The Restoration of Penally Abbey

Lunch & Talk

by Melanie Boissevain

The Abbey is one of Tenby’s oldest and most prestigious hotels and restaurants. The talk will focus on the preservation and re-decoration of the this lovely and ancient building.

Little remains of the original monastic site except a ruined 12th century chapel in the grounds. It is called St. Deniol’s church and has a Flemish chimney.
The monastery at Penally is believed to date back to around the 6th century when St Teilo and several other saints lived here, and it was located along the pilgrims’ trail to St David’s in North Pembrokeshire. A Celtic Cross created by pilgrims in the 10th century is located in Penally village church.                                    
In 1301, the rectory was occupied by the nuns of Aconbury and for some time it housed eight nuns and their prioress until the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1534 when the property and lands were seized by the Church of Wales. The rectors of the church at Penally used the building as their place of residence until the 1820s, when a new vicarage was erected. In the early 1800s the ruined chapel became a fernery and later a Victorian folly.
In the early 20th century, Penally Abbey became a private residence and it was occupied by the famous Jameson’s Whiskey family from 1916 until 1925. It then housed numerous military personnel in subsequent decades, becoming a country club briefly in the 1950s. In 1985, the abbey was converted into a hotel.
Penally Abbey is built from Pembrokeshire limestone and consists of three buildings. It is noted for its large gothic windows and its ogee-headed doors. It contains 10 double rooms, 1 single, 1 suite – 12 rooms in total and also contains 4 rooms in the coach house. The bedrooms are lavishly furnished and decorated with antiques and period furniture and many of them contain four-poster beds. It is set in nearly 6 acres and features a small indoor swimming pool.


The talk will be followed by a light lunch.

Space is limited to 30 so early booking is essential.

Please note that this event is not included in the season ticket.

Penally Abbey, Penally

12 – 2pm

Tickets £12.00






The Secret Life of Morris & Co at Hampton Court Palace

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The man who spent much of his working life in the great buildings of the Nation, returns to the festival by popular demand to give a fascinating insight into life in the Royal Palace, the involvement of William Morris in the King’s Wardrobe and the development of tapestry conservation there, particularly in the 1980’s.

Highlighting many of Henry VIII’s massive wall-hangings, Graham will talk about their use in Tudor times, and the cleaning and upkeep over the past 500 years. He describes from personal experience the great fire of 1986 which caused so much damage to national treasures, the aftermath and the painstaking restoration of priceless fire damaged artefacts.


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Church House

4 -5pm

£8 (includes tea)



Harvey’s Players

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Harvey’s Players present a light-hearted history walk in which you will meet some of Tenby’s colourful characters from the past.  Start at the Fourcroft Hotel 5pm. Approx. 1hour, finishing at the harbour. Mostly on pavements with a few steps.

Outside Fourcroft Hotel


FREE but donations gratefully accepted

Horia Vacarescu & Shwan Sebastian                        Horia.2

A concert by a most talented violinist accompanied by a pianist of international renown from Romania


A “splash of colour” in the classical music scene, Horia Vacarescu’s unencumbered approach to music combined with an intrinsic mastery of the instrument evokes a past, yearned for era. His performances are always received with enthusiasm and hailed by audiences and critics alike. He has been called “a great talent” and his music described as “exhilarating”. Born in Romania to a musical family, Horia started playing the violin at the age of three. When he was six he made his first public appearance and at fifteen he performed for the first time in the company of a symphony orchestra. He studied both at the National Music University in Bucharest and the Royal College of Music in London and his most influential teachers were Paul Ratz, Eugene Sarbu and Levon Chilingirian. Presently, Horia is enjoying an international career as a soloist and chamber musician. He has established a good reputation in his adoptive UK as well as in his native Romania, where he plays regularly at some of the most important venues. Concert engagements have taken him to four continents, from Europe to the Americas (North & South) and the Far East. He has performed with numerous orchestras and his repertoire extends from the classics to contemporary composers. Although now based in London, Horia returns regularly to perform in his native Romania, where he collaborated with some of the most prestigious orchestras, including the Radio and the National Philharmonic Orchestras of Bucharest. He has recorded for the Romanian Broadcast Corporation and has appeared on several occasions in live broadcast shows. Horia has been a guest at music festivals in England, France, Greece, Romania, Switzerland and Wales; among these, The Brighton Festival, The City of London Festival, Chilingirian ChamberFest, The Newbury Spring Festival, The Tenby Arts Festival, The Nuova Musica Consonante, The Fimu Festival and The Verbier Festival. He has performed for Their Royal Majesties King Mihai I of Romania and Queen Ana, and at the White House in the USA. Last year he represented his country at the European Cultural Week in Brazil. As a chamber musician, Horia appeared in the company of some esteemed colleagues like Gérard Caussé, Alexander Chaushian, Richard Harwood, Julian Jacobson, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Constantin Sandu, Alexander Sitkovetsky and the Chilingirian Quartet.

Horia will be accompanied on the piano by Shwan Sebastian from Bucharest. Shwan is a very talented pianist and composer who studied in both Romania and Switzerland. He has won many prestigious international prizes and has a highly successful career as an internationally known piano soloist.

“Shwan Sebastian is an extraordinary pianist who really enchants the audience.”

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St Mary’s Church

7.30 – 9.30pm







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