Visiting Tintern Abbey


The weather has been quite rough this summer, windy rainy and cold, but for this day the sun has come out and it’s even warm outside. Anyway, I am not used to taking my coat off probably till my holidays in Crete in August and the only thing that cheers me up is knowing that they have the same kind of weather in Estonia 🙂 So our trip around Duncannon takes us to Tintern Abbey today.

1Tintern Abbey was founded in 1200 by Count William of Marshall and it got its name after the bigger namesake in Wales.

In 1541 in became a private property of Colclough family (pronounces as simple as /kookli/) and it was habited till 1959 when the last living old lady gave it back to the government. I guess it wasn’t a too cosy place to live because I could never imagine these thick stone walls to get really warm, rather I can picture this poor old lady with 3 pairs of woollen socks and a huge cup of tea staying in one small kitchen or somewhere near the fireplace.

3One of the vainest family members let to build such kind of a bridge, just only because its decorative and beautiful appearance. And especially decorative it looks seen through the upper window of the Abbey where our tour guide tells us stories about the Colclough family’s history. Yes, we are having a guided tour, so smart. The tour guide makes the place more alive, especially that she knows a lot about the characters and habits of every single person who has lived there.

4That’s how they built the walls during the old times  – the blend between the lattice was made from so many different ingredients that the restoration workers of nowadays were not able to catch up on it. But at least they tried! And it’s possible to see the wall building process in different stages. The guide says that this filling made the walls warm keeping and let the stone breathe. Probably it will make sense for our school’s  construction department 🙂5

This noble place was meant to be the seat of the superior head of the church. Actually, it doesn’t feel too comfortable, but maybe the needs of the medieval deacons were a bit more modest these days. But why not to try, if you have a chance, and the sun is shining really warm, unbelievable and nice.

10The little road that goes through the wood takes you to the Colclough Walled Gardens, which have been restored and trimmed recently and look quite nice. You need to buy a ticket again when entering the gardens, but I think they are collecting money for some more restoration work. The gardens are nice, full of flowers and there’s also an orchard part with vegetables and scarecrow which looks huge and decorative, probably not so decorative for the crows. In Estonia, we call these things not Scarecrows, but Scarepeas, instead, although they are meant to scare the crows, not the peas 🙂11

We take a long walk back and have a look at the Abbey from the other side and cross that decorative bridge.

As our guide pointed out to look up when leaving the Abbey, I remembered to do it. The outer walls were decorated with lots of small statues who were watching down on the ground with a mean look in their eyes. The guide told us that their task was to defend the Abbey against the evil spirits. And as we all know that the evil spirits are always coming from underground, that’s why they have to stare down 🙂


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