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Abbots of Margam

A list of the known abbots of Margam

William of Clairvaux: 1147-53.
The founding abbot of Margam; he died in 1153.

Andrew:: ?-1155.
Andrew, the second abbot of Margam, died on 31 December 1155.

Conan: c. 1156 until at least 1193.

Roger: occurs as abbot 1193x1203.

Gilbert: ?-1213.
A monk of Kirkstead, he was appointed abbot of Margam by foreign visitors, likely representatives sent by the General Chapter; he occurs as abbot in November 1203 but had resigned from office on 17 June 1213. Gilbert retired to Kirkstead where he died in May 1214.

John of Goldcliff (Golciva): 1213-1236/7.
John was elected to the abbacy in June 1213 and died either in November 1236 or August 1237. He accompanied Stephen of Lexington on his reforming visitation of Ireland to deal with the so-called conspiracy of Mellifont.

John de la War(r)e: 1237-50.
John was a native man and succeeded to the abbacy in 1237 and resigned from office on 29 June 1250.
In July 1253 royal assent was given to his election to the see of Llandaff. He was one of the few Welsh Cistercians to be elevated to the episcopate.

Thomas of Portskewit (Pertchiwet, Perithiwet): 1250-?
Thomas succeeded to office in September 1250 and appears as abbot in 1252 and November 1267.

Roger: occurs as abbot of Margam in 1267x68.

Gilbert: appears as abbot 1270x95.

Roger: is mentioned as abbot c. 1305.

Thomas: occurs as abbot July 1307 and 1308.

John de Cantelo: appears as abbot in February and November 1326, and in January 1330x31.

Henry: occurs in 1352.

Dafydd (David) ap Rice: occurs as abbot in August 1371.

John: occurs as abbot in 1384, June 1385, and 1390.

John: appears as abbot in March 1413.

William Muryk (Meuruck, Meyrick): is mentioned as abbot of Margam in October 1415 and until April 1423.

Thomas Frankelen [Franklin:] appears as abbot in 1433, March 1441 and on various occasions until April 1460. He had previously presided as abbot of Neath and had reversed the abbey's fortunes.

William Corntoun: occurs as abbot in June 1468 until January 1485. He was praised for his wisdom by the bard, Lewis Glyn Cothi.

John Hopleyn: mentioned as abbot of Margam in September 1487 until 1497.

Thomas: appears as abbot 1493x1500. He had previously presided as abbot of Neath.

Dafydd (David) ap Thomas Appowell or ap Howell (ap Thomas ap Howel, ap Hywel): occurs as abbot of Margam in February 1500 and on several occasions until October 1517. He reputedly had several illegitimate children.

John Griffith (Gruff', Gruf'): appears as abbot seemingly in August 1416 although Smith (Heads of Religious Houses, 3, 311) notes that this date is rather problematic. There are various references to John as abbot of Margam until August 1528. By 1534, but not before 1533, John was presiding as abbot of Grace Dieu.

Lewis Thomas (Lewis ap Thomas): ?-1536.
Lewis appears as abbot in August 1528 and presided over the house until its dissolution 23-24 August 1536. He was praised by the bards who compared Margam to Gloucester and described it as a ' perfect paradise', where 'the sweet sounds of bells and organs' were fused 'in perfect harmony'.

Sites associated with this person

Margam Abbey, Neath Port Talbot

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, I, 940-1216, ed. D. Knowles, C. Brooke and V. London (London, 1972; 2001) pp. 137, 272

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, II, 1216-1377, ed. D. M. Smith and V. London (CUP: Cambridge, 2001) p. 292

The Heads of Religious Houses in England and Wales, III, 1377-1540, ed. David M. Smith (CUP: Cambridge, 2008) pp. 310-311

Robinson, David M., The Cistercians in Wales: Architecture and Archaeology 1130-1540, Society of Antiquaries of London, Research Committee Report (London, 2006) pp. 253-255