Ewenny Priory

A splendid example of Norman architecture, virtually unchanged, with an intriguing collection of early tombstones.

About this church

The early medieval inscribed stones suggest there was an early church here, probably timber and wattle.  William de Londres, lord of Ogmore, built the stone church in the 1120s and his son Mauriice established a small community of Benedictine monks here. The family then moved westwards and there was never any money to modernise the church, so it survives as an excellent example of Romanesque architecture.

Walk round the outside and you can see the ruins of the monastic part of the church. The nave with its massive drum pillars would have been used by the local community.  Look carefully and you can see traces of medieval wall painting on the pillars. The glass partition between the nave and the chancel sets the story of the Resurrection in the local area. An empty cross  is surrounded by clouds of glory and the rare local species of butterflies.

The east part of the church (now looked after by Cadw) would have been used by the monks. Here the Romanesque architecture is more ornate and there is a surprising collection of medieval and post medieval tombstones. Early incised crosses lie alongside the beautifully lettered tombs of the de Londres family, a very battered medieval knight and later ledgerstones, all under the glorious Romanesque arcading.

Outside, you can see the precinct wall which would have kept the priory apart from the world. The wall is crenellated like a castle, and the gatehouse is heavily fortified. Was this just for show, or was the building really part of the western defences of the lordship of Ogmore?

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here

Visitors information

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches

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St Teilo

Although our little church is relatively new (built 1848-1852) it was erected on a very ancient site.

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