Features > Louder than words

19 June 2014 | by Alban McCoy

Louder than words

Tablet Traveller

On a small island off the south-west coast of Wales, with a millennium of monastical history, Alban McCoy finds that the rhythm of life reaches beyond time On the map, Caldey Island is a dot off Tenby, on the southern tip of Wales, one-and-a-half miles wide and two miles long, accessible only by boat or helicopter. Its size belies its significance: since the 1920s, it has been home to a small community of Trappist monks, Cistercians of the Strict Observance. But they are only the latest monastic denizens of the island. Caldey’s history of monasticism is comparable to that of Iona and Lindisfarne: Celtic monks settled there in the sixth century, and monasticism continued for 1,000 years, until the dissolution and spoliation of the monasteries by Henry VIII. Even Henry would have app


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