A Monk and an Art Historian
THE ABBEYS OF SOUTH WALES
Tintern, Ewenny, St Marys Abergavenny, Margam, Neath, Llanthony
Wednesday 9 September – Saturday 12 September
– Father Oliver Holt is a Benedictine monk at Douai Abbey, where he is bursar and organiser of concerts in the abbey church. He also sits on the abbot’s council at Douai and the prior’s council at Downside Abbey. He studied English Literature with Nicholas at Oxford, and is knowledgeable about monastic art and architecture.
-The Norman Benedictine Ewenny Priory that inspired Turner to create one of his greatest watercolours.
-St Marys Abergavenny, described as ‘The Westminster Abbey of Wales’, with its finest collection of medieval figure sculptures in the country including a Hastings family member’s effigy who came to her end along the battlements of Abergavenny while in pursuit of her beloved pet squirrel, and The ‘Jesse’ sculpture’, regarded as one of the finest medieval sculptures in the world, exhibited at Tate Britain.
-Margam Abbey and its most important collection of stone Celtic crosses in Britain, as well as a vast twelve-sided 13c chapter-house.
-Neath Abbey, ‘The fairest abbey in all of Wales’, and the river Wye itself, an inspiration for the ‘Picturesque Movement, whose followers included Girtin, Turner and other great English watercolourists.
–Tintern Abbey, explored by William Wordsworth, whose 250th anniversary we celebrate in 2020.
Gliffaes Country House Hotel, Crickhowell
+44 1874 730371
Set in the middle of the Brecon Beacons National Park between the two market towns of Abergavenny and Brecon, Gliffaes Country House Hotel is one of the finest hotels in South Wales. Situated in a spectacular position above the Usk River, this truly charming country house hotel offers comforting log fires, locally sourced food beautifully prepared by Head chef Karl Cheetham, and, thoughtfully appointed and cheerfully elegant interiors. Tucked away in the Brecon countryside on thirty acres of its own grounds, surrounded by the rolling hills of the Black Mountains, the 23-bedroom hotel has been owned and run by the same family for over 70 years. It is the only four-star hotel in the Brecon Beacons.
Inspired by his Grand Tour travels, an extravagant Reverend West decided to blow his family’s fortune on building Gliffaes in Italianate style in 1883, with a campanile and a wide stone terrace overlooking hedge-chequered hills. Now run by Susie and James Suter, who are carrying the hotel into its fourth generation, it is an impeccable example of old-fashioned class. Stucco-embellished ceilings, Delft tile-rimmed fireplaces, polished barley-twist wood, Lewis & Wood fabrics and antique chairs reupholstered in Welsh tweed to blend in with contemporary works of Welsh art.
£1395 members, £1445 non-members, £1395, £221 single room supplement, includes all lectures, tuition and pastoral care by Nicholas Friend and Father Oliver Holt OSB, special visits and transportation during the tour, three nights with breakfast, all lunches and dinners with wine, all coffees and teas: £250 deposit. Please note that this cost excludes train tickets to Bridgend and from Newport.