Monastic Wales.

Remnants of Penmon Priory

The church of St Seiriol and the remains of Penmon Priory are thought to have their origins in the sixth century when St Seiriol established a monastic community there.
The monastery suffered destruction under the Viking raids of 971 but notable remnants from this period are two tenth-century crosses which are now preserved in the church of St Seiriol. They likely stood at the entrance to this early monastery.

The present remains date from the twelfth century, when Penmon was a ‘clas’ church and occupied by a native community of clerks. The twelfth-century stone church is the most complete example of a Romanesque church in Gywnedd. The twelfth-century church was cruciform and survives as the nave (unaisled), crossing and south transept of St Seiriol’s. The doorway (c. 1150) shows a dragon on the tympanum.

With the arrival of the Augustinian Canons in the thirteenth century structural changes were needed. The east end of the church was seemingly rebuilt at this time - and rebuilt once more in the fifteenth century and also in the mid-nineteenth century when the north transept was reconstructed.

To accommodate the Augustinian community a cloister was built to the south of the chancel. The three-storey southern range, which is now roofless, originally comprised a ground floor cellar with a refectory above; a dormitory probably occupied the upper level. At the east end of the range stands a sixteenth-century building which seemingly accommodated the canons’ warming house and kitchen; eighteenth-century fittings suggest that it may later have been used as a service building for Priory House. The western range is now occupied by a private dwelling and was probably the site of the prior’s house; nothing remains of the east range. [1]

[1 Coflein database; Cooper, Abbeys and Priories], pp. 73-75]

Monastic sites related to this article

Penmon, Anglesey(Priory)