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The River Wye


Llanfrother, Hentland


In 1334 this was Henfresroudre which may have derived from 'the old place of the brethren'. The name of Dyfrig's first monastery was in the 6th century Hennlan super ripam Gui - 'the old church on the River Wye'.  The identification of Llanfrother rather than Hentland with the original monastic site is suggested by the fact that Llanfrother overlooks the Wye while Hentland itself is some distance away.

In the entry for Hentland in Casseys Herefordshire directory for 1858 the site is mentioned - 'in certain pastures belonging to a farm in this parish, there is a place which to this day is called Llanfrawter . The Church of the Convent of the Brethren'.  The entry continues with an early cropmark description 'At particular seasons, the foundations of extensive buildings may still be traced on the summit of the eminence rising from the Western bank of the Wye; all the materials, however that were above ground, have been used for the construction of walls etc'.

Dyfrig is said to have spent seven years at Llanfrother.  It was alleged to have been a large community, with a thousand monks - et cum his mille clericos per septem annos continuos inpodo hennlann super Gui.  While this figure may be an exaggeration, British, like Irish, monasteries could house many monks.  At the battle of Chester (616) 1,200 monks were said to have been slain by thelfrith of Northumbria.  Most of these were apparently from one monastery, Bangor.

Llanfrother was grouped together with the township of Kynaston in Henry VIII's taxation of 1523 - D(e) villat(is) de Kynnarston & Henfrowde.

Extract from the book of Llandaff. Telling of the thousand monks at the monastery and the subjects they studied


Llanfrother on site of Convent - 1st edition OS map. (Convent is here used in the sense of any monastic community not a house of women.)


Deep hollow-way approach to Llanfrother Farm from Hoarwithy. This was certainly here when Llanfrother was a medieval township and may date to before the monastery was founded in the 6th century.


Llanfrother on the tithe map


Potato field at Llanfrother in May 2006. In the distance is the parish of Kings Caple, on the other side of the Wye but still in Archenfield.










Llanfrother fieldwalking



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Wye Valley History pages

maintained by Archenfield Archaeology Ltd


This project was part-financed by the European Union (EAGGF) and DEFRA through the Herefordshire Rivers LEADER+ Programme.