Caldey Island

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Welsh: Ynys Bŷr


South Coast of Caldey Island. - - 113045.jpg
South coast of Caldey Island
Location: 51°38’15"N, 4°41’12"W
Grid reference: SS141966

Caldey Island lies south of Tenby in Pembrokeshire. The island is home to a small village, but is best known for its monastery. Caldey Island is separated from the mainland by the Caldey Sound which is something over half a mile wide between Caldey Island and the coast of Pembrokeshire. A ferry service from Tenby crosses the sound during spring and summer.

The name 'Caldey' comes from the Old Norse name, perhaps Keld ey meaning "cold island". In Welsh it is known as Ynys Bŷr after an Saint Pyr, an early abbot.


Caldey Island from the mainland

Limestone was quarried on Caldey in the 19th century and taken to local lime kilns, some even going as far afield as the Annery kiln on the Torridge in North Devon.

An early monastery was founded on the island in the sixth century, and a Benedictine foundation existed from 1136 until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536. An Anglican Benedictine community, led by Dom Aelred Carlyle, came in 1906 and built the current abbey. They were received into the Roman Church in 1913, but left Caldey in 1925 due to financial difficulties and moved to Prinknash Abbey. The Cistercians, who now occupy the abbey, came in 1929 from Scourmont Abbey in Belgium.

Boats sail to the island from Tenby during the summer months. Attractions on Caldey include a Norman chapel, a twelfth century church, the sixth century Ogham cross, and the twentieth century Abbey.

Caldey Lighthouse was built in 1828.

The island today

The principal income for the island is tourism, with perfume, shortbread and chocolate production providing income. The monastery opened an internet shop in 2001.[1] Their lavender perfume is said to be "simply the best lavender soliflore on earth" by the perfume critic Luca Turin.[2] The island also provides a spiritual retreat throughout the year.

There is a private guesthouse on the island as well as a fire engine, ambulance and a Coastguard team.

Outside links


  1. Monks get internet shopping habit, BBC News, 24 October 2001. Retrieved on 7 May 2009.
  2. [1] Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, David Sexton, London Evening Standard, 27 November 2008. Retrieved on 20 July 2010.