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The Victorian ruin that is Valle Crucis; the plaque commemorating its restoration is on the south wall of the nave, on the left of this picture.
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View of the 18th-century restored Pillar of Eliseg from the summer lodge at Valle Crucis: both built by squire Trevor Lloyd

Commemorating restoration is a key theme in my research interests at the moment. Notably, the Pillar of Eliseg, near Valle Crucis, Llangollen, has an original 9th-century Latin text, but also a later 18th-century one, recording its restoration and re-erection by T. Lloyd of Trevor Hall.

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Essential rations when visiting Valle Crucis Abbey

There is another restoration commemoration nearby that interests me: at Valle Crucis Abbey itself. Once with second-year students, once with Masters students, and a further time with family, I have been visiting the ruins of the Cistercian abbey at Valle Crucis three times recently.

Incidentally, visiting Valle Crucis is tough. I am forced to purchase Tregroes Waffles, and with the Masters students, I felt compelled to indulge in a modest pork bap with stuffing, roast potatoes and apple sauce at the  Abbey Farm Cafe. My life is a struggle.

Anyway, Valle Crucis is an idyllic spot with beautiful ruins framed by the summer house built by Trevor Lloyd who was also responsible for restoring the Pillar of Eliseg. Indeed, his restoration of the Pillar might have been designed to facilitate its role on the near skyline from his summer house.

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The late 18th-century lodge and restored fishpond at Valle Crucis
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The restoration memorial

In addition to the many dimensions of mortuary and mnemonic dimensions of the ruins and environs, as discussed previously here, there is a striking memorial within the nave. Commemorating the wholesale clearance of rubble (and perhaps also important artefactual and architectural evidence) from the ruins in the 19th century, it reads:

The levelling and clearing out

of this Building

with the permission of the Proprietor

was commenced May 28th 1851

and completed May 14th 1852

Under the superintendence of

Arthur Viscount Dungannon

of Brynkinallt

W.W.E. Wynne, Esq., of Peniarth

R.K. Penson, Esq., Archt. Oswestry.

G. Vernon Price, Valle Crucis Abbey.

This restoration commemoration is an important dimension, augmenting the existing commemorative traditions associated with Valle Crucis; even the wholesale clearance of the ruins was perceived as a restorative act worthy of commemoration. Now worn, its gothic script speaks of Victorian imaginings of the medieval past as reminds us that the ruins are just that: a Victorian creation.

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