Tintern Abbey was originally founded by Cistercian monks in 1131 AD. in the reign of Henry I.
Between 1270 and 1301 the Abbey was rebuilt and by the end of the rebuilding, around four
hundred monks lived in the complex. The Black Death arrived in 1349 and affected Abbey life
badly but it continued to operate until 1536. In that year the Abbey was part of the dissolution
of the monasteries under Henry VIII. Within a few years the lead was stripped from the roof and
the building began to decay. The Abbey then became a source of building stone and only in the
eighteenth century was any interest shown in the ruin. Around 1760 the site was cleaned up
and visitors to the Wye Valley began to be entranced with the beauty of the site and
surroundings. Turner was the best known artist to visit Tintern at the end of that century along
with the poet Wordsworth. His poem Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey became
a standard text for English students throughout the English speaking world.