Cosmeston is a recreation of a medieval Manor which actually existed in post Norman conquest (of Wales) times just to the west of Cardiff. Only part of the site has been excavated (the rest may be, one day, as I think the land is owned by the local Council) and buildings have been recreated on the sites where they originally stood, based on excavated foundations.
While I was there the place was deserted – weekday, see – it may have had better presentation on a weekend, but the audio guide was reasonably comprehensive.
One of the greatest of the Cistercian foundations in Britain back in the day and extremely wealthy – even the destruction and neglect caused by Henry VIII’s dissolution of the Monasteries couldn’t entirely destroy it … and the ruins are both massive and majestic.
And a sign of just how bloody rich the medieval Catholic Church had become … and why it was such a temptation, one that Henry couldn’t resist.
Coming back from Tintern I decided to stop over at Avebury, Stonehenge’s poor relation – mainly because the latter has become so grossly difficult to access – timed tickets that have to be booked at least several days in advance. And, frankly, unless it’s changed since the last time I was there in 1988 (it was bad enough getting in then), they don’t actually let you anywhere near the main large stones.
Avebury is a larger site, but the stones are less impressive … and, of course, most of them are missing, as is the case at Stonehenge. But access to the stones is free, it’s just the Parking they hornswoggle you with.
Like Stonehenge, all of the stones at Avebury are bluestone – that is, they’re not actually blue, they are simply from somewhere else than where they have been found.