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Neath Abbey; photographic copy of an undated reconstruction drawing produced by Dylan Roberts.

Neath Abbey was initially founded in 1130 for a community of Savigniac monks and in 1147 was absorbed into the rapidly expanding Cistercian monastic order.

By the end of the twelfth century a stone church and accompanying cloister buildings were completed. From the early 1220s, the monks began to outgrow these early structures and began a process of rebuilding, with a new abbey church being commissioned in the late thirteenth century.

The abbey was suppressed in 1539 and the Tudor family began to build a house over the south-east corner of the former monastic complex, which remained in use until it was abandoned and fell into decay in the early eighteenth century.

As industry began encroaching upon the site, the buildings became more ruinous, covered in screens of brambles and ivy. The site was first explored and cleared in the first half of the twentieth century and in 1944 the ruins were placed in the care of the state.

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