Cadw is a Welsh word meaning ‘to keep’ or ‘to protect’. And that’s exactly what they do. They are working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales.
Cadw is made up of around 250 people working across a range of disciplines.
Around 100 of their people are custodians — working at monuments in their care — or are part of the in-house teams that undertake conservation and maintenance at our sites.
They have specialist staff, including field monument wardens and inspectors of historic buildings, ancient monuments and historic parks and gardens, who are based all over Wales.
Many of their staff are regularly ‘out and about’ around Wales, visiting sites, meeting the public or local authority representatives — little of Cadw’s work can be done only from behind a desk.
Tintern Abbey is a national icon — still standing in roofless splendour on the banks of the River Wye nearly 500 years since its tragic fall from grace.
It was founded in 1131 by Cistercian monks, who were happy to make do with timber buildings at first. Abbot Henry, a reformed robber, was better known for his habit of crying at the altar than for his architectural ambitions.
A simple stone church and cloisters came later. But then, thanks to the patronage of wealthy Marcher lords, the white-robed monks began to think bigger.
In 1269 they began to build a new abbey church and didn’t stop until they’d created one of the masterpieces of British Gothic architecture. The great west front with its seven-lancet window and the soaring arches of the nave still take the breath away.
So grateful were the monks to their powerful patron Roger Bigod that they were still handing out alms on his behalf in 1535. But by then King Henry VIII’s English Reformation was well underway.
Only a year later Tintern surrendered in the first round of the dissolution of the monasteries — and the great abbey began slowly to turn into a majestic ruin.
Closed: 24th-26th December and 1st January
Note: during extreme weather conditions the attraction may need to close at short notice.
Please note that the abbey church is currently undergoing a programme of conservation and repair work to ensure the continued preservation of the monument. This could affect your visit as some areas have restrict access due to health and safety concerns.