The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust
Historic Environment Record
 

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ST MARY'S ABBEY, MARGAM (MARGAM ABBEY)

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 00771w
Trust : Glamorgan Gwent
Site Type : Monastery
Period : Medieval
Community : Margam
NGR : SS80188626
Legal Protection : scheduled ancient monument

Summary :
Conventual priory. A Cistercian Monastery founded by Robert of Gloucester in 1167 and dissolved in 1536. Present day parish church roughly occupies area of nave of original church, mostly ruinous. Restored twelve sided chapter house c 1200.

Description :
This is a general number for Margam Abbey. Conventual priory. A Cistercian Monastery founded by Robert of Gloucester in 1167 and dissolved in 1536. Present day parish church roughly occupies area of nave of original church, mostly ruinous. Restored twelve sided chapter house c 1200.
Evans 2003: GGAT 73 Early-Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites Project database

The extent of the monastic precinct at Margam Abbey is no longer clear - alterations made for post-medieval house and for the 18th/19th Century Park have largely obscured S and W sides of the monastic complex. Apart from topographical indications nothing remains of the precinct boundary, though there is a reference in 1532 to a 'great gate', SE of the church, a medieval gatehouse (probably the inner gate) survived as part of the post-suppression house, built from 1552, but was destroyed in 1744 (Robinson 2006, 257).
The surviving standing remains at Margam include the Nave of the Abbey church (c.1150-80), utilized as a parish church, St Marys. Partial footings remain of the choir, presbytery and S transept (all 1220-1250), the ruinous remains of the chapter house, its vestibule and adjacent sacristy and the remains of the possible bridge to the monastic latrine block (all 1203-1230). The cloister lies between in the angle of the Nave and the S transept, whilst the Monks day room (dormitory undercroft extended S of the chapter house vestibule as part of the same range. A summary of early archaeological investigation has been summarized elsewhere (see Robinson 1993a; Robinson 2006), the most recent include minor excavations (1974-5) undertaken on the N side of the orangery, which revealed monastic period walls and drains, remains associated with the S claustral ranges (Jones 1981, 59-69), whilst GGAT carried out a trial excavation of the Orangery car park (1979), and found monastic buildings at some distance from the Abbey, GGAT also undertook an evaluation of the Presbytary and east range in 2001. An area of around 0.7ha is currently scheduled (GM5); Robinson indicates this is currently insufficient (Robinson 2006). St Marys Church is Listed Grade A (ref. 14148); the ruins of the chapter house are Grade I, as are the east range ruins, whilst the 18th century Orangery is Listed Grade I (ref. 14152). The Park and garden at Margam, encompassing the Abbey and its precinct, are included on the register of parks and gardens of historic interest in Wales (Grade I).

The general area of the precinct remains unclear from current levels of information, though it is likely to have been extensive, for this reason a core area, including the likely area of the W and S claustral ranges to the W of the SAM area has been defined, while outer areas to the W and E have been defined to cover the grounds in the immediate vicinity of the now demolished post-suppression house (as shown in a sketch of 1684 and in two late 17th early 18th century paintings) to encompass main spread of known archaeological features it is likely the full outer precinct was much larger, possibly equating to the area depicted on Emanuel Bowens map of 1729, with the park to E of the house and the Grove to the W (i.e. the SW corner of the later post-medieval park), although this is unconfirmed (Cadw, ICOMOS UK 2000, 102-113) (Bowden and Roberts 2012).

Sources :
Evans, E M , 2003 , Early Medieval Ecclesiastical sites in Southeast Wales: Desk based assessment
Robinson, D. M. , 2006 , The Cistercians in Wales: Architecture and Archaeology 1130-1540
Cadw , 1994 , Register of landscapes, parks and gardens of special historic interest in Wales (Glamorgan)
Marvell A G , 1993 , Port Talbot - Margam Duplicate Watermain Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment
Bowden, R. and Roberts, R. , 2012 , Monastic Sites in Glamorgan and Gwent
01/PM Desc Text/Butler LAS/1971/Glamorgan CH/pp379-415
02/AP Unknown source
Evans EM, 2003-04, GGAT 73 Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites Project

Events :
E000463 : MARGAM ; ST MARY'S ABBEY, PARTIAL EXCAVATION, 1978 (year : 1978)
E002128 : Field visit to Margam Abbey (year : 2011)
E003916 : Port Talbot - Margam Duplicate Watermain DBA (year : 1993)
E002119 : Assessment of Monastic Sites in Glamorgan and Gwent (year : 2012)

Related PRNs :


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