The Tintern Village Website

Summer 2003


Dear Friends

For some weeks I have been feeding on the early chapters of Luke's account of Jesus, and I've enjoyed a feast by doing so. I'd like to share one thought with you, gleaned from Chapter 7, verse 30. Perhaps by way of introduction I should state that all of us pay great attention to the actual words of Jesus. If we really want to know the Truth, that's where we go. The linking of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit - what God wants us to know as human beings - comes to us from the mouth of Jesus of Nazareth.

So we'd better listen and act on what He says. Jesus is talking to 'the crowds' about John, we call 'the Baptist', or 'the Baptisin'. Probably he said these things to lots of crowds over a period of time. The people must have wondered about the relationship between John and Jesus. John looked so different to normal people and behaved in a strange way - he was making a claim to be like the prophets of hundreds of years past. Jesus says "Yes," and "he was more than a prophet" (verse 20). John was the herald, the messenger, who would prepare the way for the Son of God who would be Son of Man and Messiah.

Many people, hearing Jesus, saw that this was true. They, despite their sins, for they were tax-collectors, and violent zealots, and many ordinary, poor, sinful people, were so ready for God to help them, that they went, confessing their sins, and got baptised by John. And so they were prepared for Jesus to come. But there were others (verse 30). By refusing to be baptised by John, "the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves."

I want to ask you to think about yourself, in front of God, - for you always are in front of Him, "Are you rejecting God's purpose for yourself?"

We Christians know that, from the beginning 2000 years ago, we who know Jesus, have said "Jesus is Lord". He is over all things we will ever know or encounter. Can you say "Jesus is Lord?" And, if you can, what are you doing to demonstrate that fact in your life? If you are willing, the Holy Spirit, if invited, will help you to do God's Will in your life, and your life can be filled with the purpose God has for you.

Every Blessing this Pentecost,



Len Jones was born in Tintern at Ferry Farm (opposite the Abbey) on December 17th 1920, first of the two sons of Albert and Amy Jones. Len's father was the eldest son of Jack Jones, the founder of J. Jones & Son, the builders, who used the Sawmills (now known as Abbey Mill) as their base. His mother Amy, was originally a Mackie, also from Tintern.

After finishing school at Jones' Endowed School in Monmouth, where he was "Head Boy" in his last year, Len decided that the Sawmills was not for him and he moved to London. Once there he went to work first for the North Metropolitan Electricity board and then in the Aerospace industry.

It was during this period that he met his future wife Joan Dunk at a Tennis club. Joan and Len were married on May 10th 1941 and their first home was a flat in Wembley, not too far from the stadium. While Joan remained in London during the Blitz, Len had by then been called up and served in the RAF (as an armourer in Bomber Command) at various airfields in East Anglia. He often joked that the greatest danger was when home on leave!

In 1943 Joan and Len's son Roger was born. The family stayed in Wembley until the arrival of the first "flying bombs" at which time, in 1944, Joan, with her son came to Tintern to live with Len's parents - Albert and Amy Jones, who by now had moved to "The Bay", opposite the Sawmills.

When Len was demobbed from the Air Force they used their savings to take over what had been "Wheelers" Newsagents in the centre of the village. Running the shop was from the beginning a joint effort, with Joan and Len fully involved in serving behind the counter, delivering newspapers either by foot or using the (t)rusty bike. In all, they ran the newsagents for 50 years before finally retiring.

Away from the shop, Len continued his interest in sport, and as time went on became involved in Local Government. This led to quite a full life and included:
Founder membership of the Tintern Cricket Club (Wicketkeeper and Left Handed Bat)
Many years at Left Back with Tintern Abbey A.F.C.
Secretary of the East Mon Football League. During his period of office, he built up the finances of the league to the extent they were the largest in the county, exceeding the Newport and District and County Leagues combined.
Member of the Monmouthshire County F.A.
Representing Tintern on the Rural District Council for many years.
Clerk to the Tintern Parish Council for 30 years.

Although he was the first to say he got a lot of satisfaction from these activities, they were quite time consuming, when done properly, with an eye on "the right thing to do" and the good of the village he spent his life in.

Joan and Len's retirement was marked by Joan's increasingly poor health, but they were able to quietly celebrate a Diamond Wedding on May 10th 2001. This period in their life could not go without acknowledging the unceasing care for Joan that Len provided.

Len continued on life's journey alone, maintaining his interest in current affairs, astrology and space exploration, but now his own health was starting to be a problem and he passed away on February 17th 2003 at Chepstow Community Hospital.

With his passing, the mystery of who exploded a whole bundle of 24 "bangers" in the Police Station letterbox, one Guy Fawkes Night in the time of PC Higginson, can be resolved. It was also an example of the sprinting prowess that had one awards in the RAF!

His immediate family survives Len: son Roger, daughter in law Barbara, granddaughters Karen and Alison and Great Grandson Ethan.

