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Valle Crucis Abbey

Valle Crucis: the “Valley of the Cross”, lies in the shadow of the Berwyn mountains near Llangollen in north east Wales. It was Madog who in 1201 that founded the Abbey with a group of Cistercian monks from the mother house of Strata Marcella near Welshpool, and building on the new monastery began immediately.

Valle Crucis Abbey Inside Valle Crucis today

Having already encountered several major set backs during their building of it in the first 50 years, the monks suffered a disastrous one soon after when fire caused much damage to the abbey church. Barely had the community recovered from that disaster than the monastery was further destroyed during Edward " Longshank's " - Edward I's campaign against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd.

It was the Abbott from Valle Crucis who, while out walking early one morning, met Owain Glyndwr on the leeward side of the Berwyn mountains. “You are abroad early my lord Abbott” said Owain.“It is you dear Owain that is to early, a hundred years to early” the Abbott replied; for the Abbott had the gift of foresight and had seen that had Owain been born a hundred years later he would have through his battles gained a secure future for Wales. For then with his skill of arms he would have defeated the weaker more un organized king, who would be sat on the English throne. As it was Owain would be master of Wales for a few short years, and like those who had led Wales previously he too would lose against those who would be able to draw upon greater resources of men and materials.

In the early 14th century the monks at Valle Crucis were allowed to settle into a relatively peaceful period, and a major programme of repairs and new building was undertaken to complete the abbey. The peace did not last long and, before the end of the century, yet more fire damage was sustained as a result of my people attempting to throw off the yoke of suppression under the leadership of Owain Glyndwr

Although able to enjoy something of a revival during the last 100 years of its life Valle Crucis was another abbey that suffered from the wrath of Henry VIII's disagreement with Rome, and gradually after the dissolution of the monasteries, it fell into steady decline

Finally as a monastery, Valle Crucis Abbey earned a reputation for its appreciation of the literary arts. In 1535, despite documents recording the life of the abbey being in a very poor state of decay, it was ranked as one of the richest Cistercian monasteries in Wales, second only to Tintern. This prolonged the inevitable fate of the abbey's Dissolution until January 1537

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