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Builwas abbey is located along the banks of the river Severn, about 2 miles west of Ironbridge.
The Cistercian Abbey of St Mary and St Chad was originally founded in 1135 by Roger De Clinton, Bishop of Coventry (1129 - 48) as a Savignac monastery and was inhabited by a small community of about 6 - 12 monks from Furness who made their income by charging tolls to passing travellers on the bridge over the River Severn.
The abbey's location near the border of Wales meant it had a turbulent history. Welsh Princes and their followers would raid the abbey and on one occasion in 1406 raiders from Powys even kidnapped the abbot. Unfortunate perhaps, but not as unfortunate as an incident in 1342, when one of the Buildwas monks, Thomas Tong, murdered his abbot, managing to evade arrest and then audaciously petitioned for re-instatement into the Cistercian order.
The abbey was finally closed in 1536 by the order of Henry the Eighth during the dissolution of the monasteries, when the estate was granted to Lord Powys.
The abbots house and infirmary were later incorporated into the building of a private house, although the remaining buildings are now in the care of English Heritage and are open to the public, who can view the church which remains largely complete and unaltered since its original construction, although it is now without its roof.
The Church remains rank among some of the best preserved 12th century examples of a Cistercian church in Britain and a row of original Norman columns still remain, as imposing today as they would have looked during the middle ages.
Please see our website for opening times.