Neath Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, located near the present-day town of Neath in southern Wales. It was once the largest abbey in Wales. Substantial ruins can still be seen, and are in the care of Cadw. Tudor historian John Leland called Neath Abbey “the fairest abbey of all Wales.”
Neath Abbey was established in 1129 AD when Sir Richard de Granville gave 8000 acres of his estate in Glamorgan County, Wales to Cistercian monks from western Normandy. The first monks arrived in 1130. The abbey was ravaged by the Welsh uprisings of the 1200s, and eventually dissolved by King Henry VIII of England. At this time, the abbey was turned into a large estate. Sir Philip Hobby was the last occupant of the estate.
By 1730, some of the buildings were being used from copper smelting, and the rest were abandoned. In the late 18th Century, an Iron Foundry was opened near the Abbey ruins by a company owned by the Price, Fox and Tregelles families.
The archaeology of the abbey was eventually excavated between 1924 and 1935.
Photographs © Andy Prosser