Len is buried with Joan in the churchyard at St Michael's, not far from her parents, sisters Ruth Dunk, Grace Law, Len's parents Albert and Amy, and brother Bernard


Please note that the closing date for the Autumn 2003 issue is
SUNDAY 17th August 2003.
Articles and requests for advertisements should be sent to the Editor
David Ford, Monkstone, Chapel Lane, Tintern, tel : 01291-689233

Advertisements in this magazine are charged at :
5 per quarter page per four issues
10 per half page per four issues
20 per whole page per four issues
The current print run is 250 copies

We are looking for cover illustrations for future issues. They need to be black and white on A4 or A5 portrait format (ie upright) paper. The title etc will be added at the production stage. Please discuss any suggestions with the Editor, David Ford, on 689233, or the Publisher, John Bathgate, on 689328.


In March Mr Mike Foster, from Gwehelog near Usk, showed us a video he had taken entitled "Foreign Gardens".
Over the years he has visited many different countries making a wonderful visual catalogue of his travels but concentrating on his main love, the Italianate garden. And here the moving camera was perfectly suited to wander through the cypress and lemon trees and between the stone balustrades, so the evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

April brought us a similar wander round the world by another superb photographer, Mr Colin Titcombe. This time the talk revolved round "Wildlife in Holy Places". Mr Titcombe kept us all enthralled and the members again enjoyed an excellent evening.

Our May outing took place on the sort of wet miserable day that left you uncertain as to whether or not the outing would even start. However eleven brave members turned up at the Speech House woodlands car park to meet our guide, Mr Peter Ralph. He gave us the choice of bluebells or sculptures and we chose the latter. We set off under grey skies to be shown around many of the items on the "Sculpture Trail". We did have some drizzle but mostly we remained dry. Our guide gave us an excellent walk and talks on the sculptures, trees and aspects of forest life. A very enjoyable evening rounded off for some with an excellent meal at the Butcher's Arms in Clearwell.



The Easter Bingo was a great success. Many thanks to all who came. Players came from far and wide, Llandogo, Chepstow and Shirenewton to name a few.

Members are looking forward to visitors from Chepstow joining them at their next Bingo session.


The W.I. meets on the third Monday of the month in the Village hall at 2:00pm.
Members enjoyed their April visit to the Raglan Garden Centre where the plants were a joy to behold. July's meeting will have a representative from the Guide Dogs for the Blind association with his four footed friend. I have been to one of these talks and it was most interesting. Do come.

August is usually a Garden Party, hopefully with good weather. The food is very good and so is the company.

The Village Hall Soup Lunches, which the W.I. cooks, are going down well. The next lunch is on June 4th when the pudd will be that great favourite, Fruit Pavlova. Do come, 3 is very good value for Soup and a Pudd.

Jean Davey


Well, it is nearly June already - practically half the year gone and haven't we had strange weather this year? People ask if the lovely warm spring will mean a good crop of grapes. I think the answer is 'Not necessarily.' We really need the hot weather is June, July and August - not February, March and April!

However, the warm, fine weather in April was ideal for lambing, as lambs hate cold, wet weather. We now have about 100 lambs on the farm and some of these took part in the 'Woolly World Sheep Exhibition', which we hold at the end of April. I think everyone who visited enjoyed it - especially the children who were able to bottle-feed some of the lambs. Visitors to the Nativity scene in December will be glad to know that Rebecca (the Jacob sheep in the Nativity scene) had a lovely black lamb and they were part of the 'Woolly World' exhibition.

We are now working to prepare for our second Annual Art Exhibition. This will take place from Saturday 24th May until Sunday 8th June, every day from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Once again we have some lovely works (many of which are for sale) produced by local artists. Everyone is welcome to visit and, of course, sample the wine at the same time. Entry to the Exhibition is free, but we are making a collection on behalf of H.A.P.P.A. at Brockweir.

Judith Dudley


Scaffolding that has covered much of the South Aisle for years will soon be dismantled to reveal the historic window openings in their restored glory, although some scaffolding will remain at lower levels to allow the lean-to roof to be re-tiled.

The first phase of a planned ten-year programme of conservation led by stonemasons from Cadwraeth Cymru- Cadw's Works arm - is nearing completion at Tintern Abbey.

The stonemasons, managed by John Shipton of Cadwraeth Cymru, and led by Alan Cornish, with Kevin Ackerman and Michael Evans, have crafted more than 90 pieces of new stone (some weighing in excess of 300 lbs) to replace badly eroded original mouldings. Many hundreds more have been painstakingly repaired.

Future work will include repair of the famous West Front, the Monks Refectory and the east end.

