Monastic Wales.

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Thomas Pennant , Abbot of Basingwerk

Active: c. 1481-1522   

A member of a leading North Wales family, he established Basingwerk as a centre of patronage of the Welsh bards and did much to restore the fortunes of the house. A number of poems praise his hospitality, the building works he completed and his other achievements.

Thomas was renowned for his generosity and his patronage of the bards. The poet, Tudur Aled (d. 1536), described Abbot Thomas as 'a godly man with a fine taste for minstrelsy and a generous patron of the bards'. Tudur Aled composed one of the finest poems, a cywydd, for Abbot Thomas, who was responsible for buildings at Holywell. It is likely that the marginal notes written in yellow ink in the Black Book of Basingwerk were inserted by Abbot Thomas. Thomas's third son, Nicholas, was the last abbot of Basingwerk.

Sites associated with this person

Basingwerk Abbey, Flintshire (abbot)

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

H. L. J. and J. W., 'Basingwerk Abbey', Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1:2 (1846) p. 114

Jones, Arthur, 'Basingwerk Abbey', in Historical Essays in Honour of James Tait, ed. J. G. Edwards, V. H. Galbraith and E. F. Jacob (Manchester, 1933) p. 176

Lloyd-Morgan, Ceridwen, 'Manuscripts and the monasteries', in Monastic Wales: New Approaches, ed. Janet Burton and Karen Stöber (University of Wales: Cardiff, 2013), pp. 209-227

Robinson, David M., The Cistercians in Wales: Architecture and Archaeology 1130-1540, Society of Antiquaries of London, Research Committee Report (London, 2006) p. 266

Williams, David H., The Welsh Cistercians (Leominster, 2001) p. 69

Williams, David H., 'Basingwerk Abbey', Cîteaux, 32 (1981) p. 100

Archival sources

National Libray of Wales, 'Black Book of Basingwerk', (Document), (View website)

National Library of Wales, 'Grammatical treatises', (Document), (View website)