Still standing

Tintern Abbey in Wales is one of the best preserved ruins in Britain. Left to decay after the Reformation, it has remained a source of fascination for generations of visitors.

Open to the heavens

After the Abbey was dissolved under King Henry VIII's first Act of Suppression, the buildings of the monastery were given to Henry Somerset, Earl of Worcester. He dismantled the roofs to gain valuable lead.

Place of pilgrimage

Beginning in the 18th century, British tourists flocked to places considered to have "Romantic" value, and the Abbey, set among the wooded slopes of the River Wye, became a popular destination.

Romantic ideal

A photograph from the mid-19th century shows the abbey church covered with ivy, adding to its attractiveness for tourists of that time.

Where decisions were made

This area would have been the chapter house where the monks gathered for important meetings and discussions.

Practical considerations

The refectory walls had this niche, where monks would have washed their dishes after eating.

The eternal light

Though left in ruins and devoid of monks, the abbey walls stand as a sign that this once was a place of prayer and work, according to the Rule of St. Benedict.