Run by Cistercian monks, Tintern Abbey was the first Welsh abbey, with construction spanning 400 years from c. 1131–1536. In c. 1250 the Abbey was rebuilt in the Gothic style, designed to emphasize verticality and light, under the patronage of Roger Bigod, the Lord of Chepstow. Tintern Abbey was well endowed, with 3,000 acres of widely dispersed arable land, which was divided into agricultural granges, or units, worked by lay-brothers and local people. There was also ample grazing land for the numerous sheep. The Abbey had fishing rights on the River Wye, which flowed to the east. It had also been bestowed manor houses (including one by Roger Bigod) and a mill. There was an infirmary to look after the secular sick and a cluster of churches. In Trelleck there was a sacred spring, rumoured to be connected to a nearby nunnery by a secret tunnel.
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