Photographer: Bedford, Francis (1816-1894)
Medium: Photographic print
“Lanthony Abbey, in the retired vale of Ewias, in Monmouthshire, presents in its remaining ruins one of the finest specimens of the Norman-Gothic. It was built in the year 1108, in the reign of Henry I., when the Norman rule, and the Norman taste in everything, prevailed...In these fine old remains we have that mingling of the round arches of the past Saxon and the pointed ones then first introduced...The northern side has the least mixture of the Norman pointed arch, and in the east are immense entrance arches of both kinds...The monks were doomed to feel the effects of the civil strife betwixt [Queen] Maud and Stephen [nephew of Henry I]. The Welsh took refuge in the convent, and, in fact, seem to have taken free possession of it…Complaining of this rude invasion to Robert de Betun, bishop of Hereford, he invited the monks to Hereford, and then prevailed on Milo de Laci to grant them ground at Hyde, near Gloucester, where they built a church in 1136. But this proved the ruin of Lanthony. The monks were too much attached to the populous and more civilized city, and refused to return to the old Lanthony when the troubles were over. The new Lanthony, as the Gloucester establishment was called, received ample endowments from King John and other benefactors...The old Lanthony never surmounted these usurpations of the new…Whatever was valuable or ornamental in the church of St. John was conveyed to Gloucester, without the smallest opposition, and at last the Gloucester monks carried thither its very bells, notwithstanding their great weight. Edward IV. made the Gloucester Lanthony the principal, but compelled the monks to maintain a prior and four canons at the original abbey. At the dissolution in 1539 the old Lanthony was valued at £71 3s. 2d., and the Gloucester monastery at £648 19s. 11d.”
Excerpt from “Lanthony Abbey”, in ‘Ruined Abbeys and Castles of Great Britain’ by William and Mary Howitt.