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The Ghosts of Talley Abbey

Wales is a country with a long history and a reputation as being a central hub for haunted locations.  No matter what street you walk down in any city in Wales, often admired by tourists and paranormal enthusiasts, you’re likely to run into one place or another around which there are several legends of ghostly goings on.  But there are also more secluded places, such as Talley Abbey just outside of the simple village of Talley that hold ghosts of a different sort entirely.

The simple abbey is little more than ruins now, but there was a time when it was a major religious structure.  In 1126, The Order, as it became known, was established here and approbated by then Pope Honorius II.  Nestling in the Cothi River’s valley it became a center for both religious study and for its powerful reputation as a hub of culture as well.  At the height of Henry the VIII’s reign it was one of some 1,300 monasteries.  But as with so many places where people lived, it soon found itself the center of several rumors.  With the first walls going up around 1185, they stand even today.  But the once beautiful monastery walls are now little more than tombstones of its previous beauty.

After Henry the VIII dissolved the monastery and had the structure dismantled and used for raw materials that would eventually build the better part of nearby Talley, there are those who say the spirits of the monks who died here would follow the structure wherever it went, including the few standing stones left behind in the ruins’ current location.  Soon after the village was built several villagers reported seeing monks walking around at night.  With their faces obscured by long dark robes, they could be seen wandering the streets of the town and chanting softly to themselves as if deeply in prayer.  As time went on, these same monks would periodically haunt in cycles, sometimes with more activity and other times with almost none.

And if the ghosts are not enough, there are also legends in the area told often to passersby, suggesting that the oldest house in the village from which the town gets its name, Talley House, has a long intricate system of tunnels leading from it to the old Abbey ruins.  And of course there’s no shortage of reports of ghosts in this mysterious tunnel as well by the story tellers of the village.

Just why were the ghosts of Talley Abbey so frequent after the massive structure was dismantled?  The number of ghosts seems to suggest that the mysterious sightings were somehow the result of some massive catastrophe that affected all within the abbey.  Still, as the structure was dismantled, many of the monks left and lived long and full lives in other places.  So were the ghosts that were left behind truly monks?  Or were they somehow related to another chapter of the land’s history – one that has not been shared with the rest of the world?