The Abbey Precinct and Buildings

A primary objective of the archaeological work in Phase 1 has been to establish the extent of the original Abbey Precinct and to determine the quality of archaeological survival where very little survives above ground. We have found that the Abbey extent is exceptionally large, in the order of 45 hectares, and that there is a great survival of field remains in both the precinct and its environs. We have undertaken some work of excavation and survey on the precinct boundaries themselves and we are sure that there is the normal division between an Inner and Outer Precincts with the main masonry buildings within the former, as revealed by geophysics and soil survey.

A major focus of our attention has been the gatehouses, in particular the Main Gatehouse between the Inner and Outer Precincts which has seen the largest of our excavations. We have, however, been able to locate two other gates through which two ancient, transmontane routes across the Cambrians enter the Abbey.

Excavation amongst the standing buildings of the Post-medieval plas and farm of Mynachlog Fawr have revealed that they are built out of, or on top of, medieval structures, most notably the Refectory and what may be the Abbot's Lodgings, although not enough of this has been seen.

To the east of Mynachlog Fawr farmhouse are extensive earthworks which clearly the remains of other Abbey buildings, but there are few clear outlines of structures visible in the RCAHMW survey and it seems likely that they also reflect changes when the area was part of the formal landscape of the 16th to 18th centuries in the time of the plas. However, we have conducted four trial excavations locating traces of the post-medieval garden and the remains of two medieval structures: a water-powered mill or forge; and what seems to be part of the Infirmary complex in its normal position to the south-east of the Abbey church.

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