The great west door at Strata Florida

Strata Florida

The Westminster Abbey of Wales.

Strata Florida in the snow

Strata Florida was, like its mother house at Whitland, a Norman foundation, which prospered after the Welsh revival. It has been called ‘the Westminster Abbey of Wales’ because of the numbers of princes from the royal house of Dyfed who were buried there. It was also important to the royal house of Gwynedd, and it was here that Llywelyn the Great ordered the lesser princes of Wales to pay homage to his son David.

Strata Florida paid the price for its status as a political centre. As early as 1212, King John was attempting to destroy the abbey. It was badly damaged during the Welsh wars of independence, and an English garrison was quartered there during the Glyndwr uprising.

There were happier times as well: the abbey kept the chronicles of the Welsh nation and gave hospitality to the poets, and Dafydd ap Gwilym, greatest of Welsh lyric poets, is said to be buried there. (The monks of Talley also claimed him: it was a holy end for a man famous mainly for his love poetry, some of it startlingly explicit and some even written to nuns.)

More on the abbey at http://www.monasticwales.org/site/32

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