The Church and Cloisters
The core buildings in the Abbey's Inner Precinct were the Church and Cloisters and these were uncovered by Stephen Williams in 1887-90. The excavations lay open for a number of years and then in 1931 they were taken into the care of the state, as a Guardianship Monument, run by the then Ministry of Works. Today that responsibility is vested in Cadw, the Welsh Government's heritage organisation who have a small site museum and visitor reception open from Easter to late Autumn. At other times the site is open access. Further details can be found on the Cadw website.
The main source of information for this complex is the Cadw guidebook written by David Robinson with contributions by Colin Platt and the original excavation report written by Stephen Williams and published in 1889 with an addition in 1890. The guidebook contains some very helpful reconstruction drawings by Terry Ball.
In essence what Williams revealed and the Ministry of Works consolidated is the lower courses of the masonry walls of the full length of the Abbey Church, about 80% of the Cloister Garth (open yard surrounded by a covered walkway) and the range of buildings on the east side of the Cloister, notably the Chapter-House from which the Abbey was run. Very few more substantial pieces of architecture survive, but a large piece of the west wall of the church with its magnificent and highly distinctive arch is still standing.