Margam Abbey

St Mary's is the surviving nave of a major Cistercian Abbey founded in the 12th century.

About this church

Ancient carved stones reveal this sit was used for Christian worship in pre-medieval times. It was not until 1147, when the Cistercians received land from Robert, Earl of Gloucester and Lord of Glamorgan that an abbey was built.

In 1188, whilst on a recruitment drive for the third crusade, Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, visited Margam Abbey in March 1188. Gerald of Wales accompanied him and kept a journal of the visit.

Margam was 'the most generous of all Cistercian foundations in Wales', offering hospitality to travellers and people in need by ensuring the abbey had food whenever there was famine locally. And there was certainly a belief that God rewarded the monks for their generosity. One time local people and the monks were close to starvation when suddenly the crop in a field belonging to the abbey miraculously ripened a month early, sustaining everyone until Autumn when the main crops ripened.

Later the abbey became known for its patronage of Welsh poets. It was dissolved under King Henry VIII, enabling Sir Rice Mansel of Gower to buy most of the monastic estate by the early 1540s.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here

Visitors information

  • Level access throughout
  • Car park at church
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Church shop or souvenirs

Other nearby churches


St Cynwyd

The medieval church at Llangynwyd had a rood screen with a carving of the Crucifixion which was so powerfully carved that it was believed to be capable of performing miracles.

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