Cistercian Cymer Abbey in Llanelltyd was founded in 1198-1199 under the patronage of Maredudd ap Cynan ab Owain Gwynedd, ruler of Merioneth and his brother, Gruffudd ap Cynan, prince of North Wales. Like other Cistercian abbeys in Wales, sheep and horses were raised at Cymer, delivering them to the court of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth. In 1209, he gave mining rights to the abbey, but despite this, the monastery did not prosper well, it lacked arable lands and had limited rights to fish.
Cymer was the base for the units of prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1275 and 1279. In 1283, king Edward I took over the abbey, and a year later he gave it compensation in the amount of 80 pounds for damages caused in recent wars. Until 1388, the poor monastery was home to no more than five monks, and it seems that there has been a marked decline in religious standards. The convent was dissolved during the Reformation in the 16th century.
The monastery was erected on the banks of the Mawddach River, right at the mouth of the River Wnion to Mawddach Cymer. The abbey church was a basilica, three-nave building on the plan of an elongated rectangle, without an externally separated chancel, ended with a straight wall from the east. Probably the original church design has never been completed; the northern and southern transepts were not implemented, and the chancel was to be located further to the east. From the west side in the fourteenth century, the tower was erected, while the construction of the central tower, typical for Cistercian churches, was abandoned. To the eastern part of the south aisle was a square patio surrounded by cloisters and monastery buildings. On the west side, a bit out of the way, there was an abbot’s house and a economic building.
To this day, fragments of the church with the lower part of the western tower, fragments of the nave and chancel walls as well as international pillars have been preserved. Only foundations remained from the monastic buildings and cloisters. The abbot’s house and the western economic building, although survived, have been thoroughly rebuilt. The abbey is currently under the care of the Cadw government agency and open to visitors from April 1 to October 31, daily from 10.00 to 17.00.
Website britishlistedbuildings.co.uk, Cymer Abbey.
Website coflein.gov.uk, Cymer Abbey, Cymmer Abbey.
Website wikipedia.org, Cymer Abbey.