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Caldey (Priory)

also known as: Ynys Pyr; Caldy

Order: Tironensian

'The same man (Pyrrus) also owned Caldey Island called by the Welsh Ynys Byr, which means the island of Pyrrus.

At the east end of the fortified promontory between the castle and the church a stream of water which never fails winds its way along a valley which is strewn with sand by the strong sea winds. The region is rich in wheat, with fish from the sea and plenty of wine for sale. What is more important than all the rest is that from its nearness to Ireland heaven's breath smells so wooingly there.'
[Gerald of Wales (d. c. 1223), Journey through Wales, trans. Thorpe, pp. 150-1]

Caldey was founded as a dependency of St Dogmaels Abbey by Geva, the mother of Robert fitz Martin. In the early twentieth century monastic life on the island was renewed with the arrival of Anglican Benedictine monks. They subsequently sold the island to Cistercian monks who still occupy the site. Caldey Island can be visited by the details of standing remains

Dedicated to: Unknown Medieval Diocese: St David's
Affiliated to: St Dogmaels (mother-house)
Lordship at foundation: Pembroke
Access: Open to public
Owned by: Island now occupied by Cistercian monks

Main events in the history of this site

c.1115Foundation - The priory was founded c. 1113x15 by Geva, the mother of Robert fitz Martin, as a dependency of her son's foundation of St Dogmaels. [3 sources]
c.1180Numbers - By the late twelfth century the monastic community at Caldey was seemingly small, with just one or two monks.  
1381Clerical poll tax - PHILIP FADIR, prior of Caldy, is assessed to pay a tax of 6s.8d. [1 source][1 archive]
1504Visitation - In July 1504 the see of St David's was vacant and the archdiocese of Canterbury undertook a visitation of St Dogmaels and its daughter-house, Caldey.  [1 source]
c.1535Wealth - According to the Valor Ecclesiasticus the priory had an annual income of £5 10s 11d and tithes of £1 is 11d.  [3 sources][1 archive]
c.1535Numbers - On the eve of the Dissolution there was only one monk on the island. [1 source]
1536Survey - In late September the priory was surveyed in advance of its suppression. [1 source]
1537Dissolution - The priory was suppressed with the lesser houses on 8 April 1537, under the 1536 Act of Suppression.  [3 sources]
+ 6 minor events. Show minor events

People associated with this site

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

Geva de Burci (foundress)

Priors of Caldey

Bibliographical sources

15 Printed sources

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4 On-line sources

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Archival sources

The National Archives, 'Exchequer, King's Remembrancer, Clerical Subsidies - Caldy, 1381', (Document), (View website)

Related articles on Monastic Wales

Remnants of Caldey Priory,

Images of this site

Poll tax return for Caldy, 1381

Priory Church of St Mary and St Illtyd, Caldey

Priory Church of St Mary and St Illtyd, Caldey

Pembrokeshire, OS Grid:SS14059625