The new church at Tintern Abbey was started in 1269 and was not finished until the early years of the 14th century. For the monks to build on such a grand scale they needed the patronage of Roger Bidgod, fifth Earl of Norfolk and Lord of Chepstow Castle. He helped to ensure that the design of the building was in the most up-to-date style, drawing upon the pioneering Westminster Abbey and old St. Paul's Cathedral.
The windows provide drama and interest in the abbey church. Their style ranges from geometric at the east to decorated at the west.

Mial Watkins, the head of Cadwraeth Cymru said: "The end result is superb and a testament to the skills of our craftsmen who have dedicated the last two years to this intricate and detailed project. We hope that with the removal of the scaffolding, local people and visitors alike will marvel at the restored splendour of this prominent section of Tintern Abbey."


There are four wood sculptures at the Old Station, including one carving of the sixth century ruler, St. Tewdrig. There are also carved images of wildlife, which form part of a country trail in Tintern.

Historic figures from Monmouthshire's ancient past have been depicted in two wood sculptures at the Old Station in Tintern. The hand-carved statues of Geoffrey of Monmouth and King Arthur of Silures were unveiled this week by Councillor John Major, chairman of Monmouthshire council.

The two new sculptures will form part of a history trail through the Wye Valley, which will take visitors on a path once used by these historic figures.






Moss Cottage on the Chepstow to Tintern road overlooked the Wye and was a quaint haven for tourists. The Duke of Beaufort's steward, Osmond Wyatt, built it at the bottom of the Wyndcliffe in 1828. He also had 365 steps built from the new road at the bottom to the top of the Wyndcliffe. Before the road separated them, the Wyndcliffe was the highpoint of the Piercefield walks. Its' climbers were, and still are, rewarded by spectacular views.

James Dobbs and his four-horse coach was a familiar sight in the summers of the late nineteenth century. He drove tourists on return journeys from Chepstow to Tintern and was much respected. The trip gave visitors an hour at the Wyndcliffe and Moss Cottage and two hours to explore Tintern. Moss Cottage provided a pretty place to take tea. This was taken at a table made from a walnut tree that once grew in Chepstow Castle ditch.

James Dobbs was presented with a silver mail horn in 1875 for his gentlemanly conduct as a coach driver. He continued his coach service to Tintern until his death in 1893.

In the late eighteenth century, the keys to the Abbey were in the custody of the landlord of the Beaufort Arms. This has recently changed its' name to the Abbey Hotel and is opposite Tintern Abbey. Travelling leisurely along the road, William Makepeace, who toured the Wye Valley from Chepstow to Hereford in 1842 described the moment when Tintern Abbey came into view. "A turn of the road brings you in sight of the green valley in which among orchards and little cottages reposing under its' shadow, the noble Abbey of Tintern rises up in a beautiful air of repose and comfort."

Travelling into Tintern you would come to the Royal George, which was once an old coaching inn and had a large millpond, which is now a car park. The beautiful gardens of the Royal George are a picturesque setting for weddings and functions. The old police station (1910) adjoined the Abbey store opposite the Royal George, and this is now the doctor's surgery.

Further along the village the Rose and Crown was a familiar sight with its large chestnut tree, and then the Moon and Sixpence. This was known as the Masons Arms for over a hundred years until renamed in 1948.

St. Mary's Parish church on Chapel Hill was rebuilt in 1866 but it has since closed and is now derelict. St. Michael's church is on the bank of the river Wye. Tintern, although known as a single large village, was composed of two parishes, Tintern Parva and Chapel Hill. The occupants of the latter gave it an alternative common name of Abbey Tintern.

Trows carried goods to Chepstow and Bristol; Oak bark was transported to Ireland for the tanning industry. The Ferry arch is by the Anchor Hotel, leading to a track called Abbey Road, which carried on to Madgett and St. Briavels (1906). The Anchor is the hotel nearest to the Abbey and attracts many visitors.

Visiting Tintern in the twenty-first century, has now become a more comfortable experience, but is no longer so leisurely.

David Ford


Nine times out of ten, life seems to work out for the best,
Nine times out of ten you let things rest.
Providence will sort them out without your helping hand,
Perhaps not exactly in the way that you had planned,
But in a wiser way and from a broader point of view,
So do not try to force events or push your own plans through.
Cease to worry, trust and pray, though things look black as night,
Nine times out of ten you find that everything comes out right.


To be of no character is dangerous. Religion, of which the rewards are distant, and which is animated only by taste and hope, will guide, by degrees, out of the mind unless it is invigorated, and reimpressed, by external ordinances, by stated calls to worship and the salutary influence of example.

Dr. Samuel Johnson. Submitted by Kay Heron.

A dog goes into the job centre and asks for help in finding a job. "With your rare talent," says the assistant, "I'm sure we can get you something at the circus." "The circus?" echoes the dog. "What would a circus want with a plumber?"


Sign in the doorway of Stella Bookshop, Tintern:
'Unattended children will be rounded up and sold as slaves.'