Abandoned Architecture

Dawn of “The Day After” runs a monthly architecture challenge as well as her windows, I haven’t joined in for a while, but thought it would be a good opportunity to share some photos of Tintern Abbey. Long since abandoned.

exterior view from across the road
exterior view from across the road

the Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of the greatest monastic ruins of Wales. It was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales, and was founded on 9 May 1131 by Walter de Clare, lord of Chepstow.

Exterior view from the south
Exterior view from the south

In the 1500s monastic life in England and Wales was brought to an abrupt end by the political actions of King Henry VIII. The Dissolution of the Monasteries was part of the king’s policy to establish total control over the church in his realm.

Nave's west window
Nave’s west window

Tintern Abbey was surrendered to the king’s visitors on 3 September 1536. With the roofs gone and windows smashed it was destined to fall into decay, but was rediscovered in the late 18th century and became a fashionable place to visit by many people wanting to discover a wild and romantic place including the artist JMW Turner and the poet William Wordsworth.

Since the early twentieth century the abandoned ruin has been cared for and restored so that it will remain the perfect ruined abbey for many years to come. If you would like to read more about the abbey then please visit Castle Wales.


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I live in the UK, but when I was younger I spent several years travelling the world followed by a period living in South Africa. I look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

44 thoughts on “Abandoned Architecture”

  1. I love all the monasteries and abbeys across the UK. They’re magical places.
    BTW, I don’t know what you did to that first photo but it makes it look like a miniature town. I keep expecting Thomas the Tank Engine to come steaming across.

  2. I can understand why it attracted artists. Beautiful photos, especially the west window of the nave and north transept, – terrific lighting and tonal contrast.

    1. Focal point / tilt shift has produced that look. You’d be proud of me Sue, I climbed up the hill behind the abbey to the ‘Devil’s Pulpit‘ and it was a bit of a clamber. It is only about a mile above the river, but up a fairly steep ascent. 😀

      Well worth it for the view though.

      1. Oh I am very proud of you! Before you know it you will be jumping in icy lakes. 🙂
        All right just kidding on that one. Some hikes are worth the slog though that’s for sure!

  3. There is ‘n abbey I visited some years ago on the east coast. I can’t remember the place. Captain Cook was supposed to have lived there or at least left that place on his trips around the world. It also still had an genuine kipper smoking factory still in production.

    1. You must be talking about Whitby and the famous Benedictine abbey there. There are 199 steps to Whitby Abbey which is also famous for inspiring the Dracula stories. My last visit there was on a very cold day too!!

  4. What I find very interesting about your photos is that there aren’t any other people around. Is it just because of the season and the tourists are over-running every yet? If that’s true, that’s one advantage to going on a cold day 🙂

    I find abandoned buildings rather sad … as someone said in a post not long ago, it’s like you can almost hear it whispering from the past.

    1. these photos were taken mid-morning on 4th December so very definitely out of any tourist season! There were a few people about – most in the café nearby – and a few dog walkers in the wood that I walked through to reach the top of the hill for that first picture.

      I love abandoned buildings, especially abbeys and priories, imagining the monks going about their duties and the chanting. I love visiting English Heritage sites (though this is Cadw of course) where you can use the audio sets and listen to the singing and hear the characters tell their tales, in the different parts of the buildings. It makes it all so more real. But then I am a HUGE fan of history 🙂

  5. I love a ‘wild and romantic place’ too, Jude 🙂 The combination of colour and black and white works well with the antiquity, but Sue has pinched my comment. It looks for all the world like a model village in that first shot and I wondered… way too clever for me 🙂

    Cornwall in May will be beautiful 🙂

  6. From Wordsworth’s 1798 poem “Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”:

    And this prayer I make,
    Knowing that Nature never did betray
    The heart that loved her; ’tis her privilege,
    Through all the years of this our life, to lead
    From joy to joy: for she can so inform
    The mind that is within us, so impress
    With quietness and beauty, and so feed
    With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
    Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
    Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
    The dreary intercourse of daily life,
    Shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb
    Our chearful faith that all which we behold
    Is full of blessings.

  7. All your photos are wonderful Jude, but the one in your header is so unusual, making Tinterne Abbey and its surroundings look like a model village. I love it. And what beautiful surroundings too. Must visit this place, another one on the list thanks to you 🙂

  8. I grew up not far from here and miss the area so much! You have done it justice! I’m glad to hear you managed to get up to Devils Pulpit too. The Wye Valley is such a beautiful part of the world ☺️

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