Monastic Wales.

Event detail for site: Llandovery

c. 1185: Dissolution

Rhys ap Gruffudd of Deheubarth (the Lord Rhys) expelled the brethren on account of their misconduct.

Gerald of Wales (d. c. 1223) records how he had heard about the immorality of the Llandovery monks from Rhys ap Gruffudd when he visited the prince on behalf of Henry II (1154-89). Rhys explained that the burgesses in his castle were on the verge of retiring to England since their wives and daughters were openly abused by the monks, and that one of the young monks had actually castrated himself in the hope that this would make him chaste. His efforts were however futile since he was 'far more given to lust and filthiness than all the rest of them'. The monks hoped to be reconciled with the prince and asked Gerald to mediate on their behalf. He conceded and Rhys duly agreed to give the monks another chance to mend their ways. Alas, little changed. The monks were expelled soon thereafter and at the behest of the prince and bishop of St David's they were replaced by clerks.

This did not mark the end of the recriminations for one of the leading miscreants allegedly secured illicit custody of a cell in Brecon that belonged to Great Malvern and violated a nun there. The offender was accused before the chapter, excommunicated by the archdeacon and expelled from the region.

People associated with this event

Gerald of Wales; Giraldus Cambrensis , archdeacon of Brecon (commentator)

Rhys ap Gruffudd , prince of Deheubarth (expels)

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

The Autobiography of Gerald of Wales, ed. H. E. Butler (Boydell and Brewer: Woodbridge, 2005) p. 85

Cowley, F. G., The Monastic Order in South Wales 1066-1349 (Cardiff, 1977) pp. 38-39

Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis), Giraldi Cambresensis Opera, Rolls Series, 21, 8 vols, ed. J. S. Brewer, J. F. Dimock and G. F. Warner (London, 1861-1891) vol. 4, p. 100

Other events in the history of this site

c.1110 (pre 1126)Foundation - Richard fitz Pons granted the church of his castle at Llandovery with two carucates of land to the monks of Great Malvern, Worcestershire, to establish a cell.  [2 sources]
c.1165Patronage - The Lord Ryhs assumed patronage of the priory. [1 sources]
c.1185Dissolution - Rhys ap Gruffudd of Deheubarth (the Lord Rhys) expelled the brethren on account of their misconduct. [3 sources]