Founded in 1141 by Maurice de Londres as an offshoot of Gloucester’s Benedictine abbey, Ewenny Priory’s austere church, presbytery and transepts are the finest surviving examples of Norman Romanesque architecture in this part of Wales. Also notable are the settlement’s uncharacteristically robust defences, consisting of impressive walls and gates that can still be seen today.
It’s unclear exactly why a small and comparatively insignificant place like Ewenny would require such fortifications: were they built for show rather than defensive purposes? While the protective walls probably had little to do with it, Ewenny Priory has enjoyed a long and active life – the Norman nave still serves as the local parish church.
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