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Goldcliff (Priory)

also known as: Goldcliff

Order: Benedictine

High above the water and not far from Caerleon there stands a rocky eminence which dominates the River Severn. In the English language it is called Goldcliff, the Golden Rock. When the sun’s rays strike it the stone shines very bright and takes on a golden sheen.
[Gerald of Wales, Journey through Wales, trans. Thorpe, pp. 115-16.]

Goldcliff was established as an alien priory of Bec Abbey, Normandy, by Robert de Chandos, and was later re-founded as a cell of Tewkesbury Abbey. It became the largest and wealthiest Benedictine house in South Wales. The priory church also served as the parish church.show details of standing remains

Dedicated to: St Mary Magdalene Medieval Diocese: Llandaff
Affiliated to: Bec Abbey, Normandy (mother-house); Tewkesbury Abbey (mother-house)
Lordship at foundation: Glamorgan
Access: Private
Owned by: Private

Main events in the history of this site

1113Foundation - The priory was founded and endowed in 1113 by Robert de Chandos, at the instigation of Henry I.  [2 sources]
1143Dispute - Goldcliff was embroiled in a dispute with Bishop Uchtryd of Llandaff (1140-8). [2 sources]
1200Visitation - The abbot of Bec visited Goldcliff and other dependencies. [1 source]
1274Levy imposed - Bec imposed a levy on its dependencies.  [1 source]
1284Visitation - Visitation by John Pecham, archbishop of Canterbury.  [2 sources]
1290Concession - By royal command the house was permitted to hold an annual fair to combat its poverty. [2 sources]
c.1291Wealth - According to the figures recorded for the Taxatio Ecclesiastica of Pope Nicholas IV, Goldcliff’s spirtualities and temporalities totalled £171. [3 sources]
1291Dispute - The prior of Goldcliff was embroiled in a dispute with the priory's patron, Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester. [2 sources]
1295 Royal custody - The house was seized by the king as an alien priory in August 1295. [2 sources]
1297Numbers - At this time numbers had fallen to fifteen. [1 source]
1318Disputed deposition - Prior Ralph was removed from office. [1 source]
1320-1337Debt - The priory was in debt to the sum of £63 13s 4d; its creditor was Philip de Columbariis (Columbers), patron of the house.  [1 source]
1321Custody - Custody of Goldcliff was given to Thomas, the earl of Norfolk. [2 sources]
c.1327Custody - Following the outbreak of the Hundred Years’ War the prior of Goldcliff was permitted to retain custody of the house for the annual sum of £10. [1 source]
1330sSuccession dispute - A long drawn-out dispute over the succession to the priorship dogged the community in the 1330s.  [1 source]
1400Restoration - On 31 March 1400, Goldcliff was formally restored to Prior German de Sancto Vedasto. [1 source]
1410Rejuvenation - Prior German de St Vaast (Vedasto) took steps to regenerate the priory.  [3 sources]
c.1420-45Priorship contended - Prior Laurence de Bonavilla was challenged for the headship of Goldcliff by John Twymyng, a monk of Gloucester. [2 sources]
1424Destruction - Severe storms and flooding destroyed the church. [1 source]
1442Re-foundation - Goldcliff was annexed to Tewkesbury Abbey and refounded as a cell of the English house. [3 sources]
1450x70Dissolution - Monastic life was seriously impeded from c. 1445 but was formally terminated in 1467 and the church was left to ruin. [1 source]
1451 (2 April)Custody - The king granted Goldcliff to Eton College.  [2 sources]
1462 (1 Feb)Custody - Goldcliff was granted once more to Tewkesbury. [2 sources][1 archive]
1467Custody - King Henry reconsidered the custody of Goldcliff and gave it once more to Eton college. [1 source]
+ 21 minor events. Show minor events

People associated with this site

Gerald of Wales; Giraldus Cambrensis , archdeacon of Brecon (commentator)

Hywel ab Iorwerth , lord of Caerleon (advocate)

John Pecham; Peckam; Peckham , Archbishop of Canterbury (conducted visitation)

Morgan ab Owain , lord of Caerleon (patron)

Priors of Goldcliff

Robert de Chandos , Norman magnate (founder)

Bibliographical sources

18 Printed sources

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1 On-line sources

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Archival sources

The National Archives, 'Petitions to the king, council, parliament etc - abbot and monks of Tewkesbury', (Document), (View website)

The National Archives, 'Treasury receipt with seal of Goldcliff appended', (Document), (View website)

Related articles on Monastic Wales

Who were the Benedictines?, Professor Janet Burton

Newport, OS Grid:ST3715681961
View site details on COFLEIN (RCAHMW database)[new window]


 
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