Talley Abbey

If you’ve been reading my blog a while, you’ll know I’m a sucker for an old ruin – be it a castle, an abbey or even a burial mound. So when I was driving through Carmarthenshire in west Wales earlier this summer and saw a sign for Talley Abbey, I made an immediate detour.

I’d never heard of Talley Abbey and knew nothing about it, which made the prospect of checking it out all the more intriguing.

Talley Abbey

Turns out Talley Abbey is an impressive 12th century stone ruin situated in the tiny village of Talley, which lies amid the lush green hills of the Cothi Valley, not far from Llandeilo.

The abbey was founded in the 1180s by the Lord Rhys, Prince of Deheubarth – the man behind some of the area’s most notable castles, including the lovely Carreg Cennen.

Talley Abbey

The abbey was built for the canons of the Premonstratensian order, who were nicknamed the ‘white canons’ on account of their all-white outfits, and it became the only Premonstratensian abbey ever erected in Wales.

Talley Abbey

But a few short years after work began on the abbey, disaster struck when the abbot of nearby Whitland attempted a medieval-style hostile takeover and a legal battle began. While the white canons won, they were also bankrupt and the church was never completed.

The abbey was eventually dissolved by Henry VIII during the reformation and it’s said the stones from the abandoned abbey were used to build much of the village you see today, including the church next door. Today, the abbey’s in the care of Cadw, the Welsh heritage agency.

Ruins of Talley Abbey

On arriving at the abbey, I parked my car in the tiny car park just outside the entrance, then walked down the steps to the abbey grounds. There wasn’t much to see in this part of the abbey other than the brief remains of the walls and a few stone pillars (above).

Talley Abbey

I made my way across the grass to where the remains of the abbey began in earnest and started looking around.

Talley Abbey church

While there isn’t a huge amount still standing, there are a few nooks and crannies to explore and I was impressed by how much of the site was open to visitors.

The back of Talley Abbey

Nothing is off limits, so I was able to get a good view of what remains of the church.

Talley Abbey

Needless to say, as there’s so little of the abbey left, it didn’t take long to walk around the site and see it from every conceivable angle.

Looking up at Talley Abbey

There might not be lots to see at Talley Abbey, but I nevertheless enjoyed my impromptu trip and it was worth taking the short detour to have a quick look around.


Talley Abbey, Talley, Llandeio, Carmarthenshire SA19 7AX
Open daily, 10am to 4pm

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