The Cistercians in Wales
In Powys the Cistercian order had great houses at Cwmhir in Radnorshire,
the remains of which are shown in the photograph (below)
taken in summer 1998, and at Strata Marcella on the Montgomeryshire
borders, and through its granges it played an important role
in shaping the face of the medieval landscape. Although very
much a part of an international network, the Cistercians in Wales
were involved in the collecting and transcribing of Welsh literature,
and were at the heart of the Welsh tradition of writing annals
and chronicles of Welsh affairs.
Across the face of Wales hundreds of simple parish
churches were constructed or reconstructed at this time. Many
of these were the first communal buildings in the locality and
had a secular function alongside the ecclesiastical.
As the church in Wales developed, a claim was made for the see
of St Davids to be regarded as the Archbishopric of Wales, and
there was much support for this within the Anglo-Norman church
in Wales. In the end, though, the English view that a separate
Welsh church would be a dangerous precedent meant that the English
crown would always be likely to throw its weight behind Canterbury.
A Welsh church which had Anglo-Norman appointed bishops who acknowledged
the rule of Canterbury (even where they were Welsh), was much
too useful to England to be surrendered.
There are 5 main pages on the medieval
church in Wales. Use the box links below to view the other pages.