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Tintern Abbey is a national icon – still standing in roofless splendour on the banks of the River Wye nearly 500 years since its tragic fall from grace. It was founded in 1131 by Cistercian monks, who were happy to make do with timber buildings at first. Abbot Henry, a reformed robber, was better known for his habit of crying at the altar than for his architectural ambitions. A simple stone church and cloisters came later. But then, thanks to the patronage of wealthy Marcher lords, the white-robed monks began to think bigger.

Visit Tintern Abbey.