Tintern Abbey, Wales
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A cantilevered window to the past. Tintern Abbey, Wales
Set deep in a gorge of the River Wye, Tintern Abbey has an enduring presence. Originally constructed with wood in 1131, in Monmouthshire, Wales, this Gothic masterpiece was rebuilt in stone in 1269 and then abandoned in the 16th century after the dissolution of the monasteries when Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church. Now a national icon, the abbey's mediaeval history was mostly uneventful. As centuries passed, word of the abbey and of its intricate stones and romantic, pastoral setting spread. From painter J.M.W. Turner to poet William Wordsworth, many artists were drawn to the abbey over the years. Interestingly, there's another abbey in County Wexford, Ireland, of the same name. Back in olden days, the one in Wales was often known as 'Tintern Major,' while the Ireland one was called 'Tintern de Voto.'