News

Member’s Special New Year Review & AGM

& Talk by Dr John Hughes - Owain Glyndŵr and The Cwmhir Abbey

               Sunday 31st January 2021 2.30pm - 4.00pm

Agenda

  1. Welcome “Everything cancelled – Busiest year ever” - Roger Coward, Chairman 
  2. Treasurer’s Report – Jackie Marriott, Honorary Treasurer 
  3. Initiative Demystifying – Dr Mel Walters 
  4. New Archaeological Field Surveys; our Geographical Information  System; & Publishing by the Heritage Research Group - Julian Lovell, Honorary Secretary & Membership Secretary 
  5. Welsh Place Names - Sian Meredudd 
  6. Voting 
    1. Re-Election & Election of Officers:
      1. Chairman - Roger Coward
      2. Honorary Secretary & Membership Secretary - Julian Lovell
      3. Honorary Treasurer - Jackie Marriott (Appointed March 2020)
    2. Revised Vision/Objects for the Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust.  (cf below)
    3. Change of Accounting Date to 31 March - by changing the accounting year this enables The Trust to hold an AGM in the Spring of each year
    4. Change of AGM Date to May each year
  7. Any Other Business

   Interval 5 mins to give time to join the Second Zoom Meeting for the Online Talk

John Hughes Owain Glyndŵr and The Cwmhir Abbey - 30 mins + Q&A

 (Open to non-members by donation via Eventbrite 3.15pm) 

Contact: jlo.theabbey@gmail.com   www.abbeycwmhirhistory.org.uk

Demystifying: history.cwmhirabbey@gmail.com   www.abbeycwmhir.org

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Objects/Vision Statement January 2021                  

1)That present and future generations will know about the historical and cultural importance of Cwmhir Abbey through the provision of information, events and research.

2) That the Trust will help provide heritage-based education and well-being opportunities for the public,  local communities and for visitors to the site to gain enjoyment and understanding about the Abbey and its place within Welsh culture, history and identity.

3) That the Trust will aim to make the Abbey and its lands a focal point for academic research and aim to work together with a network of academic and historical institutions and organisations to support continued new learning about the Abbey and its mysteries. That this information will be promoted for the wider benefit of local, regional, national and international communities.

4)That generations of all ages and people from all backgrounds are able to participate and access opportunities provided through the Trusts work.

5) That the Trust makes a positive and lasting contribution to the local community and works alongside it to address local needs and priorities. To engage and involve the community to create a sense of connection with the Abbey site and the community in which it lies. 

6) To commemorate the anniversary of the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd.

This Vision to be incorporated into the Constitution.

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We are sorry to have to announce the death of Sheila Ward who was a member of the Committee of the Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust for many years and active in Welsh history circles. The funeral wil be on 2nd February, at 3pm at Kidderminster Crematorium  Donations  To help preserve Pilleth Church  which was close to Sheila's heart.

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Terrible wet winter weather didn't stop the faithful few going to the the Memorial Stone in the remains of the Abbey of Cwmhir on December 13th to remember the death of the last native Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffyd who died on December 11th 1282 and is believed to have been buried in the Abbey or in the surrounding precinct. Derek Hopkins lays a wreath accompanied by Nikki Hopkins and Roger Coward on behalf of the Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust. Alison Finnieston also braved the weather to take the photos, thanks to her. 

Two other wreaths had been placed on the stone prior to our ceremony.

The letters of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time are in the National Archives. He wrote twice to the Archdeacon of Brecon asking if Llywelyn had been buried at Cwmhir Abbey. As far as we know the Archdeacon did not send an answer. Whether he was buried in the Abbey would depend on whether his Excommunication had been withdrawn. If not he could only have been buried outside in unconsecrated land.

 

 

 

First Zoom Talk

On Friday Dec 5th we transmitted by zoom our first talk to which 78 people subscribed. This was faultlessly hosted by Mel Walters and Jackie Marriot through the eventbrite booking system.  Dr Jemma Bezant of the University of Wales Trinity St David, Lampeter gave the talk on ‘The Archaeology of Abbey Cwmhir: Mapping a Cistercian Grange in a Marcher Landscape’.

This was a first for the Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust but we plan at least four more Zoom talks next year. However, if Covid 19 persists we may have to present our regular programme of talks by the same means - Long Distance walks may be more difficult!

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Sun Dec 13th

Due to the rapid increase of Corona Virus cases in the district and a very wet weather forecast we are going to restrict the Remembering of Llywelyn ap Gruffyd, last Welsh Prince of Wales on Sunday to a simple wreath laying ceremony with no readings. This will take place at 13.00 hrs as advertised.

