of tintern abbey

Tintern Abbey is said to be one of the most spectacular ruins in the country. It has inspired paintings and poems, notably some by Tennyson and Wordsworth. The Abbey stands on the bank of the River Wye in south Wales, about two driving hours from Oxford.

Tintern Abbey was built for Cistercian monks in 1131. Undoubtedly it was beautiful when it was new and the stones were smooth and the passageways dim with shadows. I prefer it now. Roofless, open to the heavens, groundless, with greenest grass flourishing inside and flowers sprouting in the niches high up on the chancel walls.

A wooden door stands open, and though it we gazed across the length of the Abbey and out the frame of the glorious east window to the hills beyond.

Norah wanted to run around and climb on stones and pick flowers. I wanted to be still and stare, dwarfed by stone columns and Welsh hillsides, the archways framing my upward gaze. I wanted to lie flat in the grass in the center of the monk’s choir and listen for the echoes of nearly a millenium past, when white-robed Cistercian monks gathered here for eight services a day.

It was medieval monument superimposed over the natural beauty of the valley. I have never seen anything like it.

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10 Responses to of tintern abbey

  1. Oh Betsy! These photos took my breath away!
    You have a great eye – and I agree with you…..”I like it OPEN to the HEAVENS”.

  2. Mom & Dad N. says:

    Betsy – Wow, what an awe inspiring place. I was struck by the primitive design of this ancient edifice – it obviously is so old that it was before the invention of the window and even before the shingle. Incredible.
    Love, Dad

  3. Burt Koppendrayer says:

    You make me want to visit the UK. It was never high on my list before. Beautiful. Great job capturing them.

  4. nateandmiriam says:

    love your photos…

  5. Candace says:

    indredible. thanks for sharing.

  6. Pingback: been thinking more about tintern abbey | part of the main

  7. Pingback: Bath, part IV: the Abbey | part of the main

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