After a successful year of events, St Mary’s Priory Church, Made in Monmouthshire and Criw’r Efail are holding a festive market in the Prince of Wales Courtyard, alongside the Tithe Barn on Saturday, 7th December 2019.


Over 30 local artists and makers will be joined by St Mary’s Priory Choir and local musicians such as Rivers and Roads, Jim Ramsey as well as some jazz, country music, a local children’s choir and more.  There will also be some warming mulled wine, cider, mince pies and other hot drinks all within the beautiful setting of the courtyard.

Reflecting on the initiative over 2019, Canon Mark Soady, Prior of St Mary’s Priory said,

It has been a real partnership approach in promoting the creative talents of local makers and artist and their roles in keeping alive traditions that have shaped the landscape.

We are pleased to provide our Benedictine hospitality to all.


The event is also working with Abergavenny Food Bank and will be taking offerings from members of the public  on the 7th December 2019.  Items can be left at the base of the Nativity Crib in the Courtyard on the day.

Aneurin Bevan Health Board will also be raising awareness on loneliness and well-being over Christmas and across the year, with Crafting for Cancer also in the Courtyard. The Tithe Barn will also be open where you can view the Tapestry, meet our Artist-in-Residence and learn about the activities of the Welsh Language  Centre.

The event will start at 10am and finish at 5pm with car parking nearby as well as the town’s bus and rail station.

The events in 2019 have been supported in-kind by local business Chris Jones Regeneration.


We are very excited to announce that Jeremy Thomas , our Artist-in-Residence will move his studio in to the Tithe Barn in November. Jez will take the space vacated by the Tourist Information Centre, following the decision of Monmouthshire County Council to relocate the centre.


Jez at work in his current studio

Jez is currently working on painting thirty scenes from the Gospels, as part of our Proclaiming it afresh initiative.  He has already completed the first eleven.


The Annunciation to the BVM  (c) Jez Thomas

You can read about Jez and his work  here

Welcoming the news the Prior, Canon Mark Soady said

“Over the centuries the Tithe Barn has been used for many things after it ceased to be the store of the tithes collected by my predecessors, but never before has it housed an artists studio. Given it is a heritage centre were better to have an art studio. Jez will bring a special something to an already special building.”

Jez Thomas also commented

“I’m really looking forward to moving to the tithe barn where I’ll be working as an artist in residence. It will be good to be on hand to talk about our project thus far. Mostly I’m looking forward to working more closely to my spiritual home, St Marys.”


One of our Learning Service Volunteers today received the High Sherrif’s Award for Voluntary Service. The Award was presented to Majel Lee  by HM High Sheriff for Gwent, Dame Claire Clancy at the Priory today.


Congratulating Majel, Canon Mark Soady said,

Majel is a very keen and enthusiastic ambassador for, and worker with the Learning Service. This award is justly deserved!


We are again pleased to be an official supporter of the Food Festival.  We will again host a larger number of the stalls in our courtyards and Master classes in the Priory Centre.


If you are looking for an  oasis of calm-  why not try Traditional Tea on the Vicarage Lawn, available on the Saturday. The Priory Church is also open for those looking for a piece of quiet or wanting to visit our magnificent monuments. During the Festival there will be a display of a replica of the Turin Shroud and Jez Thomas’ Gospel Art will also be on display.

Again this year we will be supporting local Syrian Refugees by giving them space to sell their baked foods.

Our volunteer guides aim to deliver an inspiring and entertaining tour of St Mary’s Priory Church and the Beautiful millennium Tapestry. Step inside into “The Westminster Abbey of Wales” and be transported by our tour guides as they inspire you with the monuments and medieval effigies surviving within it. Be led through the church to our Jesse which is unique in Britain and described by Tate Britain as one of the finest medieval sculptures in the world. Our guides will fill you with knowledge of all parts of our church and town throughout your visit.

To add to your experience at St Mary’s you can also have the chance to see our magnificent Tapestry situated in the Tithe Barn. In the tradition of the great Bayeux Tapestry, it tells the story of Abergavenny on a grand scale.  The masterpiece became a labour of love for the team of over 60 ladies who worked on it, Stitchers viewed their work on the tapestry as “painting with wool”. The tapestry is viewed by people who travel far and wide to see the impressive display. Ending with our intriguing exhibition giving visitors an interactive history of Abergavenny.

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For information on booking a tour with us please contact:

01873858787 / manager@stmarys-priory.org

“Wonderful history, heritage and hospitality” 

“Highlight of Abergavenny”

“This is a must-see place if you’re nearby.”  

Here at St Mary’s Priory we are proud to be able to say our caterers are ‘Sugar Loaf Catering’ a family ran business who have won Caterer of the Year at The Food Awards Wales 2019. Sugar Loaf catering provide us with catering for all our events in the Priory Centre whether you are having a small intimate dinner party, corporate event or a beautiful wedding, you will get service with a smile and fantastic food made with local ingredients. food awards


Building on the success of the first courtyard event held in December, the next market is being held on Saturday, 4thMay 2019 in the Prince of Wales Courtyard at St Mary’s Priory Church.

A partnership between St Mary’s Priory Church, Made in Monmouthshire and the Welsh Centre of Excellence, the aim is promote the creative talents of local makers and artists and their roles in keeping alive traditions that have shaped the landscape, as well as well Welsh language and culture. It will also highlight St Mary’s Priory as a place to visit, enjoy and learn about its 1000 years of heritage and religion.

The Spring event will see over 20 local artists and makers joined by musicians including a local harpist, jazz quartet and an acoustic session from a Priory Session musician, amongst others.  Cymraeg i Blant will also be organising a craft/story and rhyme time session in the Tithe Barn.

Welcoming the second courtyard market, Canon Mark Soady, Prior of St Mary’s Priory said, “With Spring in the air our minds switch to alfresco eating drinking and shopping. The Prince of Wales Courtyard is an ideal place to while way a glorious Spring Bank Holiday weekend.”

Jan Thomas of Made in Monmouthshire also commented

“We are thrilled to be involved in another Courtyard event and this year have two more events planned for later in the year.”

Rhiannon Davies, Welsh Language Officer with the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board at the Welsh Centre of Excellence said

“We are delighted to be a part of this exciting initiative and look forward to engaging with members of the public and teaching them some useful Welsh phrases”.

The event will start at 10am and finish at 5pm with car parking nearby as well as the town’s bus and rail station. The Tithe Barn will also be open where you can view the Tapestry and learn about the activities of the Welsh Centre of Excellence.

The event is being sponsored by local business Chris Jones Regeneration.