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Photographer's Note

Margam Abbey was founded in 1147 as a daughter house of Clairvaux, a Cistercian abbey in northeastern France, by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The abbey was dissolved by King Henry VIII of England in 1536 and sold, with its extensive grounds, to Sir Rice Mansel. Significant holdings of the monastery library appear to have survived this event, including the Annales de Margan. At this time, only 12 monks were living in the monastery. From the Mansel family the abbey eventually passed into their descendants in the female line, the Talbot family, and in the 19th century C R M Talbot constructed the mansion at Margam Castle which overlooks the abbey ruins. The nave of the abbey continued in use as the parish church, as it does to this day.

On this bright and sunny spring morning, the ruins of the abbey's chapter house are seen on the left in the foreground while the imposing Victorian mansion of Margam Castle is seen in the distance through the remaining mist.

Interestingly, Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot, who built the castle as a luxurious mansion between 1830 and 1840, was the cousin of William Henry Fox Talbot who lived at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire and who became famous as an inventor and photographer, producing the very first negative/positive photographic "calotype" process enabling multiple photographs to be made from a single negative image. And, of course, modifications of the calotype process were used almost exclusively in photography for almost two centuries until the development of electronic digital imaging.

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snunney, macjake, holmertz, Royaldevon, marabu61, alvaraalto, delpeoples has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1985 W: 427 N: 7660] (30513)
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