powys Archaeological Trust, that the photographs obtained by the Drone Photogrammetry Survey showed evidence of a building in the East End of the Abbey which should be investigated by turf cutting archaeology. We set up a Committee led by Mel, Haines-Walters, with Julain Lovell & Roger Coward  to pursue obtaining a Grant to make this happen. Work proceeds.

 

A Drone was seen over Abbeycwmhir in Februrary.

Part of the research activities of the Abbeycwmhir Heritage Trust.

The Drone which took thousands of photographs and the Computer Programming used to sythesise and interpret them was provided by Julian Ravest whose amazing photographic results clearly show the Precinct Boundary of the Medieval Abbey reaching down to Mill Bridge, Medieval Field systems in unexpected places within the Precinct, and signs of a large building at the East End where it has been assumed there was none.

The pictures are now in the care of the Clywed Powys Archaeological Trust and will be displayed in the Exhibition Room at Home Farm in due course. Julian Ravest will come to speak to us about it in April 2020.

 

 

The Exhibition Room at Abbey Cwmhir has been re-painted

for which we thank the Hamer family of Home Farm and Will Davies the local representative of CADW. It now looks very much smarter and our nice new oak notice board, arranged by Albert Ward, stands out very efectively as well as our new leaflet stands. This year's new leaflet A Quick Guide to the Abbey of Cwmhir has been very popular and the number of visitors has increased a great deal. The file we produced of drawings of the ruins provided by Clywd Powys Archaeological Trust is often left open on the new table - a sign that people are looking at them. The Abbey Cwmhir heritage Trust Committee is arranging for a second file to be put on display containing the section of the Annales Cambriae (History of Wales) that was scribed at Cwmhir between 1257 and 1263.

The Members of the Committee are John Hughes, Rosemary Newman, Sian Meredudd, Graham Davies, Heather Davies (Treasurer), Julian Lovell (Secretary), Roger Coward (Chairman),John Davies (President). The Trustees are Sian Meredudd, Julian Lovell and Roger Coward.

In September we had a Field Trip to Whitland.

A jolly band of nine enjoyed another sunny day (a feature of Abbey Trust Field Trips) around Whitland in Carmarthenshire on the 27th September, first of all visiting the remarkable Hywel Dda Centre to which Ken & Myrfyn introduced us and showed us round. This remarkable building is well worth a visit as it is a imaginative and tasteful modern interpretation of the ancient of Welsh laws of Hywel Dda.

After a fine lunch in The Station House Hotel we went on to St Mary's Church beside the River Taf and its still visible moat where Dr John Davies presented his prososal that it was the white stone in the foundations of the church and possibly the stone of a previous building that gave the Abbey the name Whitland or the White House on the Taf.

We then drove the 2km north east of Whitland to the final site of Whitland from whence it created the daugher houses of Strata Florida, Strata Marcella and Abbey Cwmhir.

After the Escavations in 1999.

2018 PILGRIMAGE

 

We've had more praise than ever before about the 2018 Abbey Trust Annual Pilgrimage along the Monks Trod from Strata Florida to Abbey Cwmhir - and for our organisation as well! We did make special efforts this year thanks to Sian Meredudd and Julian Lovell. Sixteen people walked the 26 miles from Strata Florida to Abbey Cwmhir.

There seemed to be a very happy atmosphere as people arrived back at the Philips Hall at Abbeycwmhir with people expressing their pleasure very forcibly. And later by email - "the best walk ever" was one written comment.

Global warming kindly allowed a light cooling breeze so that it was just perfect for walking lightly clad and across the majestic countryside of the Cambrian Montains, Elan Valley reservoirs and the sweet hills of Maelienydd around Cwmhir.

MAY 2018 FIELD TRIP

The Abbey of Cwmhir's Granges of East Radnorshire was the subject of a Self Drive Field trip led by Dr John Davies on Satuday May 19th. Here are some photos of a small portion of the tour:-

 

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A new oak notice board with our name nicely painted on it in Welsh and English is now installed and in use in the CADW Exhibition Room at Home Farm, Abbeycwmhir. We now have a permanent presence there. The CPAT Drawings of the Abbey ruins showing where the Masons Marks can be found are also installed in their own folder and chained to the table!

In St.Marys Parish Church we have now provided an interpretation panel for the Mabli Tomb Lid which originally came from the Abbey ruins.

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 The Abbeycwmhir Heritage Trust Now has a Facebook Page.

Follow us, like us and become a friend!

 

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Programme for 2019 -  see Events Page

 

 

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ITS NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN

THE ABBEY OF CWMHIR STUDY GROUP

AND HAVE A GO AT HISTORY!

The next meeting is on Thursday 26th July.  Please go to Study Group/Next Meeting for details.

Venue: Celf O Gwmpas, Tremont Road, Llandrindod Wells - just after the Tremont Garage going North out of Llandrindod Wells. It has a large spiral sculpture in the forecourt. Parking is up the road at the side in Tremont School behind.

We are also planning another Field Trip on Thursday Spetember 27th, this time to Whitland Abbey, the mother house of Cwmhir. This will be led by Dr John Davies and be the perfect introduction to our Autum theme which is The Date of Founding the Abbye - was it 1143 or 1176? We were founded by Whitland and its history will have affected Cwmhir. Was Cwmhir meant to be the Mother of Welsh Abbeys? Our 1143 date is earlier than Whitland itself! WE WILL TRAVEL BY COACH AND THE COST WILL DEPEND ON HOW MANY ARE COMING. PLEASE LET admin.studygroup@abbeycwmhirhistory.org.uk know immediately - Thursday 27 September All Day.

Enquiries: 01597 851021 admin.studygroup@abbeycwmhirhistory.org.uk

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CHANGES OF OFFICERS

On the 3rd May the resignation of Roger Williams (ex Liberal MP) as President was accepted and Dr John Davies agreed to step in as President. He also resigned as a Trustee leaving Roger Coward, Julian Lovell and Sian Meredudd as the current Trustees.

Earlier this year Julian Lovel was elected Honorary Secretary and Heather Davies was elected Honorary Treasure. Sheila Ward was elected Deputy Chair and to the Committee were elected Rosemary Newman, Catherine Hutton and Graham Davies to join continuing members Josie Jones, Sybil Davies and .Aida Birch.

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After thirty years as Chairiman of the Abbeycwmhir Heritage Trust Dr John Davies retired at the last AGM in December 2017. As did  Sian Meredith who retired as secretary after thirty years but will continue on the committee responsible for walks, catering and paper publicity. The dedication and tenancity of John and Sian to sustaining the Trust has been absolutely remarkable and we thank them for all they have done.

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CONTRITE THIEF RETURNS ABBEY STONE (November 2016)

A piece of stone from the Abbey of Cwmhir has been returned from Australia - because it brought bad luck to the thief.

The "fan" of Abbeycwmhir enclosed with the stone this message,"I am so sorry for taking,borrowing, stealing (shows remorse - Ed) this piece of the old Abbey Cwmhir. I have been an avid follower of the Welsh Kings and their history and so I took this rock. Ever since I have had the most awful luck as if Llewellyn himself was angry with me. So I am sending it back. I will not leave my name or address, just a heartelt sorry from an Australian fan."

The Trustees of the Abbeycwmhir Heritage Trust have received the piece of stone which measures about 2 x1 cm. It is on display with the accompanying note in the Exhibition Room at the Abbey Ruins.