St. Mary’s church was built in 1087, originally as a temple of the Benedictine monastery, founded by the first Norman Lord of Abergavenny. The building probably stood at the site of an earlier place of Roman-Celtic cult. At the end of the 12th century, the prior of the monastery was Henry of Abergavenny, who was elected to help in the coronation of king John I in 1199, and subsequent local lords were benefactors of the church. During the Reformation there were only four monks and a prior in the monastery. Due to the close relationship between the rulers of Abergavenny and the Tudor dynasty, the church was spared and became a parish church. In the years 1881 – 1896 it underwent neo-gothic renovation and partial expansion.
The building represents a decorated and perpendicular gothic style, but unfortunately not many elements from the Norman period survived, and partial transformations were made in the 19th century. The church was built on a cruciform plan with a two-nave, 52 meters long corpus, with a narrower, rectangular chancel and two transepts. To the sides of the chancel, two chapels were added in the Middle Ages: Lewis and Herbert’s chapel. At the intersection of the naves and chancel, a tower was erected. The Victorian transformations mainly affected the west façade with the porch and a large part of the windows.
Among the original equipment preserved the 14th century oak, carved stalls, the 12th century font, the 15th century Jesse wooden sculpture and a collection of medieval tombstones, the oldest of which depict Eve de Braose from the end of the 13th century and John of Hastings, Lord Abergavenny who died in 1324.
Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website wikipedia.org, Priory Church of St Mary, Abergavenny.