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Monastic Baths

A Grade II* Listed Building in Margam, Neath Port Talbot

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Latitude: 51.5685 / 51°34'6"N

Longitude: -3.7284 / 3°43'42"W

OS Eastings: 280304

OS Northings: 186925

OS Grid: SS803869

Mapcode National: GBR H6.DDWJ

Mapcode Global: VH5H2.BT9Z

Entry Name: Monastic Baths

Listing Date: 25 April 2000

Last Amended: 25 April 2000

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 23274

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Located on the W bank of the Afon Cwm Bach, on the E side of a track. To the N, the track bends round sharply to the E, over the river, and on to Cwm Maelwg Farm.

County: Neath Port Talbot

Town: Port Talbot

Community: Margam

Community: Margam

Locality: Cwm Bach

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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A complete medieval bath house, probably C14-15. Though probably connected with Margam Abbey, it is most likely to have been a baptistry for the local population who worshiped at the nearby Hen Eglwys. However, it is also known as Fynnon Gyffyr (medicinal spring) and it may have been used in earlier times for healing.


Rectangular structure of rubble stone with keeled vaulted roof covered in vegetation. The N and W sides are built into the bank, while the S and E sides are free-standing. The ground slopes down sharply to the E towards the Afon Cwm Bach which finally leads into the abbey fishpond (now lake). Shallow pointed arched entrance to S end. Head of narrow raked stones and a triangular keystone, resting on impost blocks. Sockets at spring level, probably for a door or gate. One small lancet window to E side.


The E window has wide splayed reveals and a stone sill. Wide recess in W wall and bench to N end. L-shaped pool surrounded by paving and with steps leading down from the S end. Water inlet channel to the N.

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade II* as an unusual and complete survival of a medieval baptistry and holy well.

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Other nearby listed buildings

  • II* Hen Eglwys
    Located on the hillside, Graig Fawr, north of Margam Park. Accessed by a footpath which leads SW off the road along Cwm Bach. In a prominent and spectacular position.
  • II Stones Museum
    Within the churchyard and adjoining the W boundary wall near the NW corner.
  • II Arch over Culvert
    The culvert receives water from the cascade to the NE, beyond which is the lake. The ground slopes down sharply to the S but becomes flatter where the water passes underground.
  • II Middle Lodge
    Located on the N side of the road which leads to St Mary's Abbey Church. A further lane runs to the rear up towards Cwm Bach. In a slightly raised position with a retaining wall to the front.
  • II Kitchen Garden Walls including Vinery Glasshouse
    The kitchen garden wall forms the N boundary of the gardens and flanks the lane leading to the abbey. A wall at right angles runs S to the Vinery Glasshouse.
  • II Churchyard Walls and Gate Piers to St Mary's Abbey Church
    Enclosure walls to a large, roughly rectangular churchyard to the N of the abbey church. It projects round to the W and incorporates the entrance gates.
  • II Almshouses
    Located on the S side of the lane which leads off the A48 to St Mary's Abbey Church. The almshouses are opposite the churchyard entrance.
  • I St Mary's Abbey Church
    Located at the end of a short lane which runs NE off the A48. The Stones Museum is within the churchyard. The S doorway faces into Margam Park.

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