Grey Abbey


Joined March 2008

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Wall Art


Artist's Description

Grey Abbey, now in County Down, was founded in 1193 by Affreca, wife of John de Courcy and daughter of Godfred, King of Man. Tradition says that Affreca founded the abbey in thanksgiving for a safe landing after a perilous journey at sea. The abbey was colonised with monks from Holmcultram in Cumberland, with which it maintained close ties in the early years. The construction of the stone church began almost immediately. In 1222 and again in 1237 abbots of Grey went on to become abbots of Holmcultram. The abbey was situated in the Ards Peninsula, seven miles from Newtownards, at the confluence of a small river and the Strangford Lough. The Latin name of the abbey is Iugum Dei, which means ‘Yoke of God’. Little is known of the history of the abbey, though it appears to have been almost completely wrecked during the invasion of Edward Bruce (1315-18) and although rebuilt was dissolved in 1541 and in the same year part of the monastic property was granted to Gerald, earl of Kildare. The monastery was destroyed during the military operations of the Elizabethan era. In 1572, Brian O’Neill burnt Grey abbey in order to stop it being used as a refuge for English colonists trying to settle in the Ards Peninsula. In the seventeenth century the church nave was re-roofed and served as a parish church until 1778. The Grey Abbey gave its name to the village that grew up close by, Greyabbey in County Down, Northern Ireland.

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Artwork Comments

  • ericseyes
  • Smaxi
  • Lillianna
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  • budrfli
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  • Mike Oxley
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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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