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Background

Strata Florida is WMF Britain’s first project in Wales. A partnership with the Strata Florida Trust was announced in October 2016, championing this extraordinary Cistercian monastery in Ceredigion.

Known to date from the 12th century, but constructed on an ancient site of regional Iron Age and Celtic importance, Strata Florida Abbey has great significance as a place of Welsh hiraeth and cultural identity. It is still known as the ‘Westminster Abbey of Wales’ where eleven early princes of Wales are buried, including Prince Gruffydd ap Rhys II, as is the poet Dafydd ap Gwilym, widely regarded as one the great poets of Europe in the Middle Ages.  The most important primary historical source for early Welsh history, the Brut y Tywysogion, was compiled at Strata Florida, which built a reputation as a centre of medieval learning, poetry and literature.

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The west doorway of the abbey church at Strata Florida

How we are helping

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The monastery comprised an inner precinct of church, cloisters, chapter house, dormitory and refectory, and a vast outer precinct extending over 120 acres.  Beyond this the estate consisted of lands and granges spread extensively across the Cambrian Mountains, reflecting its power over the landscape of mid-Wales and the ancient kingdom of Deheubarth. The monastery was dissolved in 1539 under orders of Henry VIII. The former monastic buildings were subsequently converted to a Gentry house, and later adapted as a farm. The Strata Florida Trust has recently purchased the farm, and we will be working with them to restore these important historic buildings and to tell the wider story.