Ewenny Priory

Ewenny Priory, 1780.
Ewenny Priory was completed in 1126 but became a Priory in 1141. The priory was built as a cell of the Benedictine Abbey of Gloucester. It has been suggested that the priory was built on the site of an earlier church, perhaps built by William de Londres. Around 1200 Ewenny Priory was fortified transforming the Triangle of Fortresses (Ogmore, Newcastle and Coity Castles) into the Ogmore Quadrilateral.  

The priory is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel.

A letter of Gilbert Foliot, About of Gloucester which records the dedication, implies that the church belonged to Gloucester during this period.

In the ‘List of Donations’ in Gloucester Cartulary it is recorded that Robert, Earl of Gloucester , made Ewenny Priory free of toll throughout all his lands during the abbacy of Walter de Lacy (1130 -1139).
It is probable that a cell of a few monks was established at Ewenny Priory before 1141 and in that year Maurice de Londres raised the cell to Conventual Status.

The record of the gift reads as follows:

“In the year 1141 Maurice de Londonia, son of William de Londonia, gave to the Church of St. Peter of  Gloucester, the Church of St. Michael  of Ewenny, the Church of St. Bridget (St Brides Major) with the Chapel of Ugemore (Wick), de Lanfey (Colwinston) with the lands, meadows and all other things belonging unto them freely and willingly in free almoigne in order that it might become a convent of monks.”

It was made under the condition that when the Churches granted had been appropriated to the Priory “there shall be there in a convent of at least thirteen monks.”  - The gift was confirmed by William de Londres, the son of Maurice de Londres.

The Tomb Slab of Maurice de Londres, the Founder of Ewenny Priory.
The inscription of the tomb slab reads: 
Here lies Maurices de Londres, the Founder. God Reward him for his work.

King Edward I, during his conquest of Wales, came to Ewenny for reinforcements in 1284. King Henry VI is said to have come to Ewenny in the September of 1405 to make his final assault of Coity Castle to relieve it from the supporters of Owain Glyn Dwr; because of bad weather, his efforts failed.


1126: The first cell at Ewenny is completed.

1141: The cell at Ewenny becomes a Priory.

1254: During the Taxation of Norwich the Priory was valued at twenty marks.

1284: King Edward I stayed at Ewenny Priory in the December of 1284. He was on his way to Cardiff Castle.

1291: During the Taxatio Ecclesiatica it is included in the same valuation as St. Bride Major and Colwinston. Named at forty pounds and belonged to the Prior of Ewenny.

1535: Valor Ecclesiatica: the total income of Ewenny was £78-8s-8d. The rectory was worth £9.2s.4d.

1537: Dissolution of the Monasteries:  Ewenny was leased to Sir Edward Carne who covenanted for a curate.

1545: Sir Edward Carne purchased Ewenny Priory (then one of the dissolved houses of Glamorgan) from the crown for £727-6s-4d. He later built an imposing mansion with the Abbey walls. It remained in his family until the eighteenth century when it was passed to the (de) Turbervill’s.

1741: The Priory passed through to the (de) Turbervill family. Richard (de) Tubervill, was the son of Frances Carne and Edward (de) Tubervill, he was the last descendant of Sir Edward at Ewenny.

1771: The living was worth forty pounds: the incumbent was Rev. Edmund Williams and its parton was Richard (de) Turbervill.  

In the later part of the eighteenth century the owner of the Priory was Mrs Elizabeth Turbervill. Elizabeth did not reside there and as a result the Priory became deeply neglected. The eastern part, formerly used by the monks was now a farming shed. 

The state of the Priory is shown in this painting by J.M.W Turner (c.1797).

1797: On the death of Elizabeth (1797) the property was passed down to Richard Turbervill-Picton (he later changed his named to Richard Tubervill).  The Priory fell to such disrepair that a considerable part of the original building fell down.

1835: During this year Ewenny Priory was styled a ‘Donative Chapel’ worth (gross) £47 per annum.
R.T Turbervill was the patron and impropriator at this time.

1867: Ewenny Priory was passed to Lt Colonel Thomas Picton-Warlow who later took the name Turbervill. His brother Colonel John Picton-Warlow did the same when he in turn inherited the estate.

Lt Colonel Thomas Picton-Turbervill (d.1891) provided the funds for the restoration of the Church that took place in 1895/96.

1925 – 1984: Ewenny Priory Church was annexed to Merthyr Mawr Church.

1984: The living of Ewenny had been designated a suspended benefice and the priest in charge of Ewenny was Rt. Rev . David Reece, Assistant Bishop of Llandaff.

Festival of Britain Guide to Ewenny Priory, 1951!  

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