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Tintern (Gwent), a Cistercian abbey, was founded in 1131 by Richard de Clare, lord of Chepstow, and was the first Cistercian community in Wales. The majority of its endowments (most of them in south-east Wales) were acquired before 1200, by when it had established two daughter houses, at Kingswood and Tintern Minor. The patronage of the Bigod family, particularly at the end of the 13th cent., brought further property and financed the rebuilding of the abbey church. Like most Cistercian abbeys, Tintern's economy declined during the late Middle Ages, and the number of monks fell. However, some building work continued and at the time of its dissolution in 1536 Tintern was the wealthiest monastery in Wales. The surviving remains acquired fame from Wordsworth's poem, and are amongst the finest of any Cistercian abbey in Europe.

Brian Golding

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