Valle Crucis Abbey on Llangollen travel guide
Travel Guide for Wales and England >  Abbeys and Priorys in Wales and England >  Valle Crucis Abbey
The magnificent ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey are to found on the outskirts of the popular resort town of Llangollen in the valley of the Eglwyseg River in Denbighshire, North Wales. Valle Crucis, or the 'Valley of the Cross', is named after Eliseg's Pillar, a 9th century Christian memorial cross which stands nearby. The ruins lie in green fields beneath Llangollen's steep sided mountains and in medieval times this was a remote spot.

The Cistercian Abbey was founded by Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor in 1201, when twelve monks took occupation of a temporary wooden church and immediately began construction of roughly faced rubble buildings. By the time of the death of the Abbey’s patron in 1236 extensive work had been completed, but stained masonry and extensive rebuilding attest to a severe fire some time after this date. Repairs began promptly, with the later work distinguishable by its smaller, flatter stones. Further major rebuilding exercises took place in the mid-fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. Following its dissolution in 1538 the east range was adapted as a mansion and occupied until about 1654. It was then in use as a farmhouse from 1800 to 1850, before falling into decay.

Unlike some of the Abbeys in Wales extensive structures survive and the Abbey is now under the care of Cadw, the Welsh Heritage Organisation. There is a charge to enter the grounds, but I thought it was well worth the fee, even taking into account that I had left my free pass at home! (Fee of £2.40 for over 60's in 2011).

Much of the Church walls survive including the magnificent west front of the church, carrying the 14th century inscription 'Abbot Adams carried out this work; may he rest in peace, Amen'.

The south transept and the east range of the cloister together with the chapter house and sacristy also survive and there is an exhibition of memorial stones in what was once the monks quarters. The 13th century carved doorway and a beautiful rose window on the west front are superb, as is the chapter house, with its ribbed vaulting.

Between the abbey and the Eglwyseg river is what is thought to be a monastic fishpond.

Review Valle Crucis Abbey.

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