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Tintern - village by the River Wye with a world famous ruined abbey

If you are using Internet Explorer, and can see a yellow bar at the top of this page with a message starting "To help protect your security," then right-click your mouse in this yellow bar, select 'Allow Blocked Content' and then OK any further warnings.Over the ages the village of Tintern has been a religious, industrial then tourist centre.

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The Source of the River Wye



Tintern Old Station

A stop on the Wye Valley Railway, Tintern Old Station opened in 1876. It closed along with the rest of the line in 1964.

Subsequently Monmouthshire County Council bought the site for £1500. It is well preserved and open as a public attraction. There is a café, and railway carriages serve as a gift shop and exhibition on the history of the Wye Valley Railway.

The signal box is home to art exhibitions.


Tintern Village

The name Tintern may derive from the Welsh words din and deryn or teryn, meaning ‘Rocks of the King’.

There is evidence that the area around Tintern was inhabited during the Bronze Age. The current site was certainly occupied during Roman Times as the River Wye could be forded there.

The village grew up around the Abbey. Following the dissolution of Tintern Abbey, industry took over (details on both Abbey and industry below). Industry in Tintern died around the end of the nineteenth century. Fortunately this was replaced by Tourism as the primary economic income of the village.

Tintern was a stop on the Wye Tour. The Wye Valley Railway also brought in tourists. This was followed by charabancs in the 20th century.

Today Tintern is home to an award winning vineyard. There is also a Tintern cheese – flavoured with shallots and chives.


The Devil’s Pulpit

High on the eastern side of the valley, overlooking Tintern, is the Devil’s Pulpit.

Beside Offa’s Dyke, this is a natural limestone pillar. It provides an outstanding view down onto Tintern Abbey.

Legend says that The Devil himself used to stand on the rock, preaching to the monks below, hoping to lure them away from their order.


Tintern Abbey

Welsh name Abaty Tyndryn, Tintern Abbey was founded on 9 May 1131. It was only the second Cistercian Foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales.

Following an austere life, Cistercians were one of the most successful orders in the twelth and thirteenth centuries.

The present day remains of Tintern Abbey date from a 400 year period of building between 1136 and 1536. The Abbey was virtually rebuilt in the thirteenth century. The Great Church – the must significant part of Tintern Abbey – was built between 1269 and 1301.

In the sixteenth century, Henry V111 dissolved the monasteries. Tintern Abbey was surrendered to the King’s Visitors on 3 September 1536. Valuable items from the abbey were sent to the King’s treasury.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the abbey ruins were inhabited by local workers.

In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was a stop on the Wye Tour, and started to attract tourists. One visitor, William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) penned his poem ‘Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey’.

In 1901 the Duke of Beaufort paid £15 000 for the Abbey. The Ministry of Works took over upkeep in 1914. Then the Abbey passed into CADW’s hands in 1984.


Metal Industry

In 1568 the Company of Mineral and Battery Works built the first wireworks at Tintern. This heralded the start of over 300 years of Industry at Tintern.

Conditions were favourable for industry – the River Wye allowed transportation, the Angiddy stream allowed water power, trees were available for charcoal (and there was local coal) and minerals could be mined in the vicinity.

Up to 5 000 people were involved in the industry. Items manufactured included hooks, needles, wire combs, bird cages, pins, nails, fish hooks and knitting needles.

All industrial works at Tintern had closed by the opening of the 20th century.


Wireworks Bridge

Perhaps the most obvious relic of the industry that flourished in Tintern is the Wireworks Bridge. Built in 1875 it carried a branch from the Wye Valley Railway across the river to service the industry. Unfortunately this was completed just as the local metal trade faltered. The main wireworks had closed by the time the line was completed.

The branch did survive until 1935 when a blisteringly hot summer buckled the rails. Today the bridge is open for those on foot.

Angiddy Ironworks

A mile above the village of Tintern are the remains of the Angiddy Ironworks. A blast furnace was installed here in 1650. It remained in operation until 1826, by which time newer technologies made it redundant.

Air was forced into the furnace by two great wood and leather bellows. These were powered by water wheel. In turn a launder (a suspended trough) supplied water to the wheel. The bases of the pillars that held the launder can still be seen.


The Angiddy Stream

Vital to the industrialisation of Tintern was the Angiddy Stream. It flows into the valley from the West, through Tintern and into the River Wye.

Over 20 waterwheels are thought to have been powered by the Angiddy. Today the stream flows through dammed ponds – these were reservoirs that managed constant supplies to water wheels.

History may come full circle – there is currently a plan – the Tintern Angiddy Project – to harness the power of the Angiddy to generate hydro-eclectic power.


A Year on the Wye DVD

A Year on the Wye DVD cover


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Tintern AbbeyTintern Abbey
Tintern Abbey © Star Video 2011


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Tintern Old Station - by the River WyeTintern Old Station - by the River Wye
Sign at Tintern Old Station © Star Video 2011

Tintern village from across the River WyeTintern village from across the River Wye
Tintern village from across the River Wye © Star Video 2011


The Devil's Pulpit overlooking TinternThe Devil's Pulpit overlooking Tintern
The Devil's Pulpit, overlooking Tintern Abbey © Star Video 2011


Tintern AbbeyTintern Abbey
Tintern Abbey © Star Video 2011


Water wheel pit at TinternWater wheel pit at Tintern
Water wheel pit in Tintern village © Star Video 2011

Wireworks Bridge over the River Wye at TinternWireworks Bridge over the River Wye at Tintern
Wireworks bridge, Tintern © Star Video 2011


Angiddy Inronworks near TinternAngiddy Inronworks near Tintern
Launder pillar bases, Angiddy Ironworks © Star Video 2011
Angiddy stream near TinternAngiddy stream near Tintern
Resevoir pond on the Angiddy stream © Star Video 2011
© 2011 Star Video