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The Gardens and Norman Abbey at Penally

From french antique chairs on the sunny terrace, to the ruins of a once mighty medieval Abbey, the colourful grounds at Penally Abbey are a surprising journey of discovery. Guests are very welcome to take a stroll, admire the beautiful flowering plants and ponder some curious history.

The gardens are glorious all year round, but especially vibrant in spring and summer, when the whole village of Penally comes alive with a mixture of local blooms and wildflowers. At the Abbey itself you will see wonderful variety, from the huge petals of magnolia grandiflora, to gangs of cheeky Spanish daisies and pink campion. Unsurprisingly, there are also an abundance of butterflies, bees and songbirds.

St. Deiniol's Church & Early Christian History

For most however, the focal point of the grounds has to be St. Deiniol's Chapel, an intriguing structure that dates back to the 12th Century. Look closely at the masonry and you can observe arches, doors and brickwork from several eras, as well as the remnants of a Flemish Chimney. Owned by the church for centuries, this building also formed the home of eight nuns and their prioress in the early 1300's (who might have been shocked to know that by the 1920's their place of worship would become the property of the Jameson's Whiskey family). 

The site has roots that stretch back even further however, as a 6th century monastic site and focal point for holy men including St Teilo (a disciple of St. David who founded various churches and holy sites in Britain). What was it about this particular site that drew early Christians? Perhaps the waters of St Deiniol's Well next to the abbey could hold part of the answer?