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Welsh: Abaty Cwm Hir
Abbeycwmhir, St. Mary's Church - - 1244165.jpg
St. Mary's Church
Grid reference: SO055711
Location: 52°19’49"N, 3°23’14"W
Population: 246  (2001)
Post town: Llandrindod Wells
Postcode: LD1
Dialling code: 01597
Local Government
Council: Powys
Brecon & Radnorshire

Abbeycwmhir is a village in the valley of the Clywedog brook in Radnorshire. Its name means "Abbey in the Long Valley".

The Abbey

The village is named after Cwmhir Abbey, the Cistercian abbey built there in 1143. It was the largest Abbey in Wales but was never completed. Its fourteen bay nave was longer than Canterbury and Salisbury Cathedral naves and twice as long as that at St. Davids. It was a daughter house of Whitland Abbey, and constructed at the behest of three sons of Madog, the then Prince of Powys. The first community at Dyvanner, "Manor House") failed because of the intervention of Hugh de Mortimer, Earl of Hereford but in 1176 Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth re-established the Abbey on land given by Cadwallon ap Madog. Llewelyn ap Gruffudd is buried near the altar in the nave. The abbey was burned by the forces of Owain Glyndŵr in 1401. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries in March 1537 only three monks lived in the abbey.[1]

The Abbey was slighted in 1644, during the Civil War, although some ruins still remain. There is a memorial stone to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Prince of Wales of direct descent, whose body is buried there.[1]

Places of note

  • The village church of St Mary was rebuilt in the neo-Byzantine style by Mary Beatrice Philips in 1866. She was a grand daughter of Francis Philips who purchased the Abbeycwmhir estate in 1837 with money from the cotton-trade. It replaced a church built in 1680. Soon after the Victorian church was built, the Rev. Francis Kilvert visited.
  • The Happy Union Inn is a Grade II listed building. The age of the building is something of a mystery together with its name and unusual pub sign. The present owner is the 3rd generation of his family to run the pub.
  • Abbey Cwmhir Hall: an Elizabethan-style house built in 1833 by Thomas Wilson, a London lawyer who had purchased the 3,000-acre Abbeycwmhir estate. The hall replaced a smaller Tudor-style house. It is open to the public.[2]
Red Kites flourish in the valley.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Abbey Cwmhir". Castles of Wales. Archived from the original on 13 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  2. "Abbey Cwmhir Hall". Hall Website. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 

Outside links