Strata Marcella Abbey site
The flat green field on the far side of the road, between here and the river Severn, is the site of the Cistercian abbey of Strata Marcella. It may be hard for us to imagine an abbey at this location today, as almost all traces of it have disappeared. There’s no need to cross the road to look – there’s no public access to the site and the view of the field is just as good from the canal side of road.
First built in the 1170s, the main abbey church was nearly 100m long. It would have been surrounded by an impressive assortment of other buildings, much like the Cistercian abbeys that can be seen today, such as Tintern in Monmouthshire. Strata Marcella, however, had a chequered history. The complex was badly damaged in Owain Glyndŵr’s rising of the early 1400s.
King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1536, when most British abbeys were confiscated by the crown. Abbey buildings were destroyed and their lands sold. Strata Marcella had declined by then. Only a few ruinous buildings and a handful of monks remained at the site. The church and all its buildings were dismantled. The site was used for a while as a farm, but by the late 19th century there was very little left to see of the abbey.
Remains of a large mill leat pass through the abbey earthworks. It fed a mill at Pool Quay, c.700m away. The mill may originally have belonged to the abbey. The leat was redundant by the late 18th century.
Grid reference: SJ 2515 1044