Buildwas Abbey's remains sit on the west side
of the Much Wenlock Road, less than a hundred metres south of the River
Severn, facing out over the Ironbridge Power Station site to the east.
It was founded as a Savignac monastery in 1135 by Roger de Clinton,
bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. The Savignac order merged with the
Cistercians in 1147 and the abbey was refounded as the Abbey of St
Mary & St Chad. The earliest buildings date to about 1155.
Those buildings include an unusually unaltered church
of the 1100s, a beautiful vaulted and tile-floored chapter house, and a
recently re-opened crypt chapel. The infirmary and abbot's lodging were
added in the 1220s, and a parlour wing and chapel in the 1300s. The abbey
was never very large or wealthy, supporting a population of only
six-to-twelve monks. Its main income was from tolls charged to travellers
using their bridge across the Severn. It was dissolved in 1536.
All photos on this page kindly contributed by
Sam Weller via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles'