Abergavenny – St Mary’s church

History

   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.

Architecture

   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.

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bibliography:
Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website wikipedia.org, Priory Church of St Mary, Abergavenny.