- The CHRISTMAS CRACKER walks around Abbeycwmhir have been cancelled as Community Halls are nor available to provide staging posts and refreshments. Sorry. We hope both our long distance walks as well as the new Community Walks will take place in 2021.

- The Annual Tour of the Abbey on October 10th, led by Julian Lovell,  was a great success with fourteen people attending. 

Magic gets our new Community Walks Iniative going.

The Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust is very pleased to have received a £500 grant to help fund its Community Heritage Walking Trails around the village,suitable for everyone in contrast to its two established long distance walksThe Pigrimage and the ChristmasCracker.   

The grant has been awarded by Local Giving's Magic Little Grants Fund which is supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery. The walks will include the Abbeycemhir Millennium Community Trail and other walks designed with varying lenghs and abilities and to encourage people to visit important heritage features in our area. 

We hope to have a community social event in the Spring to launch the walks.

To get involved and for further information Contact:Jackie email: oralhistory.cwmhirabbey@gmail.com

 

The first edition of the Demystifying Abbeycwmhir project's Newsletter has now been published.

Click on the pdf icon to read. 

 

The Mortimer History Society has recently announced its Annual Essay Prize               

      Submission Deadline is 1st March 2021 and subjects may include the Borders. Full details on pdf's below.

 Announcement

 Rules

We would be so grateful for any support you can give - even just sharing this message. Are you able to give this gift to your community project? For more information or to donate, all you need to do is follow this link:  localgiving.org/abbeycwmhir-heritage-trust

Thank you so much!

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Due to the Government's rules regarding Social Isolation we have had to cancel all our programme until September 20th when, hopefully, Julian Ravest will give his talk entitled "Drone over Abbey Cwmhir" (cf Events).

 

Demystifying the Abbey

Our new archaeological project is still in preparation with several desk top projects and Skype training courses for volunteers still going ahead. Please see the web site www.abbeycwmhir.org or contact history.cwmhirabbey@gmail.com

 

Demystifying starts Thursday 15th Jan at 12.30

A meeting of those who expressed an interest in volunteering will be held at the Philips Hall, Abbeycwmhir LD1 6PH  next week. Do come along even if you didn't put your name down. Various opporunities will be offered and an interesting discussion held. 

Over one hundred people attended the Drop In day - we hope to see you all again.

Demystifying the Abbey at Cwmhir - Nov 23rd

Already our Drone Photogrammetry survey has produced results and a plan to do an archaeological dig, hopefully next year. One thing is certain we want to find a way of making it of benefit to the Community both in Abbeycwmhir and in wider Radnorshire. To this end we invite everybody to come to a Drop-In event in the Philips Hall (LD1 6PH) to share our finds and enthusiasm and to hear your memories and hopes for the Abbey.

Cadw Grant Awarded

The Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust has been successful in being awarded a Cadw grant of £5000 to do some 3D scanning and 3D Printing (modelling) of stones from the abbey to be exhibited in the exhibition room. The Cwmhir Tympanum from Home Farm, some Llanidloes Parish Church capitals (originally from the Abbey), the Devannor Corbel and what is known as the Llanbister princess carving from the Abbots House will be included. The grant also provides enough to re-print 8 of our leaflets in English & Welsh.

STUDY GROUP

Due to re-start on September 26th, because of the large number of other Heritage Trust activities, the Study Group will not meet until further notice.

Sunday 22nd 2.30 pm at Philips Hall

We are very fortunate to have the very good speaker Professor David Austen, from the Strata Florida Trust, coming to speak about the Strata Florida Project and make observations about Abbey Cwmhir.  He will tell us about his concept of the whole landscape being Sacred and the building of a Cistercial Abbey fitting in with a pre-existing plan.

Will he see the same for Abbeycwhir?

 

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

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

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.

THIS YEAR'S 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 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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Future Programme for 2018 is - see Events Page

September 20th Thursday. Founder Cadwallon Lecture Owain Glyndwr and Abbey Cwmhir by Gareth Jones at the Philips Hall, Abbeycwmhir LD1 6PH.

September 27th Thursday Field Trip to Whitland Abbey Mother house of Abbey Cwmhir. See Study Group for full details.

Dec 2nd Saturday.  Christmas Cracker Walks.Go to Walks. Book on line.

Dec 8th Memorial 13.00 hrs Service

                               14.15 hrs Talk by Julian Lovell, The Fowlers of Abbeycwmhir?

                               15.30 hrs AGM   

